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Leadership Hardcover – Unabridged, October 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
This highly anticipated book from New York's once controversial, now beloved former mayor opens with a gripping account of Giuliani's immediate reaction to the September 11 attacks, including a narrow escape from the original crisis command headquarters, and closes with the efforts to address the aftermath during his remaining four months in office. But, he argues, he did not suddenly become a great leader on September 11, and "had been doing [my] best to take on challenges my whole career." The bulk of the book draws on his experiences as a corporate lawyer and U.S. attorney and then as mayor. The leadership principles he champions preparation, accountability and strong self-definition chief among them come as no surprise, but the stories he uses as examples are filled with vivid scenes and organized with a veteran trial lawyer's flair for maximum effect. Apart from a few childhood anecdotes, he shies away from his personal life and recalls his abandoned Senate campaign against Hillary Clinton only as one factor in his decisions about dealing with prostate cancer. Throughout, he displays the hands-on management that marked his administration, including his willingness to respond swiftly and in person to crises, to prove that he could be relied on when the city needed him most. While some critics found his style too aggressive, he has an effective counterargument: "Before September 11, there were those who said we were being overly concerned [about security]," he observes. "We didn't hear that afterwards..
-," he observes. "We didn't hear that afterwards."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"An entertaining read...marked by an obvious passion for the city he led." -- Business Week
"Effective management advice from the master. Giuliani shows again why his admirers number in the millions." -- People
"Leadership shines...There is a useful lesson here." -- Financial Times (London)
"Lively yet practical...crisp and authoritative." -- Bookpage
"The level of devotion to his job comes through on every page." -- The Palm Beach Post
"Written with the bluntness and unsentimental bravado that people have come to expect from the former mayor of New York." -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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This book is not to be dismissed because it is written by a politician and would-be president. Giuliani does an excellent job of chronicling the "how" of how he did his job. The book is written in clear language, is direct, and is loaded with examples from his administration.
I use this book to teach a course on politics and this serves my purposes well as a series of case studies. Very critical to this book's utility is Giuliani's discussion of management and personnel practices. His chronicling of morning meetings with senior staff shows excellent examples of how to conduct efficient and meaningful meetings as well as how to control large organizations through subordinates. A frequent topic of the book is the new approach to policing and crimefighting his administration undertook. While controversial to some, it can be argued that statistics portray a successful initiative. His policing model introduces discussions of data acquisition and management, personnel and accountability as well as communication and feedback loops that are useful to those who seek how to implement new strategies that represent departures from business as it has been done.
The author also discusses many other aspects of leadership such as time management, "showing-up" as the leader, and communication. This book contains valuable lessons for any student of leadership.
Without going into details, the best part of this book is the discussion of COMPSTAT and how to develop self-assessment metrics for a complex agency. While metrics can be used incorrectly, it seems likely that similar efforts for all branches of Government will soon be in vogue.
The only drawback to this book is that Mr. Giuliani comes across as somewhat self-serving. One wonders if he is trying to get a little paid advertisement for a Presidential run, keep his name in the limelight for paid speaking engagements, or both.
Inevitably selective and subjective as all memoirs are, these are focused almost entirely on Giuliani's career while providing an extended explanation of leadership from his perspective. He begins the book with his own account of 9/11/01, then explains how and why 14 key management principles were so important that day, before shifting his and the reader's attention to recovery efforts. Giuliani's remarks throughout the narrative are thoughtful and heartfelt but he seldom allows the reader access to thoughts and feelings unrelated to his evolution as a leader. Although presumably he has several scores to settle, he chose not to do so in this book. If I were asked to suggest a subtitle, it would be something like "What I've Learned About Leadership and How I learned It" or "September 11, 2001: My Leadership Crucible." You get the idea. Concluding this book, Giuliani acknowledges that he felt great anger after the attacks on the World Trade Center but considers that reaction a healthy one. "The challenge was to put it to work in ways that would make me a stronger, better leader." By all accounts he succeeded.
When Giuliani was selected as Time magazine's "2001 Person of the Year," the citation praises him "For having more faith in us than we had in ourselves, for being brave when required and rude when appropriate and tender without being trite, for not sleeping and not quitting and not shrinking from the pain all around him."