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This review is from: My Share of the Task: A Memoir (Hardcover)
McChrystal get it from the grunt at the tip of the spear to the sometimes-unqualified top leadership. It's a great read and should be required reading for both military and political leaders. The book is a reminder of the diversity of experiences possessed by our military leaders from field commanders to tours of the Pentagon, staff assignments, war college, etc. One of the characteristics that distinguishes our military from many businesses and institutions is the constant push to improve or to exit. It's a complete reversal of the congressional system where individuals hold offices for decades. Although far from perfect the military is far more of a meritocracy than most other institutions.
McChystral's discussion of his role as commander should be required reading for corporate leaders. From his efforts to bring out the best of the intelligence capabilities of diverse organizations was literally a matter of life or death for our soldiers on the ground and also critical in guiding the application of our limited resources. Some of the leadership principles and techniques have great applicability in complex organizations.
Although some reviewers complained at the lack of running and gunning, the unique viewpoints across decades is really interesting. One of the most fascinating was the rise of fundamentalist power in postwar Iraq. The actions they took to end the civic programs and drive those trying to improve conditions for the civilian population out of the country.
The writing is tight and articulate without excess drama. Those who live for the next Jerry Springer like interview or story may be disappointed.
Our corporate leaders could, but probably will not, learn about true integrity driven leadership.
It is hard not to feel our nation's loss when Obama fired McChrystal for comments made "off the record" to Rolling Stone reporters while taking a brief break from the demanding rigors of waging two wars. Obama could have taken McChrystal to the woodshed for Obama's gratification and sent him back to war for our nation's benefit, but Obama chose the selfish alternative. Our nation suffered and in all likelihood we lost some great warriors when the services of this exceptional leader were withdrawn from the war and the nation's military.
My guess is that there's lots more to the story that will come out over the years but this is a good start. Unfortunately it is a disturbing part of the continuing story to discredit those military leaders who are most closely connected with the troops. The steady political extermination of military leaders has the look and feel of the depths of the Stalin era.