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Leading the Charge: Leadership Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom Hardcover – August 4, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Zinni, former special envoy to the Middle East, and Koltz (coauthors of The Battle for Peace) turn their focus to what they regard as a profound leadership crisis in America. Leaders—in politics, the military and business—have failed to evolve with the times, say the authors, who identify 11 core elements of new (and effective) managers, including developing a strong ethical sense and honing listening and decision-making skills. The authors dedicate entire chapters to each of these elements and explore what it takes to shepherd nations, companies and families in times of crisis as well as how to nurture and train future leaders. Zinni's principles of governance—applicable to parents as well as presidents—touches everything from the Spitzer scandal to U.S. policies in the Middle East and dispenses practical guidelines with particular relevance and resonance. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Gen. Anthony Zinni (Ret.) in drawing upon a lifetime of competition on the battlefield and in corporate boardrooms has issued a call to action to restore American leadership and greatness. This is a must read for anyone who is concerned about what has happened to our country.” ―William Cohen, former Secretary of Defense

“From one of America's most respected and experienced military leaders and strategic thinkers comes a real, unvarnished, thorough examination of leadership. General Zinni lays out not only lessons of leadership but the leadership that will be required for America's future. This book should be high on the list of important reading for our citizens, educators, leaders in every sphere of our society… and especially our next generation of leaders.” ―Senator Chuck Hagel

“As only a true leader can, Tony Zinni goes straight to the root of our challenges today. For too long, leadership and its attendant qualities have been undervalued. Tony's clear-eyed observations and advice on this topic come at a time when they are sorely needed and certainly from a person who well understands the necessary elements of leadership – vision, execution, and accountability.” ―Richard L. Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of State

Leading the Charge is a thoughtful and evocative lesson plan on leadership which is equally applicable to business leaders as well as military and political leaders. In today's ‘briar patch' complex environment where borders do not exist and politics, economics, and military and social issues intertwine, he has artfully detailed the strategy, tactics and logistics that are required for leaders to be successful. From ‘knowing the sea you swim in' to the importance of balance to building a good organization, General Zinni methodically takes today's and tomorrow's leaders through a self reflective, inspiring exercise.” ―Thomas J. Campbell, President, DC Capital Partners

“General Zinni lays out a comprehensive approach to leadership which is insightful and forward looking. He highlights key lessons which should be invaluable for professionals in all walks of life. He is a powerful role model and his philosophy reminds us of the critical difference that great leadership can make.” ―Robert Kaplan, Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School and former Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs

“Leading the Charge is an insightful, highly useful guide to meeting the challenges in today's world. We highly recommend that readers put Leading the Charge on their 'must read-must buy' list and add it to their personal libraries. This former 4-star Marine general's outstanding book is a '5-star' guide to leadership -- we rate this book '5 STARS,' our highest rating.” ―Col. Jerry D. Morelock (ret.), Armchair General

“Dispenses practical guidelines with particular relevance and resonance.” ―Publishers Weekly

“This book makes it clear that General Zinni not only has absorbed good leadership traits from his multifaceted life, but also has studied it deeply. He has tried to share that deep understanding with others, in the Marines, in business and in academic settings. This may be the best of all examples of true leadership.” ―Semper Fi, the Magazine of the Marine Corps League


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230612652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230612655
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is one of those rare books - easy to read, yet with a meaty message. And, boy, what a message!

Today, our news is headlined by the loss of homes and jobs, the careening shifts in the price of oil, the collapsing of iconic companies, the ever increasing threat of terrorism (are we still at Orange?), etc.

And, the world as a whole seems to be waiting with bated breath for a messiah to lead us through this dark patch of history.

The really cool part of this book, is that it exhorts you to be that messiah. And, believe me, after reading this book, I *wanted* to be that messiah!

The book is divided into two logical parts.
The first part (ch. 1-3) sets the stage for the book by describing the global "epidemic of diseased leadership". At times this part is depressing, as it provides a litany of failed policies (our Iraq strategy), corrupted morals (steroid use in baseball), ham handed execution (our response to Katrina), and dereliction of a sacred duty (the crisis at Walter Reed).

However, don't skim this too quickly. The best definition of leadership is in chapter 1: "[Leaders] make sure that that the [..] organizations they run are headed in a good direction, and they leave them better off than they found them."
There is another gem in ch. 3: "Leadership today must fuse individual character, ability to lead, and the performance of the organization." In other words, the best indicator of a leader's performance is the performance of her team.
In the second part he proposes the 11 core elements that leaders must have, in order to navigate the treacherous and ever changing shoals of today's world.

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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Maybe it is because of my military and martial background that I really related to "Leading The Charge: Leadership Lessons From The Battlefield To The Boardroom" by General Tony Zinni and Tony Koltz. General Zinni's extensive leadership experience at the highest levels of the military, diplomatic, and business worlds comes through loud and clear in this interesting and educational guide to key aspects of leadership.

General Zinni starts out with a chapter on the crisis in leadership. He explores the changes in the world and asks what has happened to our leaders. He asks if this leadership crisis, that he states we are in, is just a leadership problem or is it deeper than that. He then goes into exploring these issues. Chapters include: The Failure to Adapt, The New Leader, Self-Knowledge, Ethics, The Led, Environment, The Enterprise, Speed, Knowledge, Communication, Decision, Crisis, and Vision. All of the chapters include relevant examples from actual experience, rather than just leadership theory.

I thoroughly enjoyed how General Zinni included theory and practicality throughout the text. For instance, in the Ethics chapter, he presents different classical approaches to ethics and how decisions made according to the standards of one will often conflict with the standards of another. He acknowledges that people being led today are more knowledgeable and more assertive than the led have been in the past, and they have more to say to leaders. Leading today is not the same as it once was, and this is a theme throughout the entire book.

General Zinni's observations on leadership, based on his years of experience, make this book interesting, entertaining, and most of all a practical guide to help the reader become a better leader.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The first 62 pages of this book contain about 150 questions such as (taken out of context, of course):

- Has good old American "can-do" become "can't do"?
- Is it just a leadership problem?
- What's the difference between the operations and practices this man employs now and when he took over his business from his father?
- Who comes out looking good?

These first pages were so tedious to read since way too many questions were interspersed with some of the author's observations and experiences. However, the text after page 62 is really thought provoking and insightful.

General Tony Zinni is a military man whose vast leadership experiences really make him an expert in understanding what successful leadership is all about. Some observations he's made and lives by are:

- If you ask for loyalty, you owe them integrity and honesty in return.
- You always have to take into account the whole entity before making changes to one part.
- The greatest respect is paid to those who are regarded as the most professionally compentent and knowledgeable.
- Technology can buy time and efficiency, but it must be masterfully managed to ensure we don't become slaves to it.
- The leader personifies the institution.
- Master time and technology - don't let them drive or control you.

He gives various examples of his career successes and the leadership lessons he learned from experience and from others. The text is easy to read and understand. However, treasures are found after Page 62.
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