From Publishers Weekly
Even before the events of last fall, Powell was well regarded by the military and civilians around the world. Now, as secretary of state during the war against terrorism, Powell's intelligence and skills as manager, negotiator and leader are even more visible. Harari, a management professor and consultant, met Powell several years ago, but wrote this book without his cooperation. The author has used Powell's own words, from his autobiography and presentations, to create a primer of Powell's leadership secrets. The book reads much like an introductory textbook, explaining key phrases, quotes, anecdotes and principles. Powell's style is somewhat unusual for a military leader. He believes in listening, not just to superiors, but to the people who serve under him; he pushes people to ask hard questions and to approach problems in creative ways; he is solution-oriented and wants answers to problems to be original, not simply tried-and-true methods. While a book by Powell himself on his leadership style would obviously have great appeal, Harari has done an admirable job of distilling the essence of Powell's leadership style. The chapter summaries ("Powell's Principles") are especially clear (e.g., "Hire on talent and values, rather than resumes"; "Don't clock hours for hours' sake"). This is a solid if basic book about leadership that should interest a wide range of readers, especially less experienced managers. Agent, Lynn Johnston.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Prior to September 11, Colin Powell was considered "odd man out" in the Bush administration and had even begun to receive criticism in certain media outlets. After the attacks, Powell stepped up and, with his calm demeanor, played a key leadership role as he has done on many previous occasions. Several biographies have been written about Powell, but this book centers on his personal leadership philosophy and is organized into 17 chapters of "leadership secrets," each one summarized into three or four of "Powell's Principles." Some of his principles are surprising, considering his conservative inclination: he likes to challenge authority and promote a clash of ideas, and he maintains an open-door policy because he believes that the higher one goes up the hierarchy, the more important it is to stay in touch with real people and real data. A key Powell trait is flexibility in action, as he does not believe in formulaic solutions but lets the situation dictate the strategy. He is, above all, a people person and seeks out those with optimism and drive. This is a "battle-tested" leadership book, and although the author has shown how to apply these principles in the corporate venue, you don't have to be a CEO to benefit from the words and wisdom of Colin Powell. David SiegfriedCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved