by Elbert Hubbard.

This book (more an essay) is only 32 pages in length. Yet it contains a powerful message of initiative.

Mark's picture
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Indeed! A true classic.

I love the line: " Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How [he] took the letter, sealed it up in an oilskin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot and delivered his letter to Garcia - are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail. The point I wish to make is this: [President] Mckinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, "Where is he at?

[b]"By the Eternal!"[/b]

It ought to be required reading. It reminds me of an inscription on a rock near the Cadet Chapel at West Point, where Mike and I went to school. "I need a man for a secret and dangerous mission. I need a West Point football player."


Len's picture

Mark, your favorite passage is mine, also. This book is on the Marine Corps Professional Reading List. I keep a copy on my desk, and if a subordinate starts asking questions, like "Where will I find...? Who can tell me....?" I just reach out and silently tap the book. They get the "message."

In fact, my five children grew up hearing me respond to certain questions with the phrase: "Take a message to Garcia." As they got older, I bought them each a copy.

At the Marine Corps Boot Camp at Parris Island, the final obstacle on the obstacle course is a 20 foot rope climb. You have to climb the rope and tap the crossbeam from which it hangs with the flat of your hand. Somebody stenciled the word "GARCIA" at the spot where you tap that crossbeam.

A powerful little story, and perhaps even more apropos today than when it was originally penned.