The Hero Code

Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived


By Admiral William H. McRaven

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From the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Make Your Bed—a short, inspirational book about the qualities of true, everyday heroes.

THE HERO CODE is Admiral McRaven's ringing tribute to the real, everyday heroes he's met over the years, from battlefields to hospitals to college campuses, who are doing their part to save the world.

When Bill McRaven was a young boy growing up in Texas, he dreamed of being a superhero. He longed to put on a cape and use his superpowers to save the earth from destruction. But as he grew older and traveled the world, he found real heroes everywhere he went — and none of them had superpowers. None of them wore capes or cowls. But they all possessed qualities that gave them the power to help others, to make a difference, to save the world: courage, both physical and moral; humility; a willingness to sacrifice; and a deep sense of integrity.

THE HERO CODE is not a cypher, a puzzle, or a secret message. It is a code of conduct; lessons in virtues that can become the foundations of our character as we build a life worthy of honor and respect.

    "Fascinating...McRaven's war stories deliver remarkable insight into the life of a wartime leader."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "Engaging...Sea Stories is more than an autobiography, more than a narrative of recent military history, and more than the sum of one remarkable man's experiences. In his excellently flowing prose...McRaven not only allows readers the opportunity to vicariously experience daring adventures and the command of elite warriors heading into harm's way, he also shares practical everyday wisdom."
    Booklist (Starred Review)
  • "Sea Stories, a well-written book that reads like a thriller, covers some of the most important historical actions taken by Navy SEALs and other special operators."
    The Washington Times
  • "Should be read by every leader in America... [MAKE YOUR BED] is a book to inspire your children and grandchildren to become everything that they can. It is a book to discuss with your executive leadership team as a spur to meeting shared goals. Most of all, it is a book that will leave you with tears in your eyes."
    Wall Street Journal
  • "Full of captivating personal anecdotes from inside the national security vault...McRaven's lessons, like his commencement speech, extend far beyond his bed-making. He devotes the 10-chapter book to lessons about moving beyond failure, standing up to bullies and giving others hope."
    Washington Post
  • "McRaven...has taken the genesis of what he learned during SEAL training and his nearly four decades in Navy Special Operations into a thin, powerful book."
    USA Today
  • "Exquisitely simple...superb, smart, and succinct."
  • "Readers interested in the essential work of military special forces will be inspired by McRaven's adventures."
  • "Spellbinding."
    Texas Monthly

On Sale
Apr 20, 2021
Hachette Audio

Admiral William H. McRaven

About the Author

Admiral William H. McRaven (US Navy Retired) is the New York Times bestselling author of Make Your Bed with Skipper the Seal; Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World; The Hero Code: Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived; and Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations. In his thirty-seven years as a Navy SEAL, he commanded at every level. As a four-star admiral, his final assignment was as commander of all US Special Operations Forces. After retiring from the Navy, he served as the chancellor of the University of Texas System from 2015 to 2018. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Kelly Marie McRaven is a national security professional with ten years of combined experience in the public and private sector. She has an MA from Georgetown University and a BA from the University of Notre Dame. Kelly grew up going on adventures around the world and, like the characters in this book, is passionate about public service. She lives in Virginia with her husband and a dog named Riley.

Howard McWilliam is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Make Your Bed with Skipper the Seal; John Cena's Elbow Grease series; I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll; and When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore, among others. He lives in the United Kingdom and invites you to visit him online at

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