Taking the Guidon: Book Review

Taking the Guidon is a must read book for new Company Commanders in any military branch.

If you’re about to take command of a troop, detachment, or company, you need a game-plan.  You have a big job ahead of you, and you need all the help you can get.  Spending a few hours to study this book will be well worth your time.

This book will help you be mentally prepared for the job.  It really focuses on the big picture responsibilities of Company Commanders: the strategic work. It teaches you what you SHOULD be doing as the commander.

taking the guidon book review

How the Book Helped Me

I first read this book in 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 suggested I order a copy.

I knew I would assume a command position within a year or two, and I wanted to be at the top of my game.  I figured any book or resource I could find about the topic would be worth studying, even if I only learned one great tip from it.

This book is jam-packed with helpful information that would benefit any current Company Commander or future Company Commander, whether serving on Active Duty or in the Army National Guard or Army Reserve.

After reading the book in one setting, I re-read it 3-4 more times over the next couple years before I took command. Every time I re-read it I learned something new.

By the time I became a Company Commander in January 2009, 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

The book is well organized and easy to read.  Here are the major sections in the book.

  • How to Manage Your Time
  • Where to Focus
  • How to Prepare for Command & Create Your Own Command Philosophy
  • How to Develop the Right Mindset
  • Establishing Priorities
  • How to Develop Your Training Calendar
  • Tips for Conducting Meetings
  • Working with your First Sergeant and Command Team
  • How to Get the Most Out of Your Subordinates
  • And So Much More!

As a Company Commander it’s important to stay balanced between the mission and taking care of soldiers. Sometimes, it’s easy to get lost in the minutia of day-to-day operations.  Taking the Guidon will help keep you focused on the big picture, which is your real job as the commander.

My Review

While most of the information is geared toward Active Duty Company Commanders, much of the information still applies to USAR and ARNG Company Commanders.  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 use out of this book as I did.

About the Book

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.  Order a copy on Amazon here.

Final Thoughts

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 below 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.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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3 thoughts on “Taking the Guidon: Book Review”

  1. 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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