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A Message to Garcia: a Commandant’s Reading List Book Report

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As the most commonly talked about book off the Commandant’s reading list, I’ve taken the interest into finding out first hand exactly what is, or was, the message to Garcia.

Little did I know, you never actually find out that message. Instead, “A Message to Garcia,” is but a short rant about what every man/woman should hold, and that is the willingness disobedience to orders. [President] “McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?” Instead, Lt. Rowan carried out the command brought upon him, and it is because of his actions that “A Message to Garcia” is one of the most sought out publications. This book does not go into any further detail about President McKinley, or Lt. Rowan, but instead explains how the world needs more people like Lt. Rowan. Men and women who can get the job done, without asking a million questions, without seeking advice from peers, without slacking when the “boss” isn’t looking, but instead “a man who can carry a message to Garcia.” Elbert Hubbard goes on to explain how an employer is always at search, no matter if business is good or bad, but always laying off that employee who cannot amount to such a standard.

Now what I’ve taken away from this book, is that self-motivation that everyone needs from time-to-time, to become more than just another employee. Yes, President McKinley was more than likely the one who took the praise for helping Cuba secure its independence from Spain. Yet, this man, Elbert Hubbard, looked a little deeper, and found that it wasn’t President McKinley who won the war, but Lt. Rowans remarkable characteristics that led him to follow orders.

His determination, responsibility, and intelligence led him to make sure his task was accomplished. Leadership lessons we all should obtain, and lessons we should not stray from. For this man portrays what every Marine should be like, and what every Marine should strive to be. “A man who can carry out a message to Garcia.”

This book was highly recommended for me to read, and after reading it, I see no reason why every Marine hasn’t yet. After 100+ years, this book continues to make an impact on young Marines such as myself. Whoever picks this book up and is changed by its text, hats off to you.

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