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Showing 1-10 of 78 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 172 reviews
on March 29, 2015
I enjoyed reading GEN Powell's biography. The hard copy of his book has been sitting on my shelf but I decided to read the Kindle version instead because of my traveling. His life truly epitomizes the American Dream born from Jamaican immigrant parents and rising to the highest ranks in the Army then Sec. Of State. Throughout his military career at the Pentagon, GEN Powell walked a fine line to balance his civilian-military relationships which, helped prepare him as a diplomat. What's so transparent about his book is that how his life experiences formulated his political views of being fiscally conservative yet socially conscience. I recently had a chance to listen to him give a speech at Ft. Leavenworth, KS during a ceremony unveiling his statue. SEC and GEN Powell delivered an eloquent speech that I could almost hear his voice read out loud directly from his book. A true statesman and Soldier! I highly recommend this book!
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on July 12, 2011
This autobiography covers Collin Powell's life from early childhood through retirement from the Army, with a few post-Army experiences. At the time of its writing he clearly did not anticipate serving as Secretary of State or in any other future high-visibility position. It was the intended capstone of his public career. The book is well-stocked with a readable selection of anecdotes from Powell's family, military and political lives.

Perhaps of even greater value are the lessons Powell draws from these experiences. Some are succinct, like Powell's Rules written on scraps of paper kept on his desk. They include "Get mad, then get over it," "Officers always eat last," and "Share credit." Others are longer statements of personal philosophy or perspective. Here are nine of Collin Powell's hard-won lessons:

- "Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off."
- "Never be without a watch, a pencil, and a notepad."
- "Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."
- "With vision only, you get no follow-through. With enforcers only, the vision is realized, but leaves a lot of wreckage. Good chaplains pick up the pieces and put everything together again." [On three complementary leadership styles.]
- "I had long since learned to cope with Army management fashions. You pay the king his shilling, get him off your back, and then go about doing what you consider important."
- "The staff meeting served one useful purpose, however. It stroked the participants' egos and made them feel like part of the team."
- "There was a lot of talk about Powell the `reluctant warrior.' Guilty. War is a deadly game and I do not believe in spending the lives of Americans lightly."
- "The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise."
- "Reject the easy path of victimhood. Dare to take the harder path of work and commitment, a path that leads somewhere."

There are longer lessons, too. Along with thoughtful portraits of military and political leaders, on-the-ground accounts of historical events, and candid assessments of U.S. military capability from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. Powell is critical while remaining respectful, and cautionary while remaining optimistic. His own account of his life and service to his country is worth reading and enjoying. It is highly recommended.
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on January 17, 2014
I have to say I have read this book so many times I have memorized most the passages.

Gen. Powell provides us with the tapestry of his life. He came from immigrant parents and was directionless most of his youth. When he got to CCNY and joined the Pershing Rifles (Army ROTC), he found his calling and his career. He describes his love for the miltary, especially the Army, and for his country. But he also is able to step back and reveal flaws of himself and the career that he loves.

This is an American story. General Powell is a man that I admire as a service member, a family man, and a diplomat. Well done, sir.
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on February 27, 2007
Stories abound in the US government about simple acts of kindness that Colin Powell showed to employees. But the stories I love the best are the ones told by Arabs, Latinos, Asians and Africans. People everyone seem to love to hate the US, but they consistently agree on two things ... Colin Powell and the Bill of Rights.

This book is a simple, clear picture of life and work. One of the only complaints I've heard about him came from Panamanian military men who dislike him because he planned Operation Just Cause, the air assault and arrest of Manual Noriega in Panama. This, also, is detailed in his biography.

But by far the thing I love the most and perhaps the thing that my Asian, Arab and Latin brothers love the most about Colin Powell is that he came from humble beginings and doesn't hide it nor seem to be ashamed of it. And that despite his rather average (by global standards) family life and upbringing, he rose to be one of the most significant and powerful men in the world.

People in South America love to talk about how he got off the plane in a full, formal black suit. "Why?" they ask. Because he respects us, they explain.

Somehow everyone feels like they are kin to Colin. His courtesy and kindness, his genuine character and true grit developed through the hard knocks of the Vietname war and surviving a couple of the more racist decades of U.S. history. Interestingly, while he accounts the negative aspects of his life's history ... combat, racism, struggles, he seems to find a spark of inspiration in all things good and bad.

Maybe that's way he has such a following throughout the globe.
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on March 19, 2017
Good Condition, no writing in it. Was very pleased.
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on July 27, 2016
I thought I knew a lot about General Powell, but this journey he has taken is very enlightening and inspirational. General Powell has served himself and nation so honorably that it should be mandatory reading for every student, at least by her or his junior year in high school. The book explains, quite expertly, what a true patriot should model.
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on November 23, 2014
This is a great book. I have been reading a lot of autobiogrophies and biogrophies lately and this is by far the best I have discovered. It reads like a novel. I can't believe some studio has not make it into a major motion picture. You will beam with pride in our country, you will honor the armed forces and you will be so impressed with a man who has served his country all of his carrer. Lots of inside the whitehouse scenes. I really learned a lot about the army as I didn't have the privilage to serve.
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on March 9, 2017
This is perfect for my husband who is visually impaired! Thanks
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on June 21, 2015
I appreciated his honesty about his thought process even as he was growing up as a child. I am particularly grateful for the insight he provided as Secretary of State under the Bush administration. He provided contextual details that made for better understanding of his foreign policy positions even in the face of intense internal conflict with the Bush policy makers. A great read.
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on December 22, 2014
The superb partnership between General Powell and Joe Persico is evident in the vivid stories and the manner in which they are told. A reader wishing short chapters of valuable interesting stories - as General Powell says, the internet quick read style - see his book "It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership" (44 short stores) and my book "Yes You! Yes Now! Leadership" (50 short stories).
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