Gen. James Mattis, who retired in 2013 after 41 years of military service, is an inspirational leader.
Mattis was commander of the United States Central Command from 2010 to 2013. He also led the 1st Marine Division into Iraq in 2013.
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Since his retirement, Mattis has been teaching at Stanford and Dartmouth. He is also working on a book with Bing West.
1. "If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don’t take the shot. Don’t create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act."
Mattis says troops "cannot win over the population to their side if they are killing the wrong people."
2. "There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business."
This is one of Mattis' more controversial quotes. He says emotion needs to be taken out to be successful.
3. "You can overcome wrong technology. Your people have the initiative, they see the problem, no big deal … you can’t overcome bad culture. You’ve gotta change whoever is in charge."
4. "In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony — even vicious harmony — on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines."
Mattis stressed the importance of being able to work with others.
5. "An untrained or uneducated Marine … deployed to the combat zone is a bigger threat to mission accomplishment … than the enemy."
6. "Be the hunter, not the hunted: Never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down."
Troops must always be aware of their surroundings.
7. "Ultimately, a real understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun."
According to WeAretheMighty.com, "Mattis is an avid reader."
[T]he general brought along a ton of books that he thought may help him along the way. In an email that went viral (via Business Insider) on the importance of reading, Mattis wrote that it "doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead."