The Wisdom of the Bullfrog Book Summary - The Wisdom of the Bullfrog Book explained in key points
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The Wisdom of the Bullfrog summary

Admiral William H. McRaven

Leadership Made Simple (but Not Easy)

4.5 (232 ratings)
17 mins
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    The Wisdom of the Bullfrog
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    Death before dishonor

    Honor is the foundation of great leadership. But what does it mean? The answer is clear: doing the right things for the right reasons. When you do things with honor, your colleagues will follow you through thick and thin.

    The phrase “death before dishonor” probably originated with the Greek Stoics. Later, Julius Caesar is purported to have said, “I love the name of honor more than I fear death.” In more modern times, Marine Sergeant John Basilone, who was the only person to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross in World War II, had the motto tattooed on his left arm. In his honor, the United States Marine Corps has, unofficially, adopted the motto.

    In 2014, when Admiral McRaven was giving a speech about leadership to cadets at the United States Military Academy, he told them that leadership is difficult. He explained that human interaction, especially during times of difficulty, is pretty daunting. Those who do it well earn respect – but, unfortunately, doing it badly is all too common.

    The Cadet Honor Code reads, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” Based on this foundation, the United States Military Academy is able to produce “leaders of character,” people who will be principled, honorable, and honest.

    If you want to be a great leader, you, too, need a code of conduct. This will provide you with a compass to guide your decisions and actions. You may sometimes make poor decisions or act stupidly, but you must always be honorable.

    Sometimes people say that it can be hard to know what the right thing to do is. Admiral McRaven is here to tell you that no, it isn’t. You’re always going to know the right thing to do – it’s just that sometimes it will be hard to do it. Sometimes, it won’t be possible, and you’ll fail. Other times, it will be hard because of the way it will affect your colleagues or friends. But that’s what good leadership is about.

    So follow that honor code. Remember always to treat others as you would have them treat you. Be honest in all your business dealings. Don’t lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do. And when you do have a lapse in judgment, own it, correct it, and return to being the honorable person you are.

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    What is The Wisdom of the Bullfrog about?

    The Wisdom of the Bullfrog (2023) draws on the experiences and leadership challenges faced over the 40-year career of a former American naval admiral to provide timeless guidance on what it takes to be a successful leader.

    Who should read The Wisdom of the Bullfrog?

    • Leaders aspiring to lead better
    • Anyone interested in the origins of some well-known words of wisdom
    • Lovers of good storytelling

    About the Author

    Admiral William H. McRaven is a retired US Navy admiral. He’s the author of the New York Times best sellers Make Your Bed, Sea Stories, and The Hero Code. After retiring, he served as the chancellor of the University of Texas from 2015 to 2018.

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