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Greenleaf Book Group
Service Provider
Elite and True
Inspiring, educational, and entertaining, Elite and True translates James Barnhart’s real-life experiences in the US Navy’s Officer Candidate School, Nuclear Power School, and submarine service into deeper leadership insights than most people will ever experience in their entire careers. Barnhart deftly transforms his own military experiences into a broad format that readers can apply to general leadership situations in their own lives. When readers finish Elite and True, they will feel motivated and energized―and know that they can accomplish more personally―and with their teams―than they could previously. This unique book is for those who aspire to lead, are presently leading, or who hold a management position in government or the private sector.
In this polished, conversational guide and memoir, Barnhart looks back on a lifetime of work, service, and leadership while offering practical guidance about what it takes to lead, in both the military and the business world, and how to make the transition from the former to the latter. “Bring forward a vision for a better future and people will gladly follow,” Barnhart notes, though he acknowledges the distinction between hearing or reading a truth like that and actually discovering it for oneself—and putting it into action. Elite and True recounts his journey towards doing so, pairing lessons he’s learned about leadership with his own remarkable story.

Barnhart persuasively connects lessons like “Distribute undesirable tasks among the workforce” and “Policies form the foundation of work culture” to key moments of his own career, from early mentors and work experience, his enrollment in the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate and seven years of service, and then his experience in the tech sector. The lessons and storytelling are tightly bound together—this is the rare book where a passage about the value of diversity involves time on a nuclear-powered ship and a shore-leave river of sewage—and chapters end with thorough summaries of everything Barnhart has touched on.

Highlights include stories of a faux Rolex watch, inspecting the insides of sanitary tanks, and an account of how a commanding officer responded to a poor decision Barnhart made on watch duty. But the book’s heart is Barnhart’s clear-eyed accounts of moving from military life to private industry, including his experience with outplacement firms, job interviews, and settling on the opportunity that feels right. The advice in these chapters might seem particular to service members entering the workforce, but it's generally applicable: “Understand all details of the contract before signing.” “Take a risk to earn a reward.” Pairing these insights with what it took to discover them gives them new power.

Takeaway: Leadership lessons drawn from memorable tales from a life in the Navy and the tech sector.

Great for fans of: Matthew J. Louis’s Mission: Transition, William Toti’s From CO to CEO.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A