Adapt or Die Leadership: a book review

In Adapt or Die: Battle-Tested Principles for Leaders, retired Lieutenant General Rick Lynch shares the wisdom he learned as a decorated officer and leader in the US Army. A graduate of West Point, with a Masters Degree from M.I.T.,  Lynch has had a distinguished career where he served in leadership in various capacities. Adapt or Die shares what he learned as he pursued excellence in leadership.

Adapt or DieThis book is a ‘success memoir.’ Lynch talks about moments he felt like quitting but didn’t (like at West Point or MIT), his  superior work ethic, the things he learned from good mentors (and a few bad leaders), how he responded to people’s needs and concerns, the ways he implemented new technology, the way he crafted a ‘family first culture,’  and the role of his faith in his leadership. Lynch is vulnerable about where he struggled to control his anger, his sometimes faulting attempts at availability, and his desire to lead in ways that reflected his faith. He also talks about difficult and defining moments in his career (i.e. new roles, and new situations, losing soldiers under his charge, etc).  But for the most part, this book is about wisdom hard-won throughout his illustrious military career.

This is a quick read with some good insights. Some of the chapters are punctuated by ‘Lynch’s Leadership Principles’ (which are also collected in an appendix. Because Lynch is a Christian, he also shares Bible verses that inspire his leadership and shares some of his faith journey.

Personally I didn’t resonate with Lynch’s leadership sloganeering and have issues with the shallow way he appropriates scripture. Yet he was a successful military officer with a wealth of leadership experience. Most of it is of the variety of work-hard- don’t-quit-and-treat-people-right variety. All good stuff. Lynch executed leadership well, but don’t expect new insights.  I give this three and a half stars.

Note: I received this book from Baker Books in exchange for my Honest review


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