The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.
9 Rules of Engagementby Harris Faulkner brings to the forefront the lessons she learned growing up in a military family, which can be applied today. She pays homage to the military ideals that shaped her, showing how everyone can benefit from their wisdom. Her father, a decorated career officer, a lieutenant colonel, served three tours of duty in Vietnam and raised his children with the values and ideals of the US military. The 9 rules include “Trusting your own potential, Overcoming the odds, Recruiting our own Special Forces, Dealing with your demons, Staying ready, Wearing camouflage, and Unleashing the power of integrity.”
The Emmy award-winning news anchor of Outnumbered Overtimewith Harris Faulknerand co-host of the talk show Outnumbered uses the skills she emphasizes in the chapter, “Staying Ready.” Anyone who has ever watched these shows quickly realizes that she asks the formative questions, never allowing a guest to spin false narratives. “I try not to have people talk past each other and to do the one thing we all need to do, listen. As a host, I try to give people an opportunity to speak. Yet, I watch to see if they try to filibuster, a sign to me that they are losing the argument. I enjoy hearing all sides of a conversation and think that viewers can also learn from it. I want to do the work of the viewer so that they don’t have to figure out what the truth actually is. I ask questions to illuminate where people are coming from and to get to the truth. It is less about who is right and more of what is right.”
The chapter, “Recruiting Your Special Forces,” shows the importance of being surrounded by supporters. “I married my best friend. Today, people are dividing, firing, separating based on politics. Instead, we should ‘fire’ someone if they do not show support for your dreams and victories. In your personal life as you strive for your goals the inner circle must be tight and we should never tolerate someone who does not have our back.”
In speaking with Faulkner, it became obvious that she values integrity in a person. “The military integrity and credo gives us that clutch. I understand how difficult some things can be. But those serving know when things fall apart military brats show their resilience. For a little background, in the book I refer to it as an enduring term standing for Born Raised And Transferred. I think it is the military saying thank you to us kids for having grit too. When one member of a family joins the military, the whole family bears the weight of the service. We sacrifice time with that parent while they are deployed; we move wherever our loved one is needed; we uproot our lives; we leave our friends behind; and we start all over again with a supportive and positive attitude because it helps our loved one do his or her job effectively and return home to us safely. I want families to get more credit for helping America as much as the person serving. It is total family service. I always tease people, if you come up against a military offspring, you better come forward with a lot of integrity and intuitiveness, because we do not give up easily.”
This is a bi-partisan book that has a great quote about another form of integrity, showing an understanding for those who do not agree with you. General Jack Keane’s book quote on how Americans can use the military perspective is very powerful, especially in today’s culture. “We are racially, religiously, culturally, economically, and geographically diverse, but for us to be effective, we have to build strong unit cohesion…Every single member of the team has to submit to something larger than self. That’s the military’s key to success. Despite all the differences that we may have, the only way we can succeed as a military organization is to be bound to each other. Our concern for each other has to trump our concern for ourselves.”
It would be nice if politicians put this quote up in their office where they must stare at it each and every day. Faulkner noted, “One chamber can pass three hundred bills and the other chamber is so politically constipated they can’t work through them. In our lives, we can win by working together. A person’s integrity is measured by how you treat others. Besides the military, I would also put First Responders, and those defending us on the North and South Border, in this category of those with integrity.”
The “Camouflage” chapter has a personal anecdote. She speaks of how she watched her dad polish his black boots. “It is more than just a fashion statement. If you are in the Navy you need a blue set of clothes. You are not going to fight in the desert with anything but a sandy uniform. I do the color wheel for the women on “Outnumbered,” because I want people to look at the screen and see each of those women as dynamic, strong, smart, quick, and an individual.”
She is very grateful to her dad for allowing her life to be molded by those in the military, “people who served this nation for the greater cause. My dad is loving, has a sense of humor, and is a fabulous storyteller. My dad would sit someone down and no matter what the circumstance he would start with a story. He would bring me to the Pentagon where I met fabulous leaders. My mom used to tell me because of my dad the bar is high. As a child of an officer we are expected to be positive components of our community and to give our lives meaning and purpose. I am very grateful for having grown up in a military family.”
Anyone who reads this book will understand how Faulkner has respect, gratitude, and pride in the military. It is a story of courage, love, and duty.