Starship Troopers: Review & Key Leadership Lessons

In today’s post, I’m going to share my biggest takeaways from the popular science fiction book Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein.

First off, I’m not a big science fiction fan. But I am a major fan of the book Starship Troopers.  I’ve watched the movie several times and thoroughly enjoyed it.

While I was a Company Commander my Battalion Commander at the time (LTC Baker) assigned his subordinate officers to read this book as part of our Officer Professional Development. At first, I wasn’t overly excited about the idea. I had watched the movie several times and enjoyed it but didn’t think I would like the book.

From the time I first picked up Starship Troopers and started reading it, I was in complete awe. Not only is the book entertaining, but Starship Troopers is absolutely loaded with magnificent quotes about life and military leadership. For the purpose of this mega-article, I’ve picked seventeen Robert Heinlein quotes from Starship Troopers that really inspired me and shared them below. In addition to the quote, I’ve provided what I believe is the “lesson learned” from each quote, along with my own thoughts on the subject.

If you haven’t read Starship Troopers yet I hope you will order a copy and follow along with me. You can learn a lot about leadership and about life from this book. My goal is not to reveal what’s in the book. I don’t want to review the plot and spoil it for you. Instead, I simply want to share some of the golden nuggets that helped me become a better military leader and citizen, just from reading the book.

starship troopers book review

Starship Troopers: Key Lessons & Takeaways

Lesson # 1: Set a Good Example, Hold Your People Accountable, & Expect Them to Do the Same with Their Subordinates

But Jelly didn’t have to maintain discipline among privates because he maintained discipline among his non-coms and expected them to do likewise.

My Take: In the Army your job is to lead your direct reports and ensure they lead their Soldiers. At most, you never want to manage more than two levels down. One of the most common mistakes many military leaders make is micro-managing their people and trying to do their job for them. Here are a couple of examples:

  • A commanding general is obsessed with how well trained the platoons and companies in the division are.
  • A Company Commander is managing his unit all the way down to the team level.
  • A Platoon Sergeant is managing an individual Soldier’s issue in their platoon.

There might be some rare occasions when this is necessary, but 99.99% of the time it’s not necessary. In fact, it’s micro-managing. What you are really doing is doing your subordinates’ job for them. In my opinion, that is a complete disservice to your subordinate leaders. Remember your job is to train and supervise NO MORE than two levels deep.

More importantly, you must empower your subordinate leaders and verify they do their job right. Don’t do their job for them. And don’t micro-manage them. If you are busy doing their job for them, you won’t have any time to do your job. Plus, you won’t be preparing them for success in combat or in their career.

I saw this frequently in the military, and I realize how easy it is to do. I’ve been guilty of it myself, especially when I was a young, inexperienced officer. It’s easy to micro-manage others when you have a poor performing Soldier as a direct report. But look, you don’t want to fall into this trap. Set a good example, hold your people accountable, and expect them to do the same with their subordinates. Follow that advice and you will skyrocket your leadership effectiveness.

Lesson # 2: It’s hard to lead people if you’ve never been in their shoes. 

A man ought to fill each spot on his way up.

My Take: The best leaders are leaders that have been there and done that. One of the reasons NCOs are effective at leading Soldiers is that they were at one time young Soldiers themselves. They have worked their way up through the ranks and grown and matured. They know what it’s like to be young and inexperienced. They know the problems their Soldiers deal with on a day-to-day basis, and they can relate to them better.

If you can’t relate to the people you’re leading (in any profession) it will be difficult to be successful as their leader. There’s nothing wrong with starting at the bottom and working your way up to the top of the organization. When you do that, you will be a much better leader.

Lesson # 3: In combat, leader’s must be confident and poised.

There mustn’t be any shadow of doubt when you give an order, not in combat.

My Take: I’ve always believed that you never really knew if a military leader was good or not, unless you saw them in action in combat. In garrison, and in peacetime, anyone can be a successful military leader. Stress is lower, the mission isn’t as important, and even an average or low performing leader can get by.

In combat, everything changes. When the bullets start flying, Soldiers look to their leaders for confidence, purpose, and direction. If the leader is NOT confident, or is worrisome, that will spread down to the troops and lead to chaos. Leaders must analyze the facts with the information at hand so they can make important decisions. More importantly, when they share the decision with their subordinates, through some type of mission order, they must appear confident and poised.

Even tough missions can seem doable when the leader is confident. When you can look at your leader and know that they have analyzed the information, formulated the best plan possible, and weighed the options, you will be much more confident in your mission, even if it is a tough one.

Lesson # 4: Only let Americans who have served honorably in the military vote in elections.

Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage.

***** Please know upfront that in the book, everyone was a citizen, but only veterans who served honorably were allowed to vote in elections.

My Take:  Let me begin by telling you that I am an enthusiastic fan of individual rights and individualism, and always will be. The U.S. Constitution was designed to establish and protect individual rights. And while I think that individualism is a good thing, it can create problems in elections and put our country in bad situation. Most people in America cast their vote to whichever political party offers them the most government entitlements. Rather than focus on the politician who wants what is best for the country, they vote for the person that is best for their own self-interests.

When political parties and politicians offer people free government checks, free cell phones, extended unemployment, free healthcare, and promote the idea that everyone can and should own a home and go to college, and all these other crazy promises, they typically get elected. Simply put, most people will cast their vote based off what is best for them, not what is best for their country. And in many cases, those two things are completely different from each other.

So, for the sake of argument, what if only veterans could vote? What if only people who have been willing to join the military and defend their country (and served honorably) could vote in elections? What would you think about that? What type of impact would that have on society? I know there would be many arguments against it, while you could just as easily defend its merits.

Here are some of the pros and cons to having only those who served in the military honorably be allowed to vote (as I see it):


  • You would have people voting who cared about the greater good of the country.
  • You would have people voting who were more concerned about the impact on the country, rather than the impact on them.


  • Not everyone is physically eligible for military service.
  • Not everyone who joins the military is patriotic or serves for the right reasons.

I have mixed feelings about this subject. While I can see the merits of a system like the book has to offer, there are too many grey areas. However, I do like the concept of voting being something that you must earn, not something you get just by being an American. I also believe that voting is one of the most important rights an individual has, other than their personal freedom.

mobilized infantry quote

Lesson # 5: You can’t force someone to be patriotic and love their country.

You would find it much easier than to instill moral virtue – social responsibility – into a person who doesn’t have it, doesn’t want it, and resents having the burden thrust on him. This is why we make it so hard to enroll, so easy to resign. Social responsibility above the level of family, or at most of tribe, requires imagination – devotion, loyalty, all the higher virtues, – which a man must develop himself; if he has them forced down him, he will vomit them out.

My Take: You can’t force people to be patriotic and want to serve their country. One of the reasons I am AGAINST the draft and Selective Service is that I don’t want to be in a foxhole with someone who doesn’t want to be there. I don’t want to go on dangerous missions and potentially risk my life, serving aside someone who was FORCED into military service. I’d rather serve with someone who VOLUNTEERED to serve and knew the risks that came with it.

I understand some of you will disagree. The most common argument is that everyone should serve their country for two years, like Israel does with its citizens. While there are many merits of serving in the military (discipline, teamwork, loyalty, doing something great for your country) I don’t believe the experience will be valuable for a person if it was forced upon them.

I personally believe the U.S. should abolish the Selective Service and keep our military a volunteer military.

If you read the quote above that I posted above from the book, you will quickly see that his reasoning is that you can’t force social responsibility on someone who doesn’t want it. I couldn’t say it better myself.

Lesson # 6: Leaders must be confident and poised in combat.

They wait for the sure voice of command – while seconds trick away –  and it’s up to you to be that voice, make decisions, give the right orders … and not only the right ones, but in a calm, unworried tone.” … a strange voice with panic in it can turn the best combat team in the Galaxy into leaderless, lawless, fear-crazed mob.

My Take: As a leader, it’s your job to make decisions. When making these decisions, you need to weigh the factors, analyze the situation and information that you do have, and then issue your orders is a calm, cool, and collected manner. How you say something (your orders) is just as important as what you say.

And sometimes, a wrong decision today is better than a perfect decision tomorrow. But the worst thing you can do is NOT decide at all. Unfortunately, many military leaders are scared to make decisions for a variety of varied reasons. But good leaders aren’t scared to decide, especially when it counts.

In combat, there will be times when you must make decisions when you don’t know what to do, when you don’t have all the information, and where you could potentially get one or more of your Soldiers killed. This comes with being a leader and it’s your job to make the best decisions that you can AND to issue those decisions as orders in a CALM, CONFIDENT, and POISED way. Once again, how you say something is just as important as what you say.

Soldiers look up to their leaders to lead them. When things get crazy, the leader must be at their best, not their worst. A confident, poised leader can make a tough situation bearable. And a worried leader can turn a minor situation into something chaotic.

Lesson # 7: There is always an opportunity to do something great, even when everything is stacked against you. 

It’s a lot easier to die than it is to use your head.

My Take: My whole explanation of this quote, and the lesson I got from it, will be different than yours. I don’t take the word “die” in this quote. My analysis is that it’s much easier to follow along with the norm and do what everyone else does, than it is to think creatively and think for yourself.

I believe that the best military leaders (at least the ones I’ve served with anyway) were individual thinkers. When times get tough, they relied on their instincts, their intuition, and their experience to guide them, rather than just following along with what doctrine says.

I’ve always admired leaders who could “turn shit into ice cream.” Pardon my French and bad language, but that’s what I get from this message. If you want to be a good leader, you must be able to see the good in every situation. Even better, you must see the OPPORTUNITY in every situation. The truth is, there is ALWAYS an opportunity to do something great, even when things look bad.

When times get tough, when you get put in a situation (in combat or peacetime) that challenges you, look for the opportunity in the situation. What can you learn from it? How can it make you better? How can you turn the unpleasant situation into something good?

Lesson # 8: It’s not about you!

…Your life belongs to your men and is not yours to throw away in a suicidal reach for glory… and that your life isn’t yours to save, either, if the situation requires that you expend it.

My Take: What I get from this quite is “It’s not about you!” As a military leader, you should be a SERVANT leader. In other words, the people you lead do not work for you. YOU WORK FOR THEM! Your job is to ensure the mission gets done and to make sure that you do everything you can to take care of your Soldiers. Most leaders have this completely backwards, especially as they move up through the ranks and get fancy titles and important duty assignments.

Your job as a leader is to get the mission done AND to take care of your Soldiers. Your job is to put your wants and needs on the back burner and make sure your Soldiers are getting taken care of.

During combat there might come a time where you must make a decision that COULD result in one of your Soldiers dying, or even you are dying. What you must realize is that it’s not your job to be a hero! It’s not your job to try and save your own ass at the expense of one of your troops. It’s not your job to try and go out and win some fancy medal! Your job is to LEAD your troops. Their safety, wants, and needs should come first (right after getting the mission done). Once again, this is much easier said than done. Just remember that it’s not about you!

Don’t let your rank, power, or duty position go to your head! You are NOT better than the troops you lead. And you are not more important than they are. Their job is not to spoon feed you and serve you. If you can be a mission first, Soldiers always type of leader, you will be successful. Stay grounded and remember that your troops are more important than you are. Without them, you wouldn’t have a job.

quote about army officers

Lesson # 9: NCOs are the backbone of the Army!

There never have has been an outfit in which officers and men were more dependent on each other than they are in the M.I., and sergeants are the glue that holds us together. Never forget it.

My Take: Both officers and NCOs have a vital role in combat. They must work together to achieve success and lead the troops. The NCOs are the backbone of the Army. They are the glue that keeps things together. They provide the experience, discipline, and experience to successfully guide the unit. They run the day-to-day operations in the military and provide the stability.

That doesn’t mean the officer’s job isn’t important. It is. In combat, a good officer is worth their weight in gold. But to think that the officer is the key to success, I would have to disagree. The NCO is really the key to success. The officer needs the NCO, just like the Soldiers do. A good NCO can make a bad officer okay, a good officer great, and an excellent officer, superb! And they can do it without the officer even realizing that it is happening.

Another point I get from this quote is about the brotherhood in the infantry. In the infantry things are different than in non-combat arms units. In infantry units, there is an extremely close brotherhood between the Soldiers, NCOs, and officers. They know that when the bullets start flying they must rely on each other to survive. In the infantry, there is no “I” in team.

Lesson # 10: There’s an enormous difference between strategic and tactical level thinking.

To direct a war, or even to plan a single battle and mount the operation, you have to have a theory of games, operational analysis, symbolic logic, pessimistic synthesis, and a dozen other skull subjects.

My Take: As I see it, there is a dramatic difference in the skill set required to fight a war and plan a war. Most people in the Army spend most of their career at the tactical level. These are the deployable units that fight our wars. These units range from the company to the corps level. To succeed at this level in the Army you must have strong leadership skills, discipline, the warrior ethos, basic Soldier skills and tactical skills. You must understand tactics, how to lead troops and how to fight and win wars.

On the other hand, the Army also has a strategic and operational level. These include running a theatre of operations, setting national policy, and other “big picture Army” type of stuff. I’d bet that 90% or more of the people in the Army never get any experience at these two levels. Normally, it is reserved for senior E-9s and Officers in the rank of Colonel and higher. To succeed at this level, you need to have a strong grasp or reasoning, planning, theory, military history, politics, operational analysis, and much more.

It takes a unique and talented Soldier (NCO or Officer) to succeed at the strategic and operational levels. Not everyone has the right mind-set, skill set, education, or experience to do this. By no means are these folks any better or more important than the Soldiers at the tactical level. They’re simply different.

The bottom line is that there is a stark difference between fighting a battle and planning a battle. Just because you can do one does not mean you can do the other. 

Lesson # 11: The Infantry does not fight alone!

In the mass wars of the XXth century it sometimes took 70,000 men (fact!) to enable 10,000 to fight.

My Take: The infantry does not fight alone. Ask any infantry Soldier that question and they would disagree. But the truth is, for every infantry Soldier on the battlefield, there are typically at least FIVE, SIX and up to 10 or MORE Soldiers supporting them, and sometimes more than that. This includes the cooks, finance folks, mechanics, communications people, ordnance, lawyers, aviators, engineers, artillerymen, and so forth.

The Army is a big organization. If you look in any Army Division, you will quickly discover that 50 to 70% of the division is non-infantry folks. Plus, you have the other “non-division” support folks who have some type of support role.

The Army is a team effort. And even though there is an “I” in infantry, there is no “I” in team. Whether you are Infantry Soldier or not, you have a SIGNIFICANT role in the team and in the mission of the today’s Army. Don’t let people bully you and tell you that you aren’t a real Soldier because you are not infantry. That simply isn’t true.

Lesson # 12: Not Every Soldier Has the Warrior Spirit!

But you can’t buy fighting spirit. It’s scarce.

My Take: A lot of Soldiers in the U.S. Army DO NOT have the warrior spirit. While the Army has many quality people in it, there is a substantial difference between being a quality person and being a quality Soldier. A quality Soldier can shoot, move, and communicate. They can do their technical and tactical job. They might get scared in certain situations, but they do not let their fears control them. They lead by example; they encourage others, and they are AT THEIR BEST when the odds are stacked against them.

As I see it, the “fighting spirit” is nothing more than the right discipline, the right attitude, and the right frame of mind. It’s mental toughness, discipline, and courage combined. It’s the Army values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. And while every Soldier carries around an Army Values Card in their wallet, that doesn’t mean they live by those values.

Look around in any unit and you will see what I am talking about. There are MANY Soldiers who do not have the mental toughness, the right attitude, or the courage to do what must be done in combat. And while these folks might do okay in a garrison environment, you wouldn’t want them in the same fox hole with you. I know that may across as mean to some people who read this, but as I see it, it is the truth.

So, what exactly is the warrior spirit and what can you do to get it? Here are some things I can think of:

  • Be proud of what you do.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.
  • Master your technical and tactical craft.
  • Do what’s right over what’s comfortable.
  • Take action, even if you are scared.
  • Hold people accountable (including yourself) to the Army Standards.
  • Lead by example.
  • Do your mission in combat, even if it means losing your life.
  • Not being scared to make tough decisions.

Fortunately, no one is born with the “warrior spirit.” It is learned. It starts in Basic Training and is built upon throughout your military career.

I encourage you to look yourself in the mirror and “evaluate” your own warrior spirit. We all have room for improvement, so make sure you identify your shortcomings so you can be a better Soldier and leader. And if you are a small unit leader, I encourage you to make sure you do what you can to instill the “warrior and fighting spirit” into your Soldiers. It will be one of the best things you can do.

robert heinlein quote about combat

Lesson # 13: Top Heavy Organizations Are Sometimes Ineffective & Almost Always Inefficient

What kind of an army has more “officers” than corporals? (And more noncoms than privates!) An army organized to lose wars – if history means anything. An army that is mostly organization, red tape, and overhead, most of whose “soldiers” never fight.

My Take: The best Armies are lean and mean. And nope, I’m not talking about physically tough (although that doesn’t hurt either). I’m talking about organizations that have the right percentage of officers compared to NCOs compared to Soldiers. When you have too many high ranking people and not enough lower ranking people in an organization, you will have lots of red tape, bureaucracy, inefficiency, and problems.

I want to speak from personal experience for a moment. The most effective and most efficient units I’ve ever served in were small units (company level and below). I think they were successful because they have one officer in charge, a few subordinate officers, a fair number of NCOs and lots of Soldiers. Think about a typical Army company for a moment. There are normally four to six officers, 20 to 30 NCOs and 60 to 100 Soldiers. Personally, I think that’s a good ratio. Because of the force structure, the unit is forced to be efficient. Bureaucracy is at a bare bones minimum.

When I compare that experience (company level) to my time on a Task Force Staff (1-star command) I served on there was a night and day difference. With the Task Force Staff, there was one General, about 20 Colonels, about 40 to 50 Lieutenant Colonels, more Majors and Captains than I can count, a few NCOs and hardly any Soldiers. While the staff still got the job done, it was far from efficient. In fact, you had so many people throwing their rank around trying to justify their position that it created more problems than it did good. And the bureaucracy and red tape was out of this world!

I think any organization that is top heavy will never be efficient. And in some cases, they won’t be effective either. There should never be more brass than Soldiers, EVER! Anyone who has served in a top-heavy unit knows what I am talking about.

Lesson # 14: Having No Leader is Better Than Having the Wrong Leader

The M.I. never commissions a man simply to fill a vacancy.

My Take: In most cases, it’s better to have a unit vacancy than it is to have the wrong leader in the job. When there is a vacancy in a unit, especially in a leadership position, senior leaders should take their time to fill the position to make sure they find the right person for the job!

Many units are desperate to find people to fill their unit vacancies. As a result, they will hire the first person that applies for the job. Personally, I think that’s a big mistake. I think you should hire someone for a job because of their credentials, their experience, their abilities, and their potential, not because you need a warm body to fill a duty position.

Throughout my career, I’ve seen units hire people for the wrong reasons. As a result, it was the unit and the Soldiers that paid the price. I’ll even admit that I hired a few people in my career out of desperation to fill a slot in the unit. And in almost every instance it bit me in the butt. I quickly had buyer’s remorse and regretted my decision. Worst of all, I had to spend more time to get them OUT of the duty position than I did getting them into the duty position.

Hopefully, you can learn something from this valuable lesson. The bottom line is that you should never hire someone JUST to fill a duty position. Instead, you should hire someone based off what they bring to the table. If they aren’t qualified for the job, don’t give them the job, even if you are desperate to fill the slot. This will only backfire on you later, and worst of all, it’s the Soldiers who will suffer the most.

Lesson # 15: Leaders Must be Confident & Poised at All Times

Officers are supposed to look relaxed son. An officer can’t look scared or tense; it’s contagious.

My Take: One of the most important jobs a military leader has is to lead by example and instill confidence in their Soldiers. When the bullets start flying, a leader must be at their best. While the quote focused on officers, it also applies to NCOs. Just like a woman controls the emotions in a home, an officer is expected to control the emotions of his Soldiers. And the best way to do that is to set a good example.

The best leaders I’ve ever served with had the ability to stay calm and poised, no matter the situation. Even when everything was stacked against them, they remained calm, confident, and poised. They remained OBJECTIVE. As a result, their Soldiers stayed calm, and things turned out okay. On the other hand, I’ve also collaborated with some folks who were like an emotional roller coaster. When things were great they were calm and relaxed, but when things went sour they were an emotional wreck.

Your Soldiers will do what you do and act how you do. If you are confident, they will be confident. If you act scared, they will be scared. They look to you for leadership and advice when things go haywire. And however you react, they will react. Never forget that. So do what you can to learn how to master your emotions. Get grounded. Stop letting a situation dictate your emotions. Learn to relax, be confident, and poised.

I understand it’s much easier said than done, but it is important to learn how to master your emotions. Here a few tips for success:

  • Be confident in your abilities as a leader.
  • Be technically and tactically proficient.
  • Learn how to look at a situation objectively.
  • Evaluate the facts and decide.
  • Whenever you give an order, be confident about it.
  • If necessary, hide or mask your emotions.
  • If you need to worry about something, worry for two minutes and then be done with it!

The bottom line is that LEADERS set the emotional tone in their organization. If you lead others, you need to be confident and poised, especially when shit hits the fan.

Lesson # 16: We are a Product of Our Environment

Man has no moral instinct. He is not born with moral sense. You were not born with it, I was not – and a puppy has none. We acquire moral sense, when we do, through training, experience, and hard sweat of the mind.

My Take: We are all a product of our environment. No one is born a criminal. No one is born a great leader. We become who we are based off a variety of factors such as environment, mentors, friends, family members, upbringing, and personal choices. If you have children, you understand the importance of who your kids spend time together with. You know that if they spend time together with the wrong crowd, they could end up as part of the wrong crowd.

Every Soldier goes through the same Basic Training. Yes, there are various locations and different instructors, but the curriculum is the same. Yet, some Soldiers end up bad and some end up good. Why is that? Because there are a variety of factors that determine who we are.

One of the best things you can do as a leader is to create a winning environment. Create an atmosphere where people are part of something bigger than themselves. Create an atmosphere where people are PROUD to be part of the team. Create an atmosphere where no one wants to leave, and everyone wants to join. Do that and you will bring out the best in your Soldiers and help them reach their true potential.

I’ve seen great leaders take a bunch of unskilled, unmotivated Soldiers and turn them into proud, disciplined warriors. And I’ve seen the opposite too. I’ve seen bad leaders ruin an entire unit of good Soldiers. Haven’t you?

The bottom line is this: we are all a product of our environment. One of the best things you can do as a leader is a create an environment where people can win, where people can excel, and where they can learn and develop their potential. Are you doing that?

Lesson # 17: There is No “I” in Team

Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part…and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live.

My Take: There is no “I” in team. I learned this concept in high school sports and in the Army. Yes, you are a unique individual. But when you serve in the military you are part of the team. And it’s no longer all about YOU. You have yourself, the people you lead, your peers, and the people you work for (and your country). While your needs are important, the most important thing is the success of the team (the mission).

That means you need to be a team player. Sometimes, you might have to sacrifice some of your personal desires for the overall benefit of the team. Sometimes you must do things you don’t want to do for the overall benefit of the team. Heck, there might even come a point in time where you need to sacrifice YOUR LIFE for the greater good.

You won’t get far in the military if you only focus on you. Yes, you need goals. Yes, you need to get the right jobs, go to the right schools, and stay technically and tactically proficient. But you also need to realize that everything YOU do affects your team. Your contributions and dedication to your team are much more important than your personal desires.

Here are a few tips to be a good team player:

  1.  Do what you can to help your unit succeed.
  2.  Take care of your boss and make their life easier.
  3.  Be a servant leader to the people you lead.
  4.  Help out your peers whenever possible.

Just remember that when you signed your name to the dotted line to “serve” your country it is no longer about YOU. Instead, it is about what you can do for your country (and your boss, followers, and peers).

starship troopers book robert heinlein

About the Book

Starship Troopers is written by Robert Heinlein. It was first published in 1959. Here’s a simple summary I found online about the book.

When it comes to science fiction, few novels are revered as much as Robert Heinlein’s ‘Starship Troopers’. Written in the late 1950s, it quickly became a genre defining work, surprising even Heinlein with its critical acclaim. It won the Hugo award for Best Novel in 1960, and has since become the best-known example of militaristic science fiction.

Starship Troopers is set in an unknown century in the future, in a time where smooth space travel and planetary colonisation is a reality. However, humanity is at war against the ‘Bugs’—an alien race controlled by a hive mind with a hierarchy reminiscent of termites.

The story is a first person narrative told by ‘Johnny’ Rico, a young recruit onboard the starship Rodger Young. Although in some respects the plot of Starship Troopers is cliched, the plot itself is secondary in Heinlein’s story. What makes Starship Troopers something exceptional lies in its themes and philosophy. ~ New Frontier USA

The Movie

Starship Troopers was released as a movie in 1997. The director was Paul Verhoeven. The screenplay writer was Edward Neumeier. The main stars of the movie were Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, and Dina Meyer. The movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Effects (Visual Effects). It won many awards such as the Saturn Award (best costumes and special effects), Chainsaw Award for best makeup and creature, and several other awards.

Personally, I enjoyed the movie, although not as much as the book. I recommend you check out Starship Troopers online.

About Robert Heinlein

Here are a few fun facts about Robert Heinlein.

  • Robert Heinlein was born in 1907 in Missouri.
  • During his life, he served as an author, aeronautical engineer, and Naval officer.
  • He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1929, ranked 20th in his class.
  • He was retired “medically unfit” for military service after serving a few years in the Navy (because of sea sickness and tuberculosis).
  • He wrote under different pen names to include Anson MacDonald, Lyle Monroe, John Riverside, Caleb Saunders, and Simon York.
  • He was married three different times.
  • Some of his popular works include: Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, and Time Enough for Love.
  • He was the first Science Fiction Writers Grand Master (1974).
  • Four of his books won Hugo Awards.
  • Several of his books have been adapted for television and movies.
  • He passed away on May 8, 1988.

starship troopers quote

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Starship Troopers is a must read for every service member. I think so anyway. It is nothing short of a masterpiece. There are many valuable leadership and life lessons to learn from the book. It’s a great book for a NCODP or OPD class.

What are your thoughts? Have you read Starship Troopers before? If so, leave a comment below to tell us what you liked or didn’t like about the book. I look forward to hearing from you.

starship troopers book

Order the book on Amazon here.

Order the DVD on Amazon here.

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chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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1 thought on “Starship Troopers: Review & Key Leadership Lessons”

  1. Johndel Callora

    I highly suggest that you read the book and watch the movie. This action-packed movie reminds me of an old video game called Starcraft were humans(Terran) are battling aliens called Zerg and Protoss. And the message that the movie wanted to convey is very important.

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