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The Hero Code

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The Hero Code

Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived

Grand Central,

15 min read
11 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Admiral and bestseller William H. McRaven reminds you that you don’t need a costume to be a superhero.

Editorial Rating



  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Millions of people perform acts of heroism every day. That’s Admiral William H. McRaven’s inspiring message in this tribute to the power of kindness, empathy and generosity. The best-selling author and retired four-star US Navy admiral uses engaging stories and anecdotes to illustrate the 10 attributes of the Hero Code: courage, humility, sacrifice, integrity, compassion, perseverance, duty, hope, humor and forgiveness. McRaven believes that people who obey their instincts to do good are serving humanity.


You don’t need a superhero costume to perform feats of heroism.

When William H. McRaven was five years old, the US Air Force assigned his father, an officer, to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Fontainebleau, France. The new family home lacked a TV, so McRaven voraciously consumed superhero comic books. He loved Batman and the X-Men. But he idolized Superman – a patriotic hero who used his powers to rescue citizens and battle evil forces. The youngster turned towels into capes and practiced leaping from furniture.

Three years later, the McRaven family returned to the United States. McRaven switched on the TV at their hotel and saw Superman flying, saving Lois Lane and fighting villains. New York City looked like Metropolis, so the youngster thought he might actually see the Man of Steel. As he toured the city with his father, McRaven frequently glanced upward. He knew Superman was fictional, but in his heart, he hoped he was real, so Superman could help people.

When his father asked what he was looking for, McRaven told him the object of his search. The elder McRaven pointed to a policeman...

About the Author

William H. McRaven, retired four-star US Navy Admiral and New York Times bestselling author, also wrote Make Your Bed and Sea Stories.

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