Military Book Reviews

Up Periscope

Up Periscope: Putting Traditional Leadership In The Crosshairs by Deborah Fortin and John Vincent, Gatekeep Press (May 2020, 156 pages).

The stories in Up Periscope were told by a retired command master chief petty officer who served in the U. Naval Submarine Force, John Vincent; and his wife and business partner, Deborah Fortin, founder of The Submarine Way, a company that translates submarine leadership lessons to build effective leaders in the corporate world. Together, they co-authored two books – Diversity and Inclusion The Submarine Way and this book. 

Up Periscope is an inspirational book highlighting an organization’s opportunity to improve its performance or return on investment. It is told through the lens of an enlisted sailor and a corporate executive. The authors translated complex ideas and concepts into a simple and easy to understand model applicable to all aspects of life. Each of the book’s ten chapters provide a deep dive section of critical takeaways from the authors’ military and corporate experiences.

Key Takeaways:

The methodology, the system, and the process model (patented) is a framework developed for organizations for process improvement and leadership development using the submarine way system. From onboarding, individual contribution, crew-munity, ombudsman, to focusing on the mission, each element creates a foundation for the next. The model emphasizes aspects leaders can do to drive a group of individuals into a team and lead them toward a common goal with an inclusive mindset.  

The Five Anchors of Principles is  an excursion into effective leadership while focusing on collaboration, encouragement, accountability, professional development, values, and how crew-munity starts with the crew. 

The professional development the cowboy Jim Way story is also noteworthy. Can you imagine Vincent as a young cocky Quartermaster who got himself into a lot of trouble because he could not keep his mouth shut? He felt he was being treated unfairly and constantly being corrected by his senior chief. Little did he know, his senior chief, nicknamed Cowboy Jim, was using a different approach to mentor and develop the young Vincent into a future leader. Sometimes a wakeup call is necessary and perception is not always the reality. As the authors noted, “different people require different approaches and styles.”

Overall, Up Periscope is full of interesting life lessons and stories especially for those who do not serve or are not familiar with the submarine community. Each author has brought clarity to a level that anyone can understand, relate, and execute. The experiences and leadership insights shared by Vincent and Fortin are applicable in many avenues of life. They not only challenge one’s perspective, but also provide straightforward and actionable tools for anyone willing to be a change agent and produce measurable results as a team. 

Having read this work of Vincent and Fortin, the reader will look forward to discovering more insights in the Diversity and Inclusion The Submarine Way?

Dong Logan is an officer in the US Navy and contributed this review. She can be reached at:

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