Top critical review
I spent some time in the Army in the areas that Ant...
2 January 2019
...also passed through. There are certain parts of this book that do not ring true with me particularly the description of violence being employed by Directing Staff in the RE and 9 Para training. This simply did not happen in the late nineties, this type of behavior was eradicated at least 20 years earlier. I'm not saying that the DS were angels by any means but physical bullies they were not. Ant also makes much of the "alpha male hierarchy" within the RE and 9 Para - in my experience this is/was just not true. Admittedly you get the occasional obnoxious braggard as in any walk of life but the overwhelming sense is of comradeship and support for each other, i.e. looking out for your mates.
Getting back to Ant himself, I cannot believe that the DS in the RE, 9 Para, the Royal Marines and the Special Forces did not recognize that Ant is a dangerous and unstable character compounded by an ego the size of a planet. By his own admission he has a hair trigger and seems to resort to extreme violence if provoked, in my experience SF operators are almost the exact opposite of this, i.e. it is almost impossible to get them to react when provoked - they only use extreme violence when there is absolutely no other way and/or if is part of a considered plan. If I had responsibility for Ant in the armed forces I would have been constantly on the lookout and worried how he would react to stressful situations, to the extent that I would probably have offloaded him. Overall Ant comes across as probably a good foot soldier that needs constant supervision and direction to keep him on track - certainly not a leader.
As for the book itself - I didn't realize it was a self-help leadership manual but since it was written by a man that needs a lot of help I'm not sure of its value. It is poorly written (by a ghost writer?) very boring in sections and contains a lot of navel-gazing. There are also huge gaps in the book and Ant implies that there things he cannot talk about, implying they are covered by the official secrets act - I suspect that he has skipped these areas for other reasons he does not wish to tell us about - this includes his relationship problems? By the end of the book it convinced me that if I saw Ant coming down the street towards me I would cross over to the other side.