Eisenhower on Leadership: book review

Author: Alan Axelrod
Price: £16.99
Publisher: Jossey-Bass/Wiley
Pages: 296
ISBN: 0787982385

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Given the book’s military background and the military context of the leadership issues may not be to everyone’s taste. I would, however, wholeheartedly recommend to such questioners or doubters that they take a closer look. Most of the process of war, after all, does not take place on the battlefield.

Most military operations and warfare involve managing, leading, organising and controlling logistical matters far away from the front. In so many ways, the military is an organisation like any other.

This impression is reinforced by just how much time Ike Eisenhower spent writing letters, communicating, drafting reports, planning, preparing and organising.

This is a well-written and largely engaging text. The book is structured around a series of 232 ‘lessons’, derived from quotations and communication extracts. Each quotation is explored in a page or two of ideas. This is useful up to a point, but there is a sense that it would be valuable to have a deeper exploration of the ideas and issues raised.

What is inspirational about this book is Eisenhower himself. He was clearly a person with an extraordinary sense of moral duty to the task in hand. In dealing with difficult issues involving fellow officers, the book illustrates the play of justice and fairness in his leadership.

This is perhaps the most powerful lesson to be gleaned from the book for a contemporary Western world all too often seemingly bankrupted by ego, personal gain, self-interest and political spin.

Useful? Four out of five stars
Well-written? Four out of five stars
Practical? Three out of five stars
Inspirational? Five out of five stars
Value for money? Four out of five stars
Overall? Four out of five stars

Reviewed by Peter Stokes, principal lecturer/division leader, Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire

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