4 out of 4 stars
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Trust is a sensitive subject; it's hard to gain but easy to lose. Yet, it plays a vital role in the cohesive functioning of military units and organizations. This plays a massive part in Billy's transition from civilian life to a ten-year stint in the Navy.
After Billy graduates from East Carolina University, he spends a couple of years with the Carolina Panthers as a sales department personnel and personal trainer. His next career move sees him join the Navy. Here he finds himself placing his future and well-being in the trust of other people. When he suddenly and unwillingly finds himself thrust into a managerial role, he calls on the experience he has gained so far to fulfill the role. But this is only the beginning of his challenges and responsibilities in the Navy. What challenges does Billy face in the military? How does he handle these challenges? This memoir-like story is an inspiring read that teaches the value of trust, hard work, self-development, solid leadership skills, and more. It is worth the read.
Scared Rising was inspired by Billy Four's own time in the military. Little wonder the central character is named Billy. Written from the first-person perspective, the author did a great job of narrating what life in the Navy was like for Billy. He told a deeply personal tale about the lessons Billy learned, his journey through military life, and the ups and downs he encountered. The details in this story felt like I was experiencing military life vicariously through Billy.
Billy's creativity was inspiring, and his positive attitude was infectious. It was easy to see how this helped him boost his team's morale severally, especially during his time as Chief of the Guard (COG) of the In-Port Security Force (ISF). It was also during his time as the COG that his leadership skills shone through. The position was foisted on him and meant that he had to replace a Petty Officer two ranks higher than him and with decades of experience. Billy was virtually the least qualified officer in the ISF—by rank and experience—for that position. And yet, the way he transitioned into his role despite the friction from his team should be a case study material in any leadership training event, in my opinion. This was without a doubt the best part of this book for me.
I also enjoyed how Billy occasionally dropped nuggets of wisdom about military life and culture throughout the book. For instance, he pointed out that personal liberties—such as sleep time and eating—were secondary to duty and responsibility. He also portrayed how it was an unwritten law, a taboo even, to question or refuse a request, order, or even a promotion (as in his case) from a superior officer, especially if you were a lower-ranked officer. I also noticed Billy's name was rarely mentioned in this story. This was another nod to the military culture where an officer was mainly referred to by his/her title and office.
I did encounter several technical terms that stumped my reading a bit, as I'm sure it would slow other readers not versed in military parlance. Thankfully, I had Google to help me out. So while I wished this wasn't the case, it wasn't anything an internet search or two couldn't clarify. This was the only thing close to a dislike for me.
The fact that Scared Rising was professionally edited was the cherry on an already sumptuous cake. I only found two grammar errors in this 400-page book. I wholeheartedly rate it 4 out of 4 stars. The use of technical terms was inconsequential considering the overwhelming positives in this book. I recommend it to anyone interested in military memoirs and stories. I also think this is a good book for people in leadership and managerial capacities at different levels of government, business, education, and more.
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