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A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  289 ratings  ·  31 reviews
On June 23, 2008, President George W. Bush nominated Ann Dunwoody as a four-star general in the US Army-the first time a woman had ever achieved that rank. The news generated excitement around the world. Now retired after nearly four decades in the Army, Dunwoody shares what she learned along the way, from her first command leading 100 soldiers to her final assignment, in
Kindle Edition, 290 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Da Capo Press
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Ian Stewart
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I mined this book for insight into leadership skills and management anecdotes but what I especially enjoyed in the end was a newfound respect for military life. And most especially the sense of multi-generational teamwork along with the sense of dedicating ones life to something bigger than themselves. But back to leadership skills: I wound up highlighting almost an entire chapter on what it means to have a vision, develop it, share it, and drive towards it. Probably the best no nonsense explana ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have wanted to read this book for as long as I knew about its publication. When I was a lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne, we had our first female field grade officer join the Division. That was Ann Dunwoody, who was then a major. I did not have many interactions with (then) Major Dunwoody as she was in the DISCOM and I was down at the Battalion level as the S-1. I was impressed with what I did see and tried to follow her career after I left the Division and later, the Army. I confess her prop b ...more
Curious to look at this because the head high honcho of WordPress thinks it's great and she's been appointed to the board of WP, the first appointment since the board was first established.

Will it unlock some secrets behind the WP mindset?
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a veritable amount of good leadership tips and tricks in the book. I did find it difficult to read this because she wrote it like a military report and transitions sometimes were a bit abrupt. So I had to take my reader hat off and put my Army hat back on to get through. Kudos to General (Ret) Dunwoody on her career and thank you for sharing these insightful tips.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
General Dunwoody was the first woman to become a four star general, and chronicles her journey from the Women’s Army Corps in 1974 to commanding an organization of 69K Soldiers in 2012. The book was a bit more disjointed than I would have liked, by the stories and leadership techniques were worth the read.
This was a good book. It wasn't great which was a bit disappointing to me considering that I have been hunting for it on the cheap for a while. The flow of the story wasn't really there. It was more than a bit out of order. Rather than Gen. McChrystal's biography that was fantastic, this one didn't go in a linear fashion a hundred percent of the time. Sometimes things happened out of order and she would go from talking about her time as a Lieutenant General to her time as a Major or Lieutenant C ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting Leadership Reading

The frequent and necessary reminder of the need for an ethical foundation and belief system as well as an ability to look within one's self. Excellent writing style. Factual as well as interesting.
James Pritchert
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a terrific book. It may be because the General and I were assigned to the same places on some occasions and we shared some similar experiences but I really enjoyed this book. Looking back over her military career, she provides many useful insights and observations into the US Army and into the politics that goes into that career field. If I were to embark on a military career now, I would devour this book and keep it as a ready reference. I have seen too many young officers run afoul of ...more
Carla Doria Medina
Reading about General Ann Dunwoody was very interesting, especially her story and how she reached that position. The book adds teachings that her military experience taught her about leadership. There was very good material and strategies that are helpful for life in general and is truly inspiring to read from an iconic woman. As women, knowing that somebody had such an amazing life experience in her career with mostly persistence, perseverance, and discipline is very encouraging.

However, some
Douglas Meyer
General Dunwoody's book, much like her distinguished service, transcends the obvious labels. This isn't a great book for "women" leaders, "women" soldiers, "women" officers, etc. This is just a GREAT BOOK. Period. Her words of wisdom, personal experiences, storytelling, and easily digestible approach to sharing hard-fought lessons learned are much needed for any professional. I am a better man and leader for having spent time reading her story. I especially appreciated her humor, empathy, and ab ...more
Jonathan Pevarnek
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
A very good book going over the life of a remarkably gifted leader in the army. General Dunwoody tells many stories about her career and I found many of those stories to have very clear takeaways for how people in general could be more effective and just better overall. Without question, there's some useful tips I can take away and use in my own life.

One thing that would have been nice from an editing perspective would be to trim down the repetition. The same stories, framed almost exactly the s
Vanessa Ward
Feb 21, 2020 marked it as could-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I don't typically read books like this; I prefer fiction. I thought I would give it a shot through since I was in the military for quite a few years and have worked in government. I was disappointed in the writing, mostly because of how repetitive it is. I couldn't finish it because it was driving me crazy. I admire the accomplishments of GEN Dunwoody and think it's incredible that she was the first female 4 star. If it had been written better and perhaps condensed, I think I would have really e ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a leader

Outstanding read! General Dunwoody details not only her ascent to General, but depicts numerous valuable leadership lessons while doing so. She rightfully credits those who helped her get there. General Dunwoody, the first female O8, reminds the reader that she got there through her outstanding work, not because she was a female (though there is still a disparity wherein more minority leaders should be elevated....because of their skill) but because she was an outstanding leader. Th
Sep 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid review of Dunwoody’s career and leadership principles, told in her own words. It’s a rambly and folksy book, but there are genuinely interesting insights into military leadership and team building, along with her own biography. Don’t expect a nuanced critique of the American military-industrial complex, the uneasy dance of US patriotism-becoming-nationalism. But Dunwoody seems like someone who treated her people well, squashed wastefulness, and led with integrity. I appreciate that.
Walt Campbell
Love her story but didn't love this book. It ambles, rambles, and recovers ground so often that it feels like you've been dropped into the middle of a narrative jungle and have to find you way out. I listened to the audiobook version, not sure if I would have come away with the same impression if I had read a printed copy. ...more
Mahlon Bailey
Mar 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exceptionally written, very inspirational book. My first thought after reading it is that I need to read this at least once a year. I appreciate her humility so much and I know (because I am a logistician and an officer) how exceptional her accomplishments are. I’m recommending this book to every leader and potential leader who crosses my path.
Song Flagler
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
She's an inspiration for sure, but the writing is a little shallow. Too many metaphors, similes, and examples. It's written from a passive voice too often. And a pretty big error in the first chapter. Not my cup o' tea. ...more
Another great book pick from Julie! A positive story with practical leadership lessons from our first female to four.
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better than expected!
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it doesn’t really convey too much information about leadership, it tells some true reality about promotion. Another anecdote aligns with the conclusion of Carla Harris
Sara Magno
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book as a brand new female LT who will be going to an infantry battalion in the 82nd. Her book provided me wisdom and perspective on how to lead when you’re not “one of the boys.”
Dan Zisa
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read for any leader, especially as one is about to enter a position of responsibility.
Anne Mccune
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoire, 2016

General Dunwoody has high standards that served her well as she grew in her various assignments in the army. She gives us good ideas about improving our own lives, to seek ways we too can help this world be a better place. She was often recognised as a leader with great potential. Kudos to those who were willing to give her chances to advance. I am so glad she had so much support from her husband.
I also liked the way she talked about convincing people to do the right thing... how to kee
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed every aspect of this book! It's an easy read, and very enjoyable. Amy's lessons of leadership and life are very sincere and relatable. The book definitely had a very similar format to Lean In, which is another great book.

The ultimate theme, as evident from the title, is a higher standard. No matter of the set backs, the hardship, or the situation; a higher standard is what is going to be your key to success.

The book consists of 11 chapters, each designed a provide an insight and a les
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
First review of this book. I'll be honest, I wanted to read what the author said about leadership, the Army, and others who I know or know of. Her lessons on leadership were good ones; especially for one who lives in a large bureaucracy like the Army. I was especially amused at the powerpoint slides that describe vision...Army ones are usually too busy to absorb without some contemplation. These were no different. Further, the story was pretty "green," Army green. Even more telling, the anecdota ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a memoir. Not an autobiography -- though autobiographical elements appear on each page. This is a book about leadership strategies. Even if you are not looking to lead, the advice Dunwoody provides will inspire and influence you for the better.
I loved this book, it affirms my beliefs and values of what I already believe in, she is a bad ass. This book has inspired me to believe in myself mainly, and be a part of the "boys club" which the military is no longer. But very good Valuable leadership lessons learned. ...more
well written, it did not engage me.
Papun Dutta
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leadership skills Ann has described reflects on her journey to the Highest position in Combat and everything she wrote will continue to inspire generations to come.
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic lessons

Great story, well written and inspiring. Good real world examples of the best type of leadership. Thank you, General Dunwoody for your service too!
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