Endorsements and Testimonials



“Selfless leadership is the explosive power that drives the world’s most elite teams. In First, Fast, Fearless, Ed Hiner shows us how to tap into that power by revealing the hidden forces elite leaders harness to drive mission success. Indispensable!” 

- Tony Robbins, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“I challenge you to read and absorb every word of this book. It’s a revolution. It’s an inspiration. And it will be your ally when you inevitably march into the battles of business and life.”

- from the Foreword by Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager and Leading at a Higher Level

“If you want a tough, wise, and battle-tested coach who can help you to become a better leader, then dive into First, Fast, Fearless. In it, Iron Ed uses real-life experiences to teach us about the art of leadership. Read this book, and you’ll have an impact on the teams that you lead.”

- Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander and New York Times bestselling author of The Heart and the Fist and Resilience

“Ed Hiner has accomplished the difficult task of writing a book that both instructs and entertains. His career as a U.S. Navy SEAL serves as a rich resource for proven leadership techniques equally applicable to civilian world scenarios. Vignettes from the author’s operational experiences liven up the solid leadership lessons. First, Fast, Fearless: How to Lead Like a Navy SEAL will significantly improve your leadership capabilities and enhance the productivity of your team.”

- Rear Admiral John F. Calhoun (ret.), former commander of the USS Constellation

“Focus in the ever-changing environment of business is essential. In First, Fast, Fearless, Ed Hiner distills powerful leadership lessons forged in the crucible of combat that will help any leader develop the front line focus and first strike mindset required for business success.”

- Garry Ridge, president and CEO of WD-40 Company

“Ed Hiner redefines what successful leadership means in the twenty-first century. His inspirational stories of struggle, triumph, and brotherhood as a Lt. Commander in the US Navy SEALs define what it takes for people to successfully lead high performance teams during good and bad times. With the right mindset, discipline, and compassion, Ed reminds us that anyone can become a fearless leader. His candor, compassion, and insights into what it takes to be a transformational leader are a must-read for anyone aspiring to lead high performance teams.”

- Claudia San Pedro, CFO of SONIC, America’s Drive-In

“In his years as an elite special forces leader, Ed Hiner lived and breathed the principles of authentic leadership and followership, which he distills in these pages. Riveting and inspiring, First, Fast, Fearless is essential reading for business leaders who want to up their game and play at the elite level.”

-  David Swanson, EVP of HR at SAP/SuccessFactors

“Ed Hiner’s leadership is so outstanding, I wrote about him in The Sheriff of Ramadi. Ed is the real deal, and he’s brought his combat leadership and warrior ethos experience together in this terrific book. Recommended reading for anyone who wishes to excel, First, Fast, Fearless is inspirational and speaks to the warrior in all of us.”

- Dick Couch, Navy SEAL (ret.) and bestselling author of The Warrior Elite and Chosen Soldier

“Iron Ed Hiner is a leadership guru. In First, Fast, Fearless, he weaves fascinating stories from his twenty-year career as a Navy SEAL into powerful leadership maxims for us all. A must-read for any business leader- and those who aspire to leadership.”

- John R. Driscoll, SVP of finance at General Atomics

“Ed Hiner’s leadership and wisdom brought many SEALs through the fire and back home; I was one of them. This book will be a great guide to military and civilian leaders alike. With these powerful words, Ed continues to bring us home to this day.” 

- Kristin Beck, Navy SEAL Senior Chief (ret.) and subject of Lady Valor

“As a college baseball player, I once had a friend, classmate, and teammate by the name of Ed Hiner. Many years later, it’s easy to recall his best traits: energy, work ethic, positivity, and toughness . . . along with a touch of power from the left side of the plate! Most of all, Ed was the embodiment of a great teammate, which is clearly a trait he has maintained throughout his life. Like me, I believe you will find this book to be an inspirational read that exemplifies the passion, courage, and all-around leadership required of the first, fast, and fearless.”

- Jerry Dipoto, GM of the Los Angeles Angels

“Ed Hiner tells it like it is. A great read for leaders who want to be among the elite.”

- Representative Ryan Zinke (R-Montana), Navy SEAL Commander (ret.), former Deputy and acting Commander of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula

“Ed artfully connects the dots and shows how to take the essential principles forged by the greatest leadership laboratory on earth, the Navy SEALs, and make them a way of life. A must-read for emerging leaders.”

- Doyle N. Beneby, CEO of CPS Energy

“The lessons that lead to consistently excellent results for our heroes are equally valuable in the business world. First, Fast, Fearless provides the inspiration and practical framework to build a leadership style that works. This will transform your life and the way you lead.”

- Robert Goodman, president of FortéONE

“Lt. Commander Hiner does a brilliant job of taking the SEAL ethos and weaving it into a superb blueprint on leadership as applicable in the boardroom and in our personal lives as on the battlefield. Everything is anchored to the ethos as Ed discusses building trust, problem solving, teamwork and how these apply across all spectrums of our lives. His commentary on humility as a key trait in great leaders is particularly inspiring, and the profound impact leaders have on the stress level of their troops or employees is a real eye-opener. You cannot compare what we do as business leaders to the responsibilities of our heroes in the military, but the parallels Ed draws in terms of the practical and tactical aspects of leadership are uncanny and serve as a valuable path to success.”

- Robert A. Sullivan, president of Fifth Third Bank, Chicago

“Ed Hiner shows us how authentic leadership goes far beyond ‘winning.’ It can actually be the solution to dilemmas faced by the top echelon of the corporate world. His words have a fierce intensity that resonate with those who are responsible for the lives of others- on the battlefield, in business, or elsewhere. Developed from a deep understanding of how good leaders impact the outcome of life and death decisions, Hiner guides us through the building blocks of a steadfast determination to get the job done, powered by honor, discipline, and adherence to only the highest principles.”

- Christina de Vaca, director of the Master of Science in Executive Leadership program at the University of San Diego

“Most of us are fascinated by (and grateful to) the Navy SEALS. “Iron Ed” Hiner’s book offers not only a behind the scenes look at these warriors but, more important, a nuanced picture of what they are really like. Most important, he offers powerful leadership lessons that anyone charged with achieving goals through others can adopt and emulate. A bonus: the book is a quick and interesting read!”

- B. Joseph White, James F. Towey Professor of Business and Leadership and president emeritus of the University of Illinois and author of The Nature of Leadership

“I sat on the bench for nearly two decades, and I believe that First, Fast, Fearless leadership has the potential to change our world for the better. It is the best leadership book I have ever read.”

- Anthony J. Heckemeyer, Senior Circuit Judge, Missouri

“How refreshing to read a leadership book that reflects on the rigors of business, with all of its stresses, using military leadership techniques. Those of us raised in military families can completely relate to the bar this leadership way of life sets. The bar is high, and what it can create in building a team in the workplace is completely worth taking the time to implement. I will be using the tools provided here personally and within my business.” 

- Christy Cardillo, CPA, partner at Shinn and Company, LLC

“Ed Hiner has nailed what it takes to lead in VUCA situations, which is today’s environment. If you want to lead an organization that has a strong sense of mission and esprit de corps, read this book. Your employees may never be cold, wet, and uncomfortable in the work setting, but this book will help you develop the first strike capability to create enduring success. It should be on the reading list of every business leader, MBA program, and military organization.”

- Colonel Ray Bender (ret.), PhD, coauthor of Culture.com and I Should Be Burnt Out By Now . . . So How Come I’m Not?


After reading many books on leadership, I was still searching for one that hit home on the challenges my team faces in our business. Right from the start, reading about the SEALs ability to handle VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Chaos and Ambiguity), I knew this was the book to do so. The concepts can easily be taken from the book and applied to any team immediately. Not only as actions I could take as a leader to better guide my team, but also actions my team could implement to help them be more successful. SEAL lessons that are “written in blood” really hit home for my team that these principles of leadership are not some new fad, but come from years of experience in high stress and complicated settings.
I liked Ed's teachings so much in fact, that I hired him to consult with the Operations team at my company. While here he was able to uncover several opportunities to improve our performance. The visit was not only beneficial for the leaders on our team, but helped motivate and inspire everyone to have a strike first mind set. With Ed's help, I aim to get everyone on my team to take action first, move with a purpose and be fully engaged.
This book is perfect for someone looking for practical advice on how to improve their team's performance immediately with lasting results.
- Tim Martin, P.E., Director of Operations
Boiler     Efficiency Product Division
Clyde Bergemann Power Group Americas Inc.

          In education today, effective leadership is paramount. Navigating the landscape of issues and challenges to put the right program together for students, focusing on what’s important while myriad outside forces pull in multiple directions, is critical. Yet principals and district leaders get little or no formal training in leadership - and unfortunately most “leaders” in education assume that since they’ve been placed in charge, they are prepared for the challenges that leadership brings.
At Rio School District, we brought Ed Hiner in to talk to us about leadership. We learned that although we believed we had been working effectively as leaders, there was serious room for improvement. Ed taught us, quickly, that communicating initiatives is not leadership. Communicating the intent of those initiatives is critical. We learned how to lead under conditions of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty,chaos, ambiguity) and realized that although Ed learned to apply this to the battlefield, it is important in the world of education as well. We learned about the critical importance of a coherent Ethos, and how to develop it within our organization. We learned about embracing the rhythm of the organization, and that effective organizations are more like jazz bands than orchestras - when it’s playing effectively, it’s hard to tell who is in charge.  And we learned about the five aspects of leadership, how to develop them, and how to use them. In short, Ed taught us how to become effective leaders - that effective leadership is learning how to bring out the best in others as well as ourselves.
If you’re in education, your organization has more in common with the SEALs than you think - decisions you make as a leader, plans you enact, and initiatives you employ affect hundreds or thousands of kids - and the importance of this cannot be overstated. In a very real sense, lives are at stake! The fact that Ed is a SEAL, and learned his leadership skills under conditions that most of us can’t fathom, is not why you should bring him to your leadership team. You should bring him to your leadership team because he can teach you these skills and help you apply them to your organization. And he does it in a quiet and unassuming way that leaves you empowered to bring your leadership skills to the next level.
- Mike Vollmert, Ed.D., Director of Technology
Rio School District, Oxnard, CA