Book Review: Taking the Guidon by Nate Allen and Tony Burgess

taking the guidonThis post will provide a book review of Taking the Guidon: Exceptional Leadership at the Company Level by Nate Allen and Tony Burgess.

I first read this book around the year of 2005 when I was serving as a Company XO in the Maryland Army National Guard.  I learned about the book from one of my peers who recommended it highly.  I knew that I would assume a command position within a year or two, so I went to Amazon and ordered a copy.  A few days later, I received it in the mail.  I actually devoured the book in one setting.

This book is jam-packed with helpful information that would benefit any Company Commander or future Company Commander.  After reading it in one setting, I read it 3-4 more times over the next couple years before I took command.  By the time I became a Company Commander, I was thoroughly prepared.  I credit much of my success as a Company Commander to the information I learned in this book.

What You Will Learn in Taking the Guidon

  • How to Manage Your Time
  • Where to Focus
  • How to Prepare for Command & Create Your Own Command Philosophy
  • How to Develop the Right Mindset
  • Priorities
  • How to Develop Your Training Calendar
  • How to Get the Most Out of Your Subordinates
  • And So Much More!

Each time I read the book I picked up something new.  I think that Taking the Guidon is more about the “big picture” of preparing for command and taking command.  It is a book of philosophy, with some details mixed in.

My Thoughts

While most of the information is geared toward Active Duty Company Commanders, most of the information still applies to USAR and ARNG Company Commanders, too.  Overall, I give the book an 8.5 of 10 and consider it a must read for any aspiring Company Commander.  You should definitely have a copy of this book in your leader’s library.  My copy was beat up, underlined, highlighted and dog eared.  After I finished my time in command, I left my copy in the unit for the new commander.  Hopefully, he got as much out of this book as I did.


The book was first published in 2001.  It contains 167 pages of helpful information.  It was published by the Center of Company Level Leadership.  The authors are Nate Allen and Tony Burgess.  You can purchase the book on Amazon for less than $15.

Other Books You Might Like

If you liked Taking the Guidon, here are a few other books you might enjoy.

Part-Time Command, Full Time Responsibility by Charles Holmes

Small Unit Leadership by Dan Malone

Company Command, the Bottom Line by John G. Meyer

Your Thoughts about Taking the Guidon

If you have personally read “Taking the Guidon” I would love to hear from you. Please tell us how this book helped you become a better Company Commander and leader. Just leave a comment to share your thoughts. Also, if you have any questions, you can post those here too, and I will do my best to provide an answer. Thanks for visiting.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Taking the Guidon by Nate Allen and Tony Burgess

  1. Suzanne Bowen

    I am impressed with all the reading you complete on the subject of Army Leadership, Charles. Priorities seems to be a key item to ace as a leader such as a Company Commander. Without getting that under control, a leader and his or her team feel disorganized which then leads to other negative situations. Thanks for including the link to Taking the Guidon: Exceptional Leadership at the Company Level on Amazon.

  2. Neil O'Donnell

    Effective leaders know how to prioritize tasks and motivate their subordinates to give their all in completing tasks. Managing time, egos and resources becomes a leader’s focus when driving for success. From the list of the book’s contents provided above, it sounds like this is the perfect book for a Company Commander.


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