The Hero Code Summary – January 2022

Author: Admiral William H. McRaven

Short Summary
The Hero Code (2021) written by retired four-star admiral William H. McRaven has described the mantra of becoming a real-life hero. He has shared his life experiences being an admiral as well as a civilian which are inspiring enough for anyone to become a true hero and can make the world a better place.
the hero code
Source: amazon.com

Detailed Summary

The Hero Code guides us about heroism. What is actually heroism and who is a true hero?

The definition of a hero keeps on changing with time and age. When you are a kid, you see fictional characters and get inspired by them. Eventually, you aspire to be like them. They become your hero.

But, with the passage of time, you grow up and you tend to see things differently. You try to relate everything to your real life and so your definition of a hero changes.

The Hero Code: Lessons Learned from the Lived well Lived tells us about true heroism and gives us a reminder that heroes are not just on the battlefield but also present among us. Anyone who is kind and has a good heart is a hero.

The author McRaven in his book ‘The Hero Code’ gives us lessons of becoming a true hero through his life experiences on the battlefield. Moreover, he has described some qualities of a true hero like courage, determination, perseverance, ability to sacrifice life, risk-taker, and giving hope to others.

The Hero Code Key Points

The Hero Code: Heroes are Risk Takers

To defend this statement, Admiral McRaven shared his experience in the field when he was in charge of operations in Afghanistan. During that, one night he got the news of three soldiers who served their lives on the battlefield.

The news was shocking for him as, among three of those soldiers, one was Lieutenant Ashley White who was appointed by him.

Lieutenant Ashley White was a true hero who always fought with determination and was true to her job. She was the trainer of the Female Cultural Support Team. It was established by McRaven when he realized that Afghan women are facing difficulty in communicating with male soldiers. Considering Afghan women have more useful information regarding the Taliban.

So, in order to make them feel comfortable and gather more information and insights about Taliban movements, the Cultural Support Team was established.

The Hero Code: Actions speak louder than words

Heroes are risk-takers and are always ready to sacrifice their lives for others. This is another quality of a true hero. During the Vietnam War, a small US reconnaissance team arrived in the Quac Duc Valley of Vietnam and wanted to occupy it. The people of the valley did not want it to be occupied by them and so the violence began. The violence started against the soldiers and a grenade was thrown which was encountered by Black Marine named Ralph M. Johnson. He courageously threw himself on top of it and sacrificed his life protecting his fellow Marines.

Johnson was given the well-deserved ‘Medal of Honor’ for his sacrifice for humanity. Moreover, a Navy destroyer is named after the great Johnson. Johnson was a true hero and his selfless act spoke louder than words.

Heroes are unstoppable

McRaven in his book ‘The Hero Code’ gives us a lesson that heroes are not always on the battlefield but also present among us. He shares the life struggle of an 11 years old kid named James Pattrick Allison. He first lost his mother to cancer and then his two uncles as well.

Young James after losing three of his close ones because of this deadly disease wanted to do something for people battling this disease. He wanted to find the cure for cancer and save the lives of other people suffering from cancer.

For this, he started doing research at the University of Texas. He spent a lot of years studying the T-cells which aid the immune system and play a role in fighting cancer. Then, after a lot of research and working days and nights at a laboratory experimenting, he finally developed a drug. But the drug companies were not ready to use his drug for treating cancer.

He tried really hard to convince any drug company and then finally a drug company by the name of Bristol Myers Squibbs got convinced for the drug trials. The drug got approved by FDA in 2011. Since then it was used to cure millions of patients and has saved the lives of many cancer patients.

James worked hard and stayed consistent. Never stopped believing in himself that is why he is a Nobel Prize winner today. It’s true that consistency is the key and sometimes all heroes don’t wear capes.

Hope and promise of a better tomorrow

Another life experience in the field shared in ‘The Hero Code’ is when thousands of Americans were taken as prisoners of war in the Vietnam War. They were treated so badly that they lost hope that they will ever be able to return back to their homes or not.

After some years in 1970, the Army Special Forces Unit known as Green Berets went to rescue the prisoners. There was a hope that prisoners will be rescued and will be able to return to their homes. But unfortunately, Green Berets couldn’t rescue them because of the firefight which started and killed the enemy soldiers.

The prisoners didn’t lose hope and were thankful for the mission that started to rescue them. This gives us a lesson that we should be thankful either way and never lose hope.

Who would I recommend The Hero Code summary to?

The book is quite inspiring for people who are struggling in their lives and never give up. People who are inspired by the Military and aspire to join the Military. Similarly, people want to make the world a better and more peaceful place for everyone.