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We Shall Not Fail: The Inspiring Leadership of Winston Churchill Hardcover – May 1, 2003
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About the Author
Jonathan Littman is a journalist.
- Publisher : Portfolio Hardcover; First Edition (May 1, 2003)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1591840155
- ISBN-13 : 978-1591840152
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.74 x 1.02 x 8.58 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,331,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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There are some books that you read and know even while you're reading them that you'll be re-reading them again regularly for years to come. This is one of those books.
I practically painted the book yellow with my highlighter as I worked my way through it.
I plan on re-reading it next year to remind me of all the lessons Churchill's amazing life can teach us.
In the Introduction, she acknowledges that she has been frequently asked, "When did you realize that your grandfather was a great man?" For reasons she explains, she found it impossible to answer. The core question to which she does respond is this: What can be learned from Winston Churchill's leadership? She organizes her material within fourteen chapters, concluding each with a list of what she suggests are "Churchillian Principles." For example, at the end of one of my favorite chapters ("Follow Your Canvas"), she offers these:
* Expect the unexpected and you'll find yourself far better prepared to deal with life's twists and turns.
* Make your own hours to bring vitality to your work.
* Leave time for rest and relaxation, especially when under pressure.
* Wise leaders have a hobby or pursuit outside of work that brings them joy.
* Never forget the rejuvenating power of a good meal with friends or stimulating company.
Sandys was in a unique position to observe Churchill's commitment to these and other principles. Throughout her narrative, she makes appropriate use of Churchill's own statements about all manner of situations, ranging from his conflicts and collaborations with other world leaders to the reasons why he enjoyed painting so much. She offers her own opinions along the way, duly noting her grandfather's warts as well as his halos. This is a serious book, a remarkably thoughtful and sensitive book, but also one which is highly entertaining. I have always regretted never having had the pleasure of Churchill's company. (He would be among the guests invited to a "fantasy dinner" were it possible for me to host such an event. The others? Homer, Eleanor of Aquitaine, William Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Katherine Hepburn. Wouldn't that be an evening to remember?) I am deeply grateful to Sandys for sharing so much of her personal relationship with Churchill but also for her response to the question previously posed: What can be learned from Winston Churchill's leadership?
In the epilogue, she recalls that "Even at home taking command was a way of life. On seaside holidays he would direct the family party, his children and those of his brother Jack, in the building of magnificent sand castles. Everyone had a role to play under the direction of the `King of the castle.' He was as excited as the children when at high tide the sea rushed in to fill the moat and eventually destroy the entire day's work." What a fond memory of a singular man who retained "almost to the end, his ability to enthrall his audience with wisdom, humor, and humanity."
Unfortunately, in some chapters Celia Sandys takes a personality style or quirk and tries to stretch it into an inspiring nugget of leadership truth for the masses. She gives anecodtal evidence of a particular facet of Churchill's outlook and then ends each chapter with Churchillian Principles. They are meant to convey that he had distilled these principles and lived by them, however, there are many biographies out there that will show you the complete Churchill. He was a leader. He was stubborn, relentless and fully taken with himself. But let's don't over do it. These were manifestations of WHO Churchill was, not leadership principles. Churchill wouldn't have changed any of them even if he discovered they weren't exceptional leadership traits. He simply would have continued on undeterred.
Still, I would recommend this book to any not familiar with Churchill and who may not be up for a lengthy biography. You'll get enough for a flavor of the man or you may be intrigued enough to conduct more serious study about him. I don't think you will be able to take any one of the "Churchillian principles" and infuse it into your personal management or leadership style.