Book Review: Get It On by Keni Thomas

By Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

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Keni  served as a Ranger in the 75th Ranger Regiment.  He was a member of Task Force Ranger as part of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.  He was involved in the Battle of Mogadishu and is now the author of Get It On.   Through Get It On, he shares his experiences in Somalia as a Ranger.

While I was reading Keni’s book, it felt like I was in virtual reality, seeing things unfold as it happens. That is how vivid the description is of each scene.    The play-by-play account kept me engaged.   Because of my busy schedule, I was able to read the book at night.    As I ended each night of reading, I was looking forward to the next opportunity to continue reading the book.    Each chapter contains nuggets of information on leadership, teamwork and the Ranger creed.

Why the title Get it On?  It means being able to do what you went to mission for.  It is a chance to use what they were trained on and apply the skills that enable them be  Rangers.    As a civilian, I have enormous respect for people who sign up to be soldiers.   Without them, no one will fight for our country and what is right and the world will be ruled by wicked people.

“Don’t forget nothing” by Captain Robert Rogers is a saying that reminds us that even when something becomes a routine, we shouldn’t take things for granted.   We need to always do our best and put 100% percent effort in everything we do.   If the mechanic of the plane ignored one of the standard operating procedures in the airplane maintenance, such action could cause a catastrophic result.  That is why it is imperative that we don’t lose track of what’s going on and focus on giving our 100% effort.

This book is great in that it is packed with lessons on leadership and teamwork.   Here are a few that I would like to share:

1)      When you heed a lesson it is a good thing. When you find yourself relearning a lesson that’s not a good thing.  You need to learn from your past mistakes and make sure not to repeat them.

2)      A team is only as good as its weakest link. In order for a team to succeed everyone must pull their weight.  It is like a jigsaw puzzle, when one member of the team fails to pull in their share of work, the team will fail.

3)      Lead by example. To gain people’s respect you need to be there with them in getting things done.  Leading by example has been a very important lesson in developing leaders.

4)      Do the hard work in advance. If you want to be the best, you’ll do the hard work needed to be successful.  As a Ranger, your teammates expect you to be your best at all times.  Therefore you need to be prepared at all times – be prepared.

5)      Customer service – the Black Hawk pilot guarantees to put their customer on target, on time, plus or minus 30 seconds.      That is amazing that they could guarantee delivery.     That’s customer service at its best.

6)      Doing the right thing – as a leader you do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  As leader, you have a burden to make difficult decisions, but you do it because people depend on you.

7)      Encouraging and building each other up – the Rangers are there to carry each other’s burden and lift each other’s spirit and support one another.

Keni’s started the book by telling the story that he was writing to his mom.    That initial attempt was interrupted by a call to mission, which resulted in some of his comrades being killed.    Get It On highlights the story and experience of young soldiers who fought for our freedom and what’s right.  

Reading this book affected me in two ways. First, it reminded me that no matter how hard things are around me, it is little sacrifice compared to the people who fight for our country everyday around the world.  Secondly, there are many ways to learn leadership and teamwork, but the military is still one of the best sources of knowledge in this area.    I recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn about history and pickup nuggets on leadership and teamwork along the way.  

As always, I’ll be tweeting about this book review.  Three (3) lucky winners will be selected from the retweets.  If you wish to purchase the book, use this link  http://bit.ly/kenithomas