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My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 18, 2022

2 leadership podcasts you need right now

By Coast Guard Office of Leadership

The 2022 Coast Guard Reading List, the annual collection of recommendations from your shipmates to support your continuous professional and leadership development, is out. The year's Reading List focuses on the theme “connecting individual purpose to the Coast Guard’s purpose.” This theme means different things to different people, which you’ll see reflected in the eclectic selections featured. The list goes beyond the traditional reading list and includes a variety of suggestions for you to read, listen to, and watch. Leadership Diversity Action Councils (LDACs) across the Coast Guard submitted selections. The full list is below. It can also be found on the Office of Leadership website  

You can gain free access to the Reading List books electronically on Navy OverDrive by following these steps, unless otherwise noted. For assistance accessing Navy OverDrive, please email 

“This year’s Reading List is intriguing and innovative,” said Acting Director, Civilian Human Resources, Diversity and Leadership Capt. Laura Collins. The combination of more traditional submissions with forward-thinking selections from trailblazing business leaders and others makes this list truly exceptional, and I hope inspires our workforce as they progress in their professional and leadership journey.”  


“The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown submitted by Lt. Dave Chenlo, Pacific Area Staff LDAC Co-Chair, Alameda, Calif.  

While not a Coast Guard related book, it reflects the theme of connecting individual purpose to the organization’s purpose. The book is about a university crew and how they had to come together, fine tuning their individual efforts, to ultimately achieve national greatness. A little outside the box, but more of a fun read (based on real events). A change of pace from other past reading lists. 

“Beyond Diversity” by Rohit Bhargava and Jennifer Brown submitted by Master Chief Petty Officer Sain-R "SKE" Edwards Jr., Pacific Area (PAC-37 DSF) *Not available via Navy Overdrive 

The reason I feel this book goes along with the theme of “Connecting individual purpose to the Coast Guard purpose,” is because diversity, equity, and inclusion are mission imperatives for the United States Coast Guard. No matter what walk of life we come from, or what values we believe in as [people], we are joined by our service’s core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty. The book provides a dozen actionable steps that anyone can implement immediately in no particular order. This book is a perfect example that can help bridge the gap between personal and organizational purpose.  

“Let My People Go Surfing. The Education of a Reluctant Business Man. Including 10 More Years of Business Unusual” by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia submitted by Jasmine Shanti, Diversity & Inclusion Communications Specialist, CG-1 LDAC 

It's about values-driven decision making. He challenges existing values that he observed embodied in the corporate world, including prioritizing short-term profit and growth over quality, sustainability, community, environment, and health. How is this book aligned with “Connecting individual purpose to the Coast Guard’s purpose”? Well, Chouinard said, “We had to make all our decisions as if we would be in business for 100 years...I wanted to create in Patagonia a model that other businesses could look to in their own searches for environmental stewardship and sustainability. He based his business decisions on an ethical, values driven framework. Chouinard also says is the book, “Doing risk-sports has taught me another important lesson: Never exceed your limits. You push the envelope, and you live for those moments when you’re right on the edge, but you don’t go over. You have to be true to yourself and have to know your strengths and limitations and live within your means. The same is true for business. The sooner a company tries to be what it is not, the sooner it tries to ‘have it all’, the sooner it will die.” Authenticity and self-awareness is essential for good leadership, I think. "Let my People Go Surfing" may inspire leaders to increase their self-awareness and hone their authenticity.   

“Mindset” by Carol Dweck submitted by Lt. Cmdr. Zeke Lyons, desk officer, International Port Security Program, DCO LDAC, Coast Guard Change Agent  

Based on my own experience, I believe that improving yourself improves the Coast Guard and connecting with your own purpose allows you to connect with the Coast Guard's purpose. I've gone through a huge transformation over the past years, and "Mindset" is one of the top books that has guided me in that process and helped to understand my purpose. In fact, this has been at the top of my reading list for the past 10 years. I've also sent it to at least eight future commanding officers. This book focuses on adopting a growth mindset in ourselves and our teams, and by doing so provides so much freedom and so much expansion. If you haven’t read it yet and you are a boss, a parent, or just a person - drop everything and pick it up. Organizational culture can be transformed if we all approached the Coast Guard’s work from a growth mindset.  

“Mastery” by Robert Greene submitted by Petty Officer Second Class Dillon Buel, Coast Guard Cutter Glen Harris 

Mastery: Our “Life’s Task”, the first step before beginning an apprenticeship, is central to who we are as humans and serves as the starting point for our path to mastery. It’s more than just an occupation; it is a calling or vocation, meant to give us direction and purpose in our lives. We can examine the lives of past masters (Freddie Roach, Charles Darwin, or even John Coltrane) in order to find and develop our own life’s task (purpose) and connect this to the missions our service performs. Search and rescue, drug interdiction, aids to navigation, law enforcement, national defense, etc., while different in their nature, encompass a very broad niche (Mastery Ch. 1, Strategies for Finding Your Life’s Task: Occupy the Perfect Niche – The Darwinian Strategy) with which we can align our life’s task (purpose) and develop skills to gain competency in each of these critical Coast Guard areas. Each mission our service performs requires all ratings and ranks working tirelessly in order to successfully function, serving as a backdrop for motivation and direction (our life’s task and purpose). It’s said that there is a magic number of 10,000 hours when it comes to mastering a certain trade or vocation. During this time the brain actually physically changes as new connections are made and deeper relationships are formed by the application of knowledge through practice and hands on training. Mastery is an excellent way to find our true purpose as it relates to the many missions the Coast Guard performs as well as provide motivation through historical examples as we navigate our way toward mastering our career fields.  

“Leading from Anywhere – The Essential Guide to Managing Remote Teams” by David Burkus submitted by Capt. Gene McGuinness (CG-9324 FRC PM) via Cmdr. Scott MacCumbee, CG-9 LDAC Co-Chair *Not available via Navy Overdrive 

Individual purpose must be at the forefront of working effectively within distributed teams and this book offers tools for leaders at all Coast Guard levels to incorporate. 

A practical book for positively influencing leadership of teams and tackling the challenges faced to build culture, align effective lines of effort, maintain productivity, and avoid burn-out with various degrees of hybrid work environments 
As Coast Guard leaders shift historic models for meetings and workflow to adapt to hybrid and remote environments, this guide provides salient checklists and perspectives to frame culture, hiring, building and maintaining connectedness, effective communications, virtual meetings, and fostering creativity and innovation within elements of the organization (unit, district, headquarters, etc.) 
“Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek submitted by Ms. Yvie Mondenge, DCO-I staff via Cmdr. Scott MacCumbee, CG-9 LDAC Co-Chair 

The book discusses the significance of leadership, in particular leaders who inspire people to advance a common purpose. It ties into the theme of “connecting individual purpose to the Coast Guard’s purpose” because the Coast Guard inspires individual leadership, as well as leadership which advances the service’s mission.  


"Leading in the B-Suite" biweekly LinkedIn newsletter submitted by Jordan Yahiro, CG-1 LDAC Co-Chair 

These newsletters are conversations with prominent Black leaders about life, race, and leadership. The leadership lessons are relevant to all aspiring and current leaders and often include inspiring stories of overcoming adversity. By touching on the interviewees' personal and professional lives, the newsletters demonstrate how leaders find their own individual purpose and become successful in their respective organizations. 


TED Radio Hour Podcast, a co-production by NPR and TED submitted by Lt. Merrill Gutowski, CG-1 & DCMS LDAC 

This podcast curates several TED Talks per episode centering around a common theme, then explores deeper into that theme. I love TED Talks to hear a wide variety of purpose-driven people, which often revitalizes my own drive toward my own purpose. Even when the TED speaker’s topic is completely unrelated to the Coast Guard, their energy is inspiring. I recommend starting with the Aug. 7, 2020, episode “Our Relationship With Water,” which serves as a great reminder of why environmental protection is at the heart of so much we do in the Coast Guard. 

The Go-Giver Podcast Episode: 173 Creating Transformational Change by Greg Satell submitted by FORCECOM LDAC via Lt. Cmdr. Kristen R. Jaekel, FORCECOM LDAC Chair 

What does purpose have to do with creating transformational change? Everything. This episode of the Go-Giver podcast, one of my favorite podcasts, combines conversation about change, values, purpose, leadership, and movements which is the heart of creating change. It highlights the importance of understanding how to unite around shared purpose and communicate about shared values, among other things. If your purpose is to create transformational change, then this podcast is for you.