Customer Reviews: The Powell Principles: 24 Lessons from Colin Powell, a Battle-Proven Leader (Mighty Managers Series)
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Retired four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell is considered one of the most respected leaders in the U.S. Author Oren Harari's short book distills Powell's insights about leadership. As a formidable leader who has managed battles, bureaucracies and humanitarian missions, Powell has firm ideas about how a good leader behaves. Refreshingly, some of his principles are modestly anti-authoritarian. However, Harari does not develop Powell's background or explain how he implemented these principles during his long, varied career. Like the rules promulgated in similar books on leadership, many of these "lessons" seem arbitrary and redundant. Then again, it is interesting and useful to see how a leader of Powell's caliber thinks. Truncated as it may be, we recommend this short, concise collection to aspiring leaders. It is just about enough reading material for a short plane ride, but it provides a fair share of inspiration.
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on June 19, 2012
Book Review

by Oren Harari

This book is a fantastic read for those of you who are or want to be critical thinkers. The size of the book is about 3 ½ x 8 inches; ½ inch thick. It is a great book for students, future leaders, and leaders to read - to help them lead. In fact, we all lead in some way. My father encouraged independence, to think on your own feet - because it is truly the only way you can be captain of your own ship.

Mr. Harari emphasizes right at the beginning that difference between managing and leading is, in leading, they make each person truly count. "The leader may well unleash a flood of interesting and provacative insights." (pg 5) He goes on to say, "But the ultimate goal is to inspire people in the organization - not just to voice problems, but also to figure out ways to solve problems." Everyone is important and everyone needs to make some sound. "Invest the necessary resources, and create the psychological climate in which information flowing freely over networks is seen as a resource rather than a threat."

The Contents of this book has 27 chapters - yet they are extraordinarily very small. He cuts to the chase. Each chapter, though very short, teaches you what matters - what works - and how to go home from your job knowing you really contributed, no matter what your position is.

Hon. Powell's process emphasizes thinking outside the box - the small stuff won't even matter to the average because they are really doing something worthwhile.

The author, Oren Harari, tells you why each chapter works. He clearly explains why no one should be afraid to speak. He tells the reader how to harmonize - how to allow character, and appreciate the value of character, which spurns not only ideas but helps motivate from within. The boss can't do it all. Courage - confidence - loyalty - should be the threads that bind the organization. Not only do these tools build the organization, but they support integrity. He emphasizes to find the truth, face the truth. No big egos. Encourage eachother. Presume no stereotypes. Conform to reform. Be persistent. Be prepared.

These leading skills are all laced with being positive, having fun, and being balanced. Practicality is an understatement. This book is a Must Have.

Anne Bradley
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on May 2, 2013
Business professor Oren Harari (1949-2010) encapsulated Colin Powell's lessons of leadership in 24 three-page chapters. "The Powell Principles constitute a clear, strategic, philosophical, value-based, and ethical blueprint. The blueprint guides Powell, but the blueprint has enormous flexibility and opportunism built into it." The 24 lessons are:

Promote a clash of ideas
Be prepared to piss people off
Establish trust
Walk the talk
Pick the right people
Be vigilant in details
Be a disorganizer
Check your ego at the door
Let change lead growth
Seek consensus (but don't be ruled by it)
Fit no stereotypes
Let situation dictate strategy
Push the envelope
Close with the enemy
View People as partners
Challenge the pros
Don't rely on charts and title
Trust those in the trenches
Make optimism a top priority
Have fun in your command
Strive for balance
Prepare to be lonely

According to Powell, "the key attributes of a leader are competence, character, courage, loyalty, and confidence. These qualities build trust and credibility, which are essential in order to lead. Additionally, "a leader who doesn't have a sense of humor is unlikely to be effective over the long run."

Powell emphasizes attention to detail. "The Big Picture is made up of hundreds or thousands of details... If you are not the master of the details, you can't be the master of the Big Picture."

Powell says "the stewardship of people is a strategic priority" and adds "influence accomplishes as much as, if not more than, authority." He advises hiring and promoting people who demonstrate "intelligence and judgment, a capacity to anticipate, loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego and the drive to get things done... Powell's favorite attributes are hard to infer from a resume."

This book offers a concise summary of Powell's leadership principles, but it does not include any anecdotes from his career to illustrate the points. The more recent book It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership by Colin Powell and Tony Koltz includes stories from Powell's experience in the military and the State Department.
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on October 4, 2012
Excellent reading for the 'new' as well as the 'experienced'person in a leadership position. Essential ideas and concepts are presented in a digestible form. It can also serve as a useful tool in the training room.
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on April 6, 2014
You can not go wrong with Colin Powell. I brought this book for recharging purposes. Sometimes one must go back to the roots and reboot the batteries.
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on December 14, 2012
This is a good, short, basic skills book. Mr. Powell has put management tips in a clear and concise book that is helpful at any supervisory level.
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on February 3, 2015
I purchased this as a gift for my son, so I have not read it. He says it is good and is passing it around as required reading to his team leads.
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on July 11, 2013
Excellent advice and principles from the General. He "keeps it simple stupid " for everyone to understand. You won't be disappointed!
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on January 22, 2013
Great and Quick read about various leadership tips or re-enforcing your own. I refer to it often or just thumb through it time to time...
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on December 20, 2014
Great read! Self motivating for office politics and a great perspective.
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