Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Hero Code by William McRaven

The Hero Code by William McRaven is a solid and short book with the subtitle Lessons Learned From Lives Well Lived. McRaven is a retired U.S. Navy four-star admiral who wrote the excellent books Make Your Bed and Sea Stories and his latest has ten short life lessons with brief stories of people who personified each.

1. Courage - something that comes in all different forms of actions that confront fears: could be fighting enemies in battle, bullies in life, or demons within

2. Humility - the story of McRaven meeting Charlie Duke, who described himself as "an Air Force pilot," without noting he walked on the moon, one of only 12 who have 

3. Sacrifice - the story of Marine Ralph Johnson who in 1968 saved lives jumping on a grenade in Vietnam, and in 2018 had a Navy destroyer named after him

4. Integrity - mention of McRaven as a young lieutenant being told the importance of never lying or misrepresenting the truth, if caught doing that, trust will be forever lost

5. Compassion - the story of Gary Sinise, who played Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, his support of wounded soldiers, and how even small acts of kindness create a society

6. Perseverance - the story of Dr. Jim Allison and his long battle to have a method of fighting cancer brought to market, saving thousands of lives, as well as Navy SEALs persevering through "one evolution at a time"

7. Duty - the story of Senator John McCain, someone who could have been released early from his Prisoner of War camp in Vietnam based on his four-star admiral father, but chose to stay with his fellow captives

8. Hope - the idea that tomorrow will be a better day, something that both is a way to look at things and an idea that we can work to impart to others

9. Humor - something that bonds us together, it's important to try to have a life filled with laughter, both for ourselves and to give to others 

10. Forgiveness - the Gandhi quote of "the weak can never forgive, forgiveness is the attribute of the strong" and stories from Afghanistan with how forgiving is letting go of one's burden and Charleston, South Carolina with how pardoning the unpardonable makes one not an accomplice to hatred and the victor, not the victim