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Admiral James Stavridis on the Bold Decision to Risk It All
Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision

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To Risk it All by Admiral James Stavridis for passion struck

Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) (@stavridisj), spent more than thirty years in the U. S. Navy, rising to the rank of four-star admiral. He was Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and previously commanded U. S. Southern Command, overseeing military operations through Latin America.

He holds a Ph. D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he recently served five years as dean. He received fifty medals in the course of his military career. He has published ten books, including To Risk it All, Sailing Tru North, and 2034: A Novel of the Next World War, with Elliott Ackerman, and is the chief international analyst for NBC News.

–► Buy Admiral Stavridis’ New Book To Risk it All:  (Amazon link)

–► Citadel Commencement Speech: 

Fortune favors the bold. In a moment, it is the courage to charge: to go for the threat. This is what we ought to cherish about Commander Ernest Evans and what we ought to cherish about our military. We are men and women who will rise to the occasion. We will go toward the danger. In this case, because he risked it all, he effectively changed the course of the battle of Leyte Gulf.

Admiral James Stavridis

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What I Discuss With Admiral James Stavridis

Admiral James Stavridis joins us to discuss his new book To Risk It All, where he delivers a master class in decision-making under pressure seen through the prism of some of the most heroic acts in the 250-year history of the United States Navy. Admiral Stavridis and I discuss a wide range of topics and profile decision-makers ranging from the American Revolutionary War to the present day, for example:

  • Doris “Dorie” Miller was the first Black American awarded the Navy Cross after he bravely remained on a sinking ship at Pearl Harbor to help his crewmates.
  • Admiral Michelle Howard, whose ability to simultaneously delegate authority yet bear full responsibility, was instrumental in the 2009 rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates.
  • Civil War Navy admiral David Farragut’s adaptability to new technologies and decisive actions based on calculated odds defined his success.
  • The power of decision-making.
  • The concept of how time slows down and sometimes in the case of Lloyd Mark “Pete” Bucher running out of time.
  • Why Commander Ernest Edwin Evans received the Medal of Honor 
  • Why Admiral Zheng He is a revered figure in China and influences sovereignty today of the South China Sea
  • The vital importance of India in the future global balance of power
  • Why in Sailing True North, Admiral Stavridis profiled creativity as at the heart of our character
  • Admiral Stavridis discusses his Citadel Commencement Speech
  • The character traits Admiral James Stavridis learned from his father
  • Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at [email protected]m!
  • And much more…
140 | The Bold Decision to Risk It All | Admiral James Stavridis | Passion Struck with John R. Miles
140 | The Bold Decision to Risk It All | Admiral James Stavridis | Passion Struck with John R. Miles

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More About To Risk It All With Admiral James Stavridis

During our interview on Passion Struck, I asked Admiral Stavridis about the topic of his commencement speech with the graduates from the Citadel.

Admiral James Stavridis explains, “What I talk to them about John is RISK. I use some of the themes that are in my new book To Risk IT All. And in particular, I challenge the entire student body there to think ahead. To read about others who are placed in risky situations and then put yourself into that simulator of a book either nonfiction or fiction. Imagine what you would have done on the deck of the Bonhomme Richard if you were John Paul Jones? What would you have done if you were Dorie Miller, down in the wardroom on board the USS West Virginia?

Admiral James Stavridis Sailing True North for Passion Struck

I challenge them to think through what might lie ahead for them. And it could be a very military moment, like the ones I just described. But it could be a more prosaic setting. You’re in a mall. You hear gunshots off to the right. People are screaming and running. What are you going to do? What if your children are with you? What if your spouse is with you? What are you going to do? What if you are taken hostage, and you see a hostage-taker starting to raise a gun toward another hostage? And you have freedom of movement? What do you do?

What do you do in an instant when you’re given a decision? Maybe not as life and death as the ones we just talked about, but one that would have an enormous impact on you personally. You’re told by an employer get with this program, or you’re fired? What’s your answer? You got to reach inside yourself: to find that answer. You got to have character and leadership. But, by the same token, you’ve got to prepare and think about those moments.”

Thanks, Admiral Stavridis!

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2034 by Admiral James Stavridis for Passion Struck book list

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* My interview with Vice Admiral Ted Carter

* My interview with Navy Seal and Astronaut Chris Cassidy

* My interview with Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet

* My interview with astronaut Captain Wendy Lawrence

* My interview with Navy Seal Mark Divine

* My interview with Gretchen Rubin about knowing yourself

* My interview with Dr. Michelle Segar on her new book “The Joy Choice”

* My most recent solo episode on why your brain dictates your reality and how to boost its performance

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*Solo episode on how you stop living in fear: 

About Today’s Guest Admiral James Staridis

Passion Struck with John R. Miles album cover episode 140 with Admiral James Stavridis on to Risk it All

Retired Admiral James Stavridis, one of the great naval leaders of our time, delivers a master class in decision-making under pressure seen through the prism of some of the most heroic acts in the 250-year history of the United States Navy. He is a four-star U. S. Navy Admiral and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, has spent a good portion of his life leading sailors in combat, and he’s been forced to make numerous quick decisions with enormous repercussions.

His naval career spanned 37 years, over which he continuously trained sailors to face decisive moments in battle as they arose. In TO RISK IT ALL he
draws on his own experiences and the lessons of history to offer a set of insights we can all put to use when confronted with fateful choices.

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John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.

John is the host of the PassionStruckPodcast. A show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s highest achievers to learn their lessons to living intentionally. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better and impact.

Stay tuned for John’s latest project, his upcoming book, which will be published in summer 2022.

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