Turn the Ship Around!

  • by L. David Marquet
  • Narrated by L. David Marquet
  • 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Leadership should mean giving control rather than taking control and creating leaders rather than forging followers."
David Marquet, an experienced Navy officer, was used to giving orders. As newly appointed captain of the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear-powered submarine, he was responsible for more than a hundred sailors, deep in the sea. In this high-stress environment, where there is no margin for error, it was crucial his men did their job and did it well. But the ship was dogged by poor morale, poor performance, and the worst retention in the fleet.
Marquet acted like any other captain until, one day, he unknowingly gave an impossible order, and his crew tried to follow it anyway. When he asked why the order wasn’t challenged, the answer was, "Because you told me to." Marquet realized he was leading in a culture of followers, and they were all in danger unless they fundamentally changed the way they did things.
That’s when Marquet took matters into his own hands and pushed for leadership at every level. Turn the Ship Around! is the true story of how the Santa Fe skyrocketed from worst to first in the fleet by challenging the U.S. Navy's traditional leader-follower approach. Struggling against his own instincts to take control, he instead achieved the vastly more powerful model of giving control.
Before long, each member of Marquet’s crew became a leader and assumed responsibility for everything he did, from clerical tasks to crucial combat decisions. The crew became fully engaged, contributing their full intellectual capacity every day, and the Santa Fe started winning awards and promoting a highly disproportionate number of officers to submarine command.
No matter your business or position, you can apply Marquet’s radical guidelines to turn your own ship around. The payoff: a workplace where everyone around you is taking responsibility for their actions, where people are healthier and happier, where everyone is a leader.

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What the Critics Say

"I don't know of a finer model of this kind of empowering leadership than Captain Marquet. And in the pages that follow you will find a model for your pathway." (Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
"David Marquet is the kind of leader who comes around only once in a generation. He doesn't just know how to lead, he knows how to build leaders. His ideas and lessons are invaluable to anyone who wants to build an organization that will outlive them." (Simon Sinek, optimist and author of Start With Why)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Holacracy at it's best

If you could sum up Turn the Ship Around! in three words, what would they be?

Practical, Applicable, Provocative


What did you like best about this story?

Real life example of how a leadership model removed hierarchical order in a world where historically hierarchy is the only way the military has operated in. The journey of David Marquet including lessons learnt from the mistakes made - an honest appraisal of a Captains journey to successfully 'turn the ship around'


Which character – as performed by L. David Marquet – was your favourite?

David Marquet himself


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes - I listened to this over two days while travelling by train around the country


Any additional comments?

All leaders should read this book. An alternative view of how to effectively run a team. I would also recommend listening toHolacracy by Brian Robertson as a great companion to this book

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- Alex Wolf

A Journey from Command and Control to Agile Leader

This book is well written. It takes you through the authors journey of being in the Navy and very much a command and control leadership culture. To where the author wanted to be, trust the people with the knowledge to do the job, the 'how'.

Another great read for those who are on the journey of becoming a good to great leader.
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- william king

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-05-2013
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC