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Posted on Sep 2, 2004 in Books and Movies

Operation Excellence: Succeeding in Business and Life the US Military Way – Book Review

Jim H. Moreno


Operation Excellence: Succeeding in Business and Life — the U.S. Military Way
Mark Bender, Lt. Col. US Army — Ret.
AMACOM; 1st edition (May 1, 2004)

The world is filled with people looking for that perfect way to live, constantly searching for the right path that will take them to a life of success and meaning. Vast amounts of opinions have been written on the subject, from a vast amount of viewpoints, so there is no trouble finding keys, secrets, and tricks of the living trade to that end. If you have the time to devote to reading every book on the subject, so be it. But, why not join the United States Military, and have FUN while learning them?


“Soldiers know how to have fun. I’m not talking about war. War is hell; training is a blast. And that’s the way this book is going to be. F-U-N,” said Mark Bender of his book, OPERATION EXCELLENCE: Succeeding in Business and Life the US Military Way. Indeed, his book is fun, and serious; historical, and timely; a handy read, and a study guide in applying military strategies to everyday life.

Motivation, discipline, confidence, sacrifice, organization, execution, teamwork, and leadership are just a few of the intangible skills learned seemingly today almost exclusively via a military tour of duty. OPERATION EXCELLENCE explains these life-winning elements through inspiring stories of people who personified these traits. From early military history through to the second Gulf War, Bender writes about prime examples such as General Bob Eichelberger, who predicted the attack on Pearl Harbor; Baron Von Steuben, who organized and trained the Continental Army; and Harry Truman’s early life disappointments that yet ultimately led to his grandest success.

Bender also gives strong examples from his own 24-year Army career, as well as his years of sports experience. Combining these examples with passages on personal action, ethics, and his own 50 ‘Train Tough’ strategies, OPERATION EXCELLENCE weeds out the fluff and gets down to the core about this path towards a mission successful life, in true military fashion. Hoo-ah!

About Mark Bender (Press Release)

MARK BENDER, Lt. CoI. U.S. Army—Ret., is the creator and chief spokesperson for Train Tough Strategies (, a program devoted to bridging the gap between business, sports, and military thought. In 1996 he earned a Master’s of Military Art and Science from the U.S. Army War College. In 1998 he completed a 24-year active duty career in the United States Army. During his distinguished tenure, he served with both military intelligence and mechanized infantry units. His primary focus, however, was on soldier resources, where he gained extensive experience in leadership, management, and team building, including assisting in the preparation of over 10,000 soldiers for Operation Desert Storm.

Among his numerous awards and honors, Colonel Bender was named “Instructor of the Year” for the Army’s premier junior executive course in 1994. As a civilian, Colonel Bender affirmed the value of his Army training on a daily basis. He soon had a mission: to help men and women of all stripes apply the time- and battle- tested strategies of America’s armed forces in the trenches of work and on the homefront. It culminated in his new book, OPERATION EXCELLENCE: Succeeding in Business and Life the U.S. Military Way. “The United States Military is very, very good at changing people’s lives,” Colonel Bender attests. “Nobody’s made the translation from what we do to excel in a life-or-death industry to what works in business and life. Until now.”

A physical fitness and sports enthusiast, Colonel Bender is also the author of Train Tough the Army Way with a foreword by New York Yankees legend Bobby Murcer, and Trial by Basketball—The Life and Times of Tex Winter, which took him inside the Chicago Bulls dynasty years and won a glowing foreword from Los Angeles Laker coach Phil Jackson. He achieved the Army’s maximum physical fitness score 35 consecutive times, and recently completed his 75th season in team sports.

A much-in-demand motivational speaker, Colonel Bender has addressed numerous organizations, including the Yankees ball club. In addition, he is an avid student of military history and the author of Watershed at Leavenworth, the dramatic story of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s rise to power after graduating first in his class at the Army’s Command and General Staff College. His analysis has established him as an expert on the subject, and he has appeared on A&E’s Biography.

The Colonel has been interviewed on radio nationally and in Europe. The father of four, he likes to think of himself as a more compassionate, slightly less rigid, sober version of “The Great Santini.” Colonel Bender lives with his family in Kansas City, Missouri.


Stay Alert, Stay Alive!

Jim H. Moreno

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