Call Sign Chaos - Jim Mattis & Bing West

Call Sign Chaos

By Jim Mattis & Bing West

  • Release Date: 2019-09-03
  • Genre: Management & Leadership
Score: 4.5
From 168 Ratings


A clear-eyed account of learning how to lead in a chaotic world, by General Jim Mattis--the former Secretary of Defense and one of the most formidable strategic thinkers of our time--and Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine.

Call Sign Chaos is the account of Jim Mattis's storied career, from wide-ranging leadership roles in three wars to ultimately commanding a quarter of a million troops across the Middle East. Along the way, Mattis recounts his foundational experiences as a leader, extracting the lessons he has learned about the nature of warfighting and peacemaking, the importance of allies, and the strategic dilemmas--and short-sighted thinking--now facing our nation. He makes it clear why America must return to a strategic footing so as not to continue winning battles but fighting inconclusive wars.

Mattis divides his book into three parts: direct leadership, executive leadership, and strategic leadership. In the first part, Mattis recalls his early experiences leading Marines into battle, when he knew his troops as well as his own brothers. In the second part, he explores what it means to command thousands of troops and how to adapt your leadership style to ensure your intent is understood by your most junior troops so that they can own their mission. In the third part, Mattis describes the challenges and techniques of leadership at the strategic level, where military leaders reconcile war's grim realities with political leaders' human aspirations, where complexity reigns and the consequences of imprudence are severe, even catastrophic.

Call Sign Chaos is a memoir of lifelong learning, following along as Mattis rises from Marine recruit to four-star general. It is a journey learning to lead and a story about how he, through constant study and action, developed a unique leadership philosophy--one relevant to us all.


  • Call Sign Chaos...Learning To Lead

    By holverdog
    GREAT read...LOVED it. To the authors, please note a factual error. Near the beginning of the book, it is stated that ALL Commissioned Marine Corps Officers attend The Basic School. During the height of the Vietnam War (1967-69), many, possibly most, of we officers commissioned via the PLC (A) pipeline DID NOT attend The Basic School. Upon receipt of our commissions, most of us reported directly to the Marine Aviation Detachment, NAS Pensacola, FL., to begin flight school. A significantly smaller number of us reported directly to Air Force Pilot Training. I’ve been told this is the only time in modern Marine Corps History that has happened. Regardless, right out of the gate, it’s an easily corrected “red flag” to the credibility of the book for those of us who did not attend The Basic School. OORAH!
  • Validates his close followong

    By Aaaaaaagghjffo
    There are many reasons Secretary/General Mattis has a seemingly cult-like following, and this book reinforces and validates that loyalty. A clear guide to anyone who fancies him/herself a leader at any echelon on basic tenets of servant leadership, particularly equating professional competence in military leadership (and civilian leadership over military) as one’s moral obligation to those one leads. While difficult to do at his level, Sec. Mattis deftly avoids political partisan simply by addressing it directly, while reminding us that we’re better than our political environment conveys. Importantly, he clearly conveys the need for clear policy objectives and appropriate resourcing to attain those aims when committing our forces to combat operations. Without these, we risk dishonoring the sacrifices of our military service men and women.
  • Leadership Lessons and Snapshots of Time

    By WilliamNV
    First, remember this book was written before GN Mattis became the Secretary of Defense. No current political topics under President Trump occurred during the timeline of this book. Second, as a former Grunt, the leadership lessons offered in this book are amazing. I’m sure this will be on the Commandant’s recommended readling list. As someone that spent time in the first gulf war, then Iraq and Afganistan, it is nice to hear some insight into the friction between the military commanders and the White House. Third, we can’t undo the mistakes of the past, but we may hope to learn from history.
  • Good book

    By 121@#%45&
    Great perspective on recent military issues! Chaos is a outstanding title for the book.
  • Brutally Honest

    By eschdaddy
    For a man who is, by every account, a man of character an honor, this is a clear cut reason to look forward and to 'Hold the Line!'
  • A lot of hot air!

    By m_honesty
    War heroes, or any person having served deserve the utmost respect from the citizens of the U.S., but this book reflects a makeover of the facts of the last several years. We have a current sitting president unlike any other, now we need heroes of the truth to prevail. Expected more honesty and the TRUTH.