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George Washington's Leadership Lessons: What the Father of Our Country Can Teach Us About Effective Leadership and Character Hardcover – January 22, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (January 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470088877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470088876
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

George Washington has long been a role model for Americans. Legends of his honesty and virtue are part of America's cultural heritage. But Washington's legacy is much greater than the apocryphal story of the cherry tree. George Washington's Leadership Lessons offers a unique perspective on America's first president—not as a caricature of model behavior, but as an effective, visionary, and inspiring leader of men.

Far more than just an able military strategist, Washington was a charismatic leader who inspired confidence in others whether he was leading troops, leading the nation, or leading a business venture. Now, James Rees, Executive Director of Mount Vernon, plumbs the historical record to reveal how Washington developed his leadership skills and built a reputation as an honest, effective, and ethical leader.

Rees breaks down Washington's leadership skills into fifteen lessons that encapsulate great leadership and reveal why Washington was so effective. Using stories from Washington's life, as well as his own writings, Rees shows how these leadership skills aided him not only on the battlefield but also in business. In addition to the fifteen leadership lessons, Rees includes the Rules of Civility that helped Washington initially develop the qualities of a great leader and a comprehensive look at one of the lesser-known sides of George Washington: the entrepreneur.

Few Americans realize that Washington's estate at Mount Vernon was far more than a beautiful plantation—it was also the site of the nation's largest whiskey distillery, a very sophisticated milling operation, and a remarkable fishery that netted 1.5 million herring in a seven-week season. And who would have imagined that the founder of our country introduced the hard-working mule to hundreds of American farmers?

George Washington's Leadership Lessons presents a compelling and complex vision of Washington as a modern role model for every American, especially those who lead others. Offering true insight into the unexamined leadership skills of a great American, this unique and insightful book reveals true qualities of leadership that every American should take to heart.

From the Back Cover

From James Rees, Executive Director of Mount Vernon, comes anenlightening guide to the leadership wisdom of America's first great leader. George Washington was more than just an inspiring battlefield commander; he was critical to the founding and success of the United States ofAmerica. His leadership, his vision, and his courage united a war-torncountry and set the United States on the path to greatness. Washington's historic contribution to this nation—his leadership and his character—are as relevant and valuable today as they have ever been.

This book reveals Washington's character, his leadership, his vision, and most surprising of all, his business skills and acumen. Most people aren't awarethat Washington, while all of the above, was also a successful businessman and visionary entrepreneur.

Exhibiting qualities sorely lacking in so many of our political and business leaders today, Washington remained steadfastly honest and ethical,following guiding principles that would benefit leaders around the world. George Washington's Leadership Lessons reveals a man of true character,worthy of emulation not just in the realm of politics and war, but in allleadership positions.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Beam Me Up VINE VOICE on May 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific book that serves an important purpose: to teach by example. In the first part of this 3-part book, the authors break down the art of leadership into 15 traits and virtues that leaders must manifest, and then, in a very unique way, they cite incidents, quotations, and anecdotes from the life of George Washington (sourced in most cases from Washington's own writings) to illustrate how the Father of America employed each character trait.

The second part of the book is a look at Washington's "Rules of Civility," along with annotation for select rules illustrating how it was employed - or ignored - in modern times.

The third part of the book will really be an eye-opener for lots of people: it is a lengthy, meticulously researched look at George Washington as an entrepreneur. Many people are not aware that Washington had an enormous fishing enterprise at Mount Vernon, or that he was a distiller, or an aggressive real estate investor, or that he routinely experimented with crops to improve productivity.

There's no denying George Washington was a leader. He was, after all, the United States' first President. But now, with GEORGE WASHINGTON'S LEADERSHIP LESSONS, we are given a comprehensive look at just how he exercised his leadership, and how we can learn from his efforts. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michele on May 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book on my recent visit to Mount Vernon. I am interested in the inner workings of history's great leaders, and just what made them tick.

This book provides a well-written, concise overview of George Washington focusing on his leadership qualities and their relevance to our modern society. It is, in essence, a highly-condensed biography of Washington arranged topically. As the author states in his preface, he is trying to counteract what he perceives in our society as a deplorable decline in interest in history in general -- and in Washington in particular. He has written a book that he hopes will prick the interest of the masses and start a revivial of interest in our first president.

Not surprisingly, the author is overwhelmingly positive in his opinion of his subject -- but who isn't when it comes to Washington? However, he does touch on some of Washington's more human foibles -- he married Martha for her money when he really loved someone else, he owned slaves, he was exacting and short-tempered, he was insecure about his lack of formal education. But these issues are presented and explained in such a way that they are all forgivable, especially when viewed in the context of the times in which Washington lived. It is hard to believe that any human could have been such an exemplary paragon, but apparently Washington was. I haven't read a lot of American history, so I'm definitely no expert here, but there seem to be few scholars who have much of anything negative to say about him. Once every century or so a person of such sterling character rises to the front of the world stage, making an indelible mark on history, and George Washington seems to have been just such a man.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anyone who has mused "what is missing from Americans" today, this book is it. It is a small portrait of the common sense and value sensed lifestyle of our colonial betters. Other reviews muse this to be a simple book but that is the issue. For all the advanced thought of complex philosophical theory of man's "wisdom", the world is a mess because none of our great "geniuses" agree on anything.

A meaningful life is not so complex few people CAN understand it,
it is so straightforward few WILL understand it.
Leave the philosophers in closed rooms where they can do the least damage.

Washington's leadership precepts are so valuable to instill at an early age as to be required reading for every American grammar school.

See for yourself
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Petar on March 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Great leaders can feel the right moment for action and George Washington is certainly one of them. Leading American revolution, a cornerstone of democratic revolution lately in Europe, George Washington established certain rules that are "ten commands" for any leader. Great leader to learn from and excellent book for easy reading.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is rich with colorful vignettes, interesting facts and fascinating lore about George Washington, the first president of the United States. Author James C. Rees (writing with Stephen Spignesi) is both blessed and burdened with an abundance of facts, stories, quotes and tidbits of trivia about Washington. The author works mightily to correlate illustrative incidents from Washington's life with character lessons for today's corporate executives. Unfortunately, the connections are often a little forced, although the narrative remains interesting. Some of the things that Rees includes are fresh and valuable, such as his sidebar about Washington's Revolutionary War spy ring. But others are less compelling, like the verbatim rundown on all 110 of the civility rules that the Jesuits developed in the 1500s to instruct young men. They have passing relevance, in that as a child Washington copied them in longhand so he could memorize them. Yet many of the arcane dictums seem to have little to do with the famed general's life or character. Still, this intriguing, easy read provides a fond, useful lens for seeing Washington as a remarkable leader and a leadership role model on many levels. If your goal is to learn about leadership, getAbstract believes that George Washington has a lot to teach.
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