The Hero Code Book Summary - The Hero Code Book explained in key points
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The Hero Code summary

William H. McRaven

Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived

3.8 (118 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

The Hero Code by William H. McRaven is a motivational book that encourages readers to adopt the tenets of the hero code, such as courage, humility, sacrifice, and perseverance, to become the best version of themselves.

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    The Hero Code
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Heroes always strive to be courageous.

    In October 2011, Admiral William H. McRaven was sitting in the command center of his Special Operations headquarters in Tampa, Florida when the daily casualty report came through, bringing word of the night’s fatalities. The news was particularly bad.

    Overnight, a mission in Afghanistan had gone wrong. Three soldiers on a routine mission had come across a booby-trapped Taliban compound, accidentally triggering a powerful pressure-plate mine. When it exploded, all three were killed.

    The loss of three soldiers was a serious blow to their teams in Afghanistan – not to mention their families back home. But for McRaven, there was also a personal element to the loss; he was responsible for one of the soldiers, Lieutenant Ashley White, being in Afghanistan in the first place. To him, she’d always been a model of courage.

    The key message here is: Heroes always strive to be courageous.

    In 2008, Admiral McRaven had identified a gap in the military’s strategy in Afghanistan. The vast majority of the soldiers on the ground were men – a fact which was causing trouble in dealing with some Afghan women.

    These women often had vital information about the Taliban’s activities, but they were usually reluctant to share it with male soldiers. So McRaven established female Cultural Support Teams, tasked with collecting the vital information that servicemen struggled to secure.

    From the start, McRaven knew any women undertaking this role would need a lot of courage – after all, they’d be doing their jobs in live combat situations. Lieutenant White, an early volunteer, had both courage and ability in abundance. At Fort Bragg, North Carolina, she underwent intense physical and psychological training, which she took in stride. And when the time came for actual deployment, Lieutenant White’s bravery never flagged. Night after night, she threw on her body armor, took hold of her gun, and journeyed into the darkness, not knowing whether, this time, she’d make it out alive.

    When Lieutenant White died in October 2011, America lost a promising young soldier, and her loved ones lost even more than that. But the bravery she embodied survives, a shining example to us all.

    Most of us are never required to show our bravery in as heroic a manner as Lieutenant White did – but we all face challenges in our lives. Whether it’s the courage to face your inner demons, to provide a safe home for your family, or just to stand up for what you know is right, try taking the first step forward: that’s often the most daunting part.

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    What is The Hero Code about?

    The Hero Code (2021) is a four-star admiral’s guide to modern-day heroism. Drawing on Admiral McRaven’s experiences in the field and in civilian life, it interweaves stirring life advice with gripping and dramatic anecdotes.

    The Hero Code Review

    The Hero Code (2021) by William H. McRaven is a thought-provoking book that explores the qualities of true heroes and how to embody them in our own lives. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • It offers inspiring stories of courageous individuals who have made a positive impact in the world, reminding us of the power of our own actions.
    • With its practical insights and actionable advice, the book provides a roadmap for personal growth and transformation, encouraging us to be our best selves.
    • Through compelling examples and thought-provoking ideas, the book challenges us to examine our own values and motivates us to strive for greatness.

    Who should read The Hero Code?

    • Military buffs interested in a retired admiral’s battlefield insights
    • Anyone in need of some wise and helpful life advice
    • Youngsters considering a career in the military

    About the Author

    William H. McRaven is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral. His final assignment was as commander of all US Special Operations Forces. He’s the author of two other popular books, Make Your Bed and Sea Stories.

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    The Hero Code FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Hero Code?

    The main message of The Hero Code is about embracing courage, honor, and character to overcome challenges and make a positive impact.

    How long does it take to read The Hero Code?

    The reading time for The Hero Code varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Hero Code a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Hero Code is a captivating book that reminds us of the power of resilience, sacrifice, and moral courage. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of The Hero Code?

    The author of The Hero Code is William H. McRaven.

    What to read after The Hero Code?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Hero Code, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven
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    • Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows
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    • Hooked by Nir Eyal
    • Everybody Matters by Bob Chapman & Raj Sisodia
    • The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
    • The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
    • Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend