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Once A Warrior on CBS & MSNBC
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From a former Marine sniper and the co-founder of Team Rubicon, a powerful story of finding healing and renewed purpose after combat.
When decorated sniper Jake Wood came home after two bloody tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he wasn't leaving war behind him--far from it. In the decade since they stepped off the transit plane, Jake’s unit lost more men to suicide than to the enemy overseas. Jake watched in horror as his best friend and fellow Marine Clay Hunt plunged into depression upon returning, stripped of his purpose, community, and sense of identity. Despite Jake's attempts to intervene, Clay died by suicide, alone.
Reeling, Jake remembered how only one thing had given Clay a measure of hope: joining him in Haiti on a ragtag mission to save lives immediately following the 2010 earthquake. His military training had rendered him unusually effective in high-stakes situations. What if there was a way to help stricken communities while providing a new mission to veterans?
In this inspiring memoir, Jake recounts how, over the past 10 years, starting with no money or experience, he and his team have recruited over 100,000 volunteers to his disaster response organization Team Rubicon. Racing against the clock, these veterans battle hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, pandemics, and civil wars, while rediscovering their life's purpose along the way.
Once a Warrior provides a gut-wrenching account of the true cost of our Forever Wars—and more importantly, a glimpse of what might become of America’s next greatest generation.
Amazon's #1 BEST SELLER in Iraq War Biographies
Amazon's #1 BEST SELLER in Afghanistan War Biographies
Amazon's #1 BEST SELLER in Military Veteran History
Amazon's #1 BEST SELLER in Volunteer Work
What People Are Saying
about Once A Warrior
"Jake Wood's Once A Warrior is just the book America needs right now. This battle tested Marine came home determined to make the world a better place through humanitarian efforts developed with military discipline. His life changing experience is a reminder of the greatness of the American spirit and how now more than ever we need to activate that for the common good.
- Tom Brokaw, Journalist and author of
The Greatest Generation
“An inspiring, true story of combat, courage, and commitment. Jake Wood was once a warrior, and did what warrior’s must. But he came away from the experience a builder; building Team Rubicon, rebuilding lives, and creating hope.”
- General Stan McChrystal, NYT bestselling author of
Team of Teams
“Anyone who wants to better understand the veteran experience—or anyone who has a pulse—should read this gut-wrenching, paradigm-shifting book, which takes you deep inside the experience of trauma and its after effects and offers one of the most soaring definitions of service I’ve ever seen.”
- Maria Shriver, NYT bestselling author of I've Been Thinking
“Team Rubicon has one of those nearly unbelievable, truly unforgettable origin stories that breaks your heart and knits it together again. This life-changing book is a tonic against the apathy and lack of information that prevents us from seeing some of the most vulnerable communities among us. It will forever change the way you see and talk to veterans, watch the news, donate, and volunteer--and by the final page, will leave you flooded with hope."
- Scott Harrison, NYT Bestselling Author of THIRST
“This is a raw, heartfelt, moving, and ultimately inspiring book about an incredible journey from patriot to warrior to humanitarian. There are so many things I like about Once a Warrior, but what I like most of all, and what separates it from other books, is that it was written by someone with enough experience to know how hard the world is and enough wisdom to know that hard isn’t the same as impossible."
- David Finkel, Pulitzer Prize winner & author of
Thank You For Your Service
“Going to war is the easy part. The tough part is coming home. Jake Wood has written an important, necessary book about finding your way there.”
—Elliot Ackerman, author of Places and Names
"This journey of repair from disaster deserves to be our nation's best-seller. The coronavirus reminded us of our vulnerability. This riveting tale reminds us of our shared humanity. It combines grit, dedication, suffering, adventure, grief, love, resurrection and succor for those most in need. Wow. What a team of brothers and sisters!"
- Bing West, bestselling author of No True Glory and co-author with General Jim Mattis of Call Sign Chaos.
Bring Jake in for a book or speaking event.
Most corporate events are boring. Let's be honest, they actually suck. Liven things up by bringing Jake in to inspire your people. Whether it's your veterans employee resource group, your global sales team, or your board room - Jake has a message that will spark conversation and, more importantly, action.
Other Books by
Lessons In Leadership
"A well-written, well-organized book that offeres a novel approach to the art of leadership"
“An extraordinary book by an extraordinary leader. Jake Wood weaves together splendidly lessons from his experiences doing just that – taking charge in tough situations in football, in Marine sniper training, in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as co-founder of Team Rubicon…. The result is an exceptional book that is equal parts inspirational, informative, and instructive.”
-General David H. Petraeus, United States Army (Retired)
"A must read for those who find themselves in positions of leadership, on and off the battlefield. Wood reminds us that leadership is measured by one’s ability to anticipate the unexpected, to act in spite of uncertainty and ambiguity, to be decisive under pressure and to create followership, even when faced with the most challenging of circumstances."
-Duncan Niederauer, CEO New York Stock Exchange (retired)
In this groundbreaking book on high-stakes leadership, Co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon and former Marine Sniper Jake Wood, shows how to apply hard-learned lessons in leadership and teamwork from the battlefield and disaster zone to your professional life.
What do elite members of the military, first responders in the disaster zone, and high-performing leaders in fast-paced, high-pressure, modern day organizations have in common? The ability to have clarity of mind and purpose when surrounded by chaos. To operate at peak performance under risk. To be able to see clearly when others are blinded by fear, and act when others are paralyzed. To craft plans even with incomplete information, then execute those plans decisively--while still being nimble and adaptable enough to iterate as the terrain changes. To deliver in the clutch. To build teams with high impact, and then inspire those teams to follow you into the fire.
While most of our jobs don’t involve leading a tour of Marines through an ambush, or rushing into a relief zone just decimated by a hurricane, in today's fast-paced, hyper-competitive business environment, we are all on the front lines. And in an entrepreneurially-minded world where technology is constantly reinventing how we work, global competition is fierce, and industries are being disrupted overnight, success requires a new kind of leadership. This book is about how to become the kind of leader who gets results when the stakes are at their highest—how to Take Command.