Leading the Charge: Leadership Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom
by Gen. Anthony Zinni
REVIEWED BY SID HEAL
I am especially pleased to introduce this book because it was one of my nominations, and survived all eight rounds of elimination by the panel of national experts assembled by CATO to identify the top 12 books recommended for SWAT team leaders. The book is one of those rare “easy reads” that is also well-organized and simple to follow. It is one of the very few books I value enough to own in every format; hard copy, audible and ebook.
The author, General Tony Zinni, is a retired U.S. Marine Corps general who I had the personal privilege of working for in Somalia in the mid-1990s. It draws upon a lifetime of experience in leading people in harm’s way and I can personally attest these experiences are demonstrative of his most fundamental values. Far from simply espousing his views on leadership, Zinni uses examples to illustrate and reinforce nearly every point. He deals with the tough questions that other authors tend to gloss over or entirely ignore, such as: Who’s good and who’s bad? How do ethics affect decision making? How do you deal with people who fail? How should you deal with someone who has made a mistake of judgement vs. a mistake of virtue?
Using quotes from such diverse figures as Gen. Colin Powell, Mao Zedong and Che Guevara, principles emerge for isolating and understanding problems that confront leaders in complex and changing situations. The book is a practical guide for thinking leaders facing extraordinary challenges.