It's Your Ship by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff

There was some time available to me in the early mornings for reading. This is the time between whenever my son wakes up (5ish) and whenever he decides that he wants to play with someone (me). And in those waking moments I had the opportunity to read this book. I wish I had taken the time to read this book much sooner.

This is a management book, wrapped in a number of stories about how Captain Abrashoff takes his ship the Benfold from being a ship that is not at all combat ready to the most combat ready ship in the navy.

Abrashoff has twelve chapters:

  • Take Command
  • Learn Real Leadership
  • Lead by Example
  • Listen Aggressively
  • Communicate Purpose and Meaning
  • Create a Climate of Trust.
  • Look for Results, Not Salutes
  • Take Calculated Risks
  • Go beyond standard procedures
  • Generate Unity
  • Improve People's Quality of Life

Each chapter is a handful of stories from the nay about the principle and how it works itself out. I found this a very readable format and brought a lot of the points that we're being made to life in such a way that they almost didn't need to be boiled down to a statement. The stories spoke the message so clearly.

If I could have any complaint about this book it is that while Abrashoff is understandbly proud of how well things on the Benfold go, over the course of the whole book, and by the end of the book I was getting a bit tired of hearing it. Not that I wished them less success but just that I grew tired of being told how successful they were.

All in all, this is book I would recommend to anyone who is in (or going into) management.The book is interesting and if you have even a passing curiosity about the navy it is an easy book to get through. I think it has good lessons that if a leader took them to heart they would be make a leader very effective.