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While few American figures inspire like George Washington, this book's attempt to distill management wisdom from his career feels as wooden as Washington's mythic set of teeth. McNeilly, a former IBM executive with military experience, never fully applies Washington's life and lessons to current business leadership. While we learn that Washington was a successful businessman and brilliant military tactician and leader, he never fully comes to life. McNeilly spends too much of the text spinning the greatest hits of Washington's military career before dipping briefly into his career as a diplomat and, almost as an afterthought, first president of the United States. Washington's ability to organize and train the first Continental Army, comprising citizens and governed by merit, segues into a lengthy and irrelevant discussion of how Alfred Sloan created the modern General Motors and a puzzling digression about iconic automobile designer Harley Earl. McNeilly's generally-agreed-upon-best-business-practices lack novelty. We learn that Washington was not alone in scoring by collecting good intelligence on his enemies: McDonald's and Staples employed similar strategies against their competitors. This is a missed opportunity to present provocative and insightful ideas about the key to a legend's success. (Jan.)
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"Author of the phenomenal, trend-setting Sun Tzu and the Art of Business, Mark McNeilly now turns his sights to the first commander-in-chief, revealing how Washington's self-discipline, persistence, character, and organizational skills offer a working model for success in today's business world."--Steven Heine, Professor and Director of Asian Studies at Florida International University, author of White Collar Zen
McNeilly does well to remind us that there are fundamentals of leadership that need not be invented, rather they only need be revisited. Read morePublished on December 11, 2011 by Enns, J.