Customer Reviews: Being George Washington: The Indispensable Man, As You've Never Seen Him
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on November 22, 2011
I was encouraged to read this book because of the gaping hole in leadership internationally, nationally, and locally - whether in politics, education, business, or in the church. Simultaneous with my reading of this book I was interested in something that John Gardner (in an essay on leadership) pointed out, "When the United States was formed, the population stood at around 3 million. That 3 million produced at least six leaders of world class--Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and Hamilton." Today we have a population 90 times larger than that and I can't name a single leader that comes close to the aforementioned six men. Along with Gardner I ask the question "Where are they?"

Therefore, my curiosity was piqued in reading this book to discover what we can learn from Washington's life - and whether we can truly produce great leaders today. One of the main points that Beck makes in the book early on is that "for America to achieve the greatness that George Washington achieved, we have to remember that it is achievable." In story after story Beck brings out some of the keys to great leadership - character (based on a strong faith in God and His good providence); putting others before self - especially what's best for the whole; having a vision for liberty and fighting for it; focusing on that which will last beyond us. In a nutshell Beck highlights Washington's character, trust, and honor in story after story and demonstrates how he united America around freedom so that we could be the best we could be.

The primary lesson of this book and of great leadership is stated by Beck in this manner, "Everything we do in life--every battle that we fight and every mountain that we climb, no matter how many times we fall--may be for no other purpose than to prepare us for that moment when we are called upon to make a difference in this world...What Washington did do was accept the responsibility he had been given, beg the grace of God upon himself and his army, and then work relentlessly to accomplish his goals. What he did do was to keep on working, regardless of the personal sacrifices required or the setbacks that he encountered. He kept the faith, no matter who stood against him; regardless of the gossip, the naysayers and sometimes, regardless even of the betrayal of his friends."

In conclusion Beck states that if you and I are to be like George Washington in today's world means:

"a daily struggle between your heart and your brain; between instant gratification and enduring greatness."

"looking out for our families, our neighbors, and our countrymen--standing for them when they can't stand for themselves."

"putting country before party."

"becoming a leader - not of a country or army, but of yourself, your community, and your own family. It means taking personal responsibility for your actions and holding those around you to the same standard."

"accepting that this country was chosen for Divine protection because the struggle for freedom is worthy of protection."

In other words, great leadership involves humility before God; responsibility with what He has stewarded unto us, and faithfulness to the task at hand. This book was a pleasure to read, and pointed out both the strengths and weaknesses of Washington. However, the constant reminder was to be what we can be with God's help, and do what we can do (not focus on what we can't do), one step or opportunity at a time. Being a great leader like Washington involves great sacrifice, risk, unselfishness, and tremendous dedication. In the final analysis we need to be willing to personally answer the key question that Beck asks, "Are you willing to lose everything to do what is right?" I am grateful that Washington did, hope I will too, and that his tribe will increase abundantly.
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on December 23, 2011
As a fan of Glenn Beck, I was eager to read his book about George Washington. I enjoyed it greatly despite its flaws. If anything, I want to support Glenn's anti-establishment foray into the world of media and publishing.

A couple of things I didn't like:
1. Jumping back and forth in time. I realize these were supposed to tell you the significance of certain events in the future and in some cases, they were well placed. But too much of a good thing...
2. Editing. Too much of a rush job. Sorry, Glenn, it's hard to take something serious that is grammatically incorrect. If you want to position yourself as a champion of history, you have to pay attention to your English.
a. Inferred characteristics of George Washington that are admitted to be pure conjecture, that are not in his writings, letters or others' accounts.

What I DID like:
1. Action sequences showing the desperation of the full-breadth of the American revolution. I don't think I appreciated how tenuous it was even after the battles were done.
2. There is a definite change in voice that, while not completely in your face, does let you know that you are hearing Glenn's voice and not history's.
3. Points out areas that may be myths in our history because there is no verifiable proof.
4. Hard to put down. Incredibly interesting read.
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on November 22, 2011
I just bought this and so far, it reads as good as all of the rest of Beck's books! Please, PLEASE ignore these purpose driven 1 star reviews. They are written by fools that go from conservative author to conservative author giving them a 1 star reviews, bashing the author and moving on. They never read the books and it's obvious. I cannot understand the hate directed towards this man, he preaches honor, character, understanding and more importantly, he calls us all to go back to our Constitutional Roots.
I'll finish this review when I am done, but 1/2 way through, it's great! I would also suggest "The Christmas Sweater", it has a spectacular message, especially for the young!

11/23/2011 Updated: Just finished and my five star rating is intact. This is a very good read, not Glenn's best, but still good enough to get a five star! No, George Washington did not have wooden teeth or chop down a cherry tree, but I continue to believe that God ordained George Washington to be our 1st great President and what a form to follow. It's too bad todays President's, Republican and Democrat both fall so terribly short of the high mark that George Washington created. But Glenn, you may be asking too much TODAY for many to be like George Washington, the media and current history seems to have made a real effort to wash his memory away...
Thanks for another winner Glenn Beck!
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on November 22, 2011
I'm a big fan of History. Have read a lot of bio's over the years. This is an excellent read. Once you start, you won't want to stop. The book flows well. I suggest this as a must read for anybody interested in the man known as George Washington.
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on November 28, 2011
Riveting, educational, inspiring, accurate, and empowering. Rather than throwing dates and names at you (though it included both of course), "Being George Washington" tells a story that takes you back in time to smell, hear, see, feel, and taste the events. A great read for those who love history and those who don't but want to.
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on November 24, 2011
This book is worth the read. In a age of uncertainty its important to remember our past. With Beck's book you go into our nations history .. George Washington .. as I read more and more of his life he was such a principled man. But like many of us, a human being .. with flaws, desires, and integrity. This man, because of his deep beliefs, his commitment to country, to his successes and failures, he has become one of the most revered man in our history. We must all understand he did not set out to be the father of our nation and our first president, he set out to do what he felt he was must do, for God, for his country, and his family. In that each of us can find our own path, we may not turn out to be George Washington, but we will have lived our lives as God has commanded. When you lay your head down on that final day, you will be at peace with yourself, and with God.
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on November 22, 2011
As always Glenn puts out ANOTHER product full of truth and history that has been deleted from our history books. Its safe to say that the BAD REVIEWS that he is getting again are coming from those that FEAR Glenn Beck. Check his history he is never wrong on what he says..... do YOUR OWN RESEARCH and check his facts for yourself. The propaganda that is put out from the left about GLENN ... just makes him stronger and more relevant to the true conservative base. Another good book....may I also suggest Arguing with Idiots ( full of facts and footnotes)! No matter what your personal view of Mr. Beck is... you cant argue with the research and facts that he always links. DONT LISTEN TO WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT BECK AND HIS BOOKS .... JUDGE FOR YOURSELF!

Glad to hear the TRUTH about our First President.... maybe one day we will hear and read the truth about THE CURRENT ONE... I doubt it ,as he has wiped the records already. ;)

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on November 22, 2011
Being George Washington is more than just a great book. It is salvation's inner voice. Glenn reveals what many of us believe but are too consumed to act upon.
A few years ago I too felt that as a father and an American I was responsible for my country's future I formed a group "Fathers of America", I started to change the way I lived and how I interacted with family and friends. Since that time, my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at 54, our children now avoid us, and we have lost all our friends. We have gone from earning $700k a year to homeless. I am my wife's caretaker. This is my moment. [...]
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on November 23, 2011
The real George Washington has been lost to legend and history for a long time. As a Mason (yes the secret handshake kind) George Washington is held in very high regard to all US Masons. I can not think of a Lodge I have been in that there is not a picture or bust of George Washington. Not only because he was the first President, not only because he was a Mason but because he IS the standard to reach for in your personal and professional life. This is how I feel about the book BEING GEORGE WASHINGTON. He is no longer just a statue or a marble bust but a real man with his faults but dedication to his country, country men and to try to be the best he can be. This will not be something to read once but something to come back to as a textbook on how to make yourself into an indispensable person no matter if you are a man or woman or in you personal or professional life.
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on December 27, 2011
Let me preface this review by stating that I do not like Glenn Beck. When I heard that he has written a book about George Washington, I purchased it to pounce upon him. After reading it, I need to give him some applause because he has changed my perspectives somewhat.

I agree completely with Beck in that smaller decisions add up over time to forge a person's character. He showcased that with Washington; so in a sense, he proved his thesis. As a former history teacher, I had to improvise in order to authenticate the written word for my modern students. The stylistic format provided life to the scenes of Washington in the army. The picture he painted of Valley Forge with the non-English speaking Baron von Steuben was rather entertaining. My favorite part of the book surrounded Benedict Arnold and the hanging of the British traitor Major John Andre. That entire section was fascinating and enthralling!

In critiquing the work, I found those interspersed gray boxes quirky, which were often reserved for his political discourses. They disrupted the flow of the work and should have been reserved for the end of the chapters. Potentially, the editors believed that information would have been neglected. My biggest gripe, however, is within the scholarship. Without the commensurate citations, it was difficult to judge which of these events were fact or fiction (i.e. artistic license with a story). The other issue was the constant jumping around in that last section -- from colonial days, to presidential, to after the presidency, back to War times, to Constitutional Convection, etc. That part became somewhat cumbersome.

All in all, this book was better than I expected. He does make a case for principled leadership. With all that is going on in our world today, we do need individuals to stake clear positions without apology rather than being concerned about re-election. That lesson, for sure, can be learned from our first President. As my subject says, take up that challenge and be an authentic you in this fake world we inhabit.
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