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George Washington on Leadership

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  207 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
With his trademark wit and precision, the author of "Founding Father" examines Washington's three spectacularly successful careers as an executive: general, president, and tycoon.
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published May 12th 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 487)
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Greg Strandberg
This is a great book for those interested in politics, business, or leadership.

It goes with lessons, but does so in a generally biographical and chronological way. There's lots on the other Founding Fathers, and I really liked how you get stuff from Seneca and Aristotle and other Greeks. Those ancients all influenced these people, after all.

Some stuff that I remember and liked were the mentions of Washington having a big problem with smallpox in his army. I knew nothing of that.

It was also inte
Nov 29, 2013 JP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arete, non-fiction, metis
I enjoyed every bit of this biography organized around themes of leadership. Washington lived an outstanding life, stepping up time after time to fulfill duties, and exhibiting industry on his own initiative in the rare moments afforded him. What I most valued were the examples of how he leveraged his natural strengths, such as visual acuity and commanding presence, while working through others to supplement his weaknesses in oratory and writing.
Henry Chavez
It was a good idea, perhaps not an original one, but an idea to combine historical knowledge with leadership principals. I bought this book from the value bin, as it looked interesting and I had want of a book on the subject to share with my daughter. The first portion of the book was interesting, but went downhill from there. Much is repeated and even re-referenced in parentheses in the later portions of the book to make a new point or elude to a past point. It seemed to me, that he just ran ou ...more
Dave Stadel
The book was good, not great, and worthy of maybe 3 1/2 stars. To be fair, I didn't begin reading this book with the idea that Brookhiser was an expert in leadership, or that he had a proven track record in the subject. I think he's more of a historian. Perhaps that jaded my perspective.
The book has some value and may be worth reading for someone looking to learn a few interesting facts about Washington and how he applied his leadership. I'd recommend it as a light read or a for the beginning s
Jun 15, 2009 E rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Noteworthy use of Washington as a model

Richard Brookhiser, a National Humanities Medalist, is a popular author, journalist and biographer. Considering his stellar previous work about America’s founding fathers, as well as his deep knowledge of George Washington, you would expect his book about the first U.S. president’s leadership traits to be good. And so it is, interesting and full of well-told stories. Yet, it does falter sometimes. For example, the opening chapter lauds Washington’s prescien
May 30, 2013 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Washington on Leadership is a condensed, and topic specific approach to a biography of Washington with specific applications to leaders today, in all sorts of fields. This work avoids hagiography of Washington, but because this is not a straight biography, you end up with sections of the book that place successes together and then failures together, often not chronologically or with great context. As such, this book is ideal for leaders of organizations who want to use Washington as a cas ...more
Jul 04, 2009 Consuela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book over a year and was determined to finish it. But I gave up half-way through it. It started out promising (the title...) because I love reading good well-written books about George Washington. Apparently the author, Richard Brookhiser, is supposed to be an authority on Washington. I had two problems with this book: 1)it jumped all over the place in an attempt to fit Washington's life in tidy little bromides on how we can incorporate Washington's life into our own work situation ...more
Jun 08, 2009 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Among the books on management and leadership, there is a subcategory which looks at the topic from a the perspective of a historical person. A quick perusal of the bookshelves suggests that a CEO can learn from Aristotle, Queen Elizabeth or even Attila the Hun. Often, these books are a little too clever for their own good. Reducing Jesus' teachings to bulletpointed tactics or applying Napoleon's life lessons to the boardroom seem a bit trivial. Nonetheless, the genre is not without some benefit. ...more
Jeff Scott
Brookhiser, an expert on the subject of Washington and the Founding Fathers, gathers leadership lessons from Washington's decisions. From General Washington to President Washington, Brookhiser puts forth snippets of crises Washington had to endure and the morals and lessons are provided at the end of each section.

Some examples of this technique:

On Washington insisting on digging latrines, a little used process of sanitation not used by the army: "What is obvious to you as a leader may not be ob
Aug 28, 2011 Tamara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The book examines basic leadership principles and uses examples from George Washington's leadership roles - from surveyor and military leader to US President to illustrate the nation's first president's leadership philosophy and abilities. This was a very interesting and informative read about George Washington, but not tremendously ground-breaking from a leadership/business book standpoint. I liked it, but at times Brookhiser goes off on a tangent or two - especially toward the end of the book. ...more
Mike Leahy
“No leader ever knows exactly what is coming, or all the things he should prepare for. He can, however, know that he
doesn’t know, and prepare mentally for that.” - best quote of book

Book really wasn't that great, but reinforeced some good, general leadership principles. Best one...

Pursue education – Washington’s formal schooling ended in his midteens. This always
bothered him. “I am conscious of a defective education,” he once wrote. But, throughout
his life, he strove constantly to improve him
Chuck Cova
Apr 10, 2014 Chuck Cova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the topical nature of this arrangement (versus chronological). Good history lessons as well as discussion on leadership principles using examples from George Washington and his contemporaries. Really enjoyed this read.
Meh. Business books tend to be a little pithy, and that is true of this one too. Brookhiser does a decent job of weaving in facts and actions from the life of Washington to support his notions, and they made for interesting reading.
Leif Guiteau
Jul 28, 2014 Leif Guiteau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the way Brookhiser portrayed this founding father. History and Revolutionary buffs must read this!!!
Ken Lang
May 23, 2016 Ken Lang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having an interest in leadership principles and utilizing them when I serve in leadership roles, this book was given to me as a gift and I found it to be a gem. It uses particular moments throughout Washington's career and recalls the facts that led to his monumental decisions. The author does not follow a timeline of events which made the book feel more conversational as he allowed the themes to dictate what topics he wished to discuss. For anyone who serves in a leadership role and has a passi ...more
Dec 27, 2013 Ramon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far is good. This book is an interesting look at leadership through the lens of George Washington. I can't say that it is a quick read or that I can't put this book down, but I will say it is nice to think of Washington as a multifaceted leader and to see how he navigated his role as president, owner, statesman, diplomat, friend, husband, etc.
I love the myriad lessons that we can learn here. Brookhiser shows us the many ways that Washington led. He brings to light things he did well and thin
Nitecrawler Lopez
This is a good book to read if you want to get some good tips on how to be a leader.
Sep 11, 2011 Phil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting blend of George Washington idiosyncrasies and basic management techniques. The anecdotes were interesting and relevant to the leadership message associated with each story. Unfortunately, the leadership message was usually listed as only a short sentence or two at the end of each section. The organization of the book primed the reader to go back and reread each section after reading the end quip, just to see the tie-in. I think the messages would have been deeper if they had been ...more
Matt Sparling
Somewhat interesting but overall mediocre. The book is more of a very brief and very selective biography than a book on leadership.
SJ Barakony
This is no doubt a very solid read, however, it wasn't reaching me on the first attempt, so like with about 10 or so books in the past, I've put it back onto the shelf, and will re-visit it in the future --- this is no reflection on the author. It's always about making sure that when you read, you are present & getting enough out of the pages w/o making reading a chore.
Aug 10, 2013 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book on leadership as told through the life of George Washington. The concepts of good leadership are similar today as they were in Washington's time. Brookhiser is an excellent author and makes history come alive and relevant to us today. I enjoy reading his books as well as those of many of his contemporary historians.
Jerry Goidosik
Jul 09, 2013 Jerry Goidosik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I stopped my gag reflex from the authors apparent love affair for Alexander Hamilton and our modern banking system it turned out to be a good book. I have read a few biographies of George Washington an I was impressed with the historic view point, my highlights came in chapters 15 and 16 in developing yourself and other people.
Dec 15, 2008 Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book about the "Father of our Country." Not a biography, nor a "how to" book, like "Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun." As you read it, Brookhiser shows how Washington's style of leadership can be used by people of any period. Extremely well done. Highly recommended.
Mar 17, 2009 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contains much of what other leadership books will teach you. Weaving these themes into a history (biography?) of Washington makes it that much more enjoyable and impressed even more deeply the importance of his morals, background and ethics on his leadership and brilliance.
Ashleigh Carrothers
So far this is an interesting book. I am reading it to create a leadership lesson. I find it interesting that Washington had to wear so many "hats" in the creation of this nation and this examines what he did in each of them. More updates as I get farther into it.
Brandon Perry
Jun 07, 2013 Brandon Perry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book, not your typical leadership book. I think what this book did was show how great of a leader our first president actually was. To help start a country and lead a war in those conditions is almost unthinkable.
Brianna Elsass
Aug 01, 2012 Brianna Elsass rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business-types

Very good book about leadership and George Washington. Great examples and provided perspectives which I hadn't considered for the founding father. Quick read with some memorable quotes.
Picked this up as a Bargain Book. I very much enjoyed the David Mccullough biography and was interested in seeing these ideas presented in terms of instruction on leadership and management.
Jul 06, 2016 Jacob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-history
I imagine that this would be a difficult book to write. George Washington was an amazing leader and this author does a good job of tying leadership principles to his life examples.
This wasn't so much a biography as a look at what made Washington a sucessful leader and what might make others sucessful leaders, but this gave a historical twist on the whole thing
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Richard Brookhiser, author of Founding Father (Free Press 1996), is a senior editor at National Review and a columnist for The New York Observer.
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