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Robert E. Lee on Leadership: Executive Lessons in Character, Courage, and Vision

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  464 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Robert E. Lee was a leader for the ages. The man heralded by Winston Churchill as "one of the noblest Americans who ever lived" inspired an out-manned, out-gunned army to achieve greatness on the battlefield. He was a brilliant strategist and a man of unyielding courage who, in the face of insurmountable odds, nearly changed forever the course of history.

"A masterpiece—th
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 24th 2000 by Crown Forum (first published 1999)
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Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
SO THIS WAS PRETTY GOOD. I really liked how the author directly applied history to the lives of people today. I'd probably give it a generous four stars, but I'm taking off a star because there's probably about a dozen or so instances of mild swearing. :D
Jonathan Smith
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book, deeply researched and very well written! Whether applied to your various leadership positions (everyone is a leader) or simply to everyday life, this book is extraordinarily pertinent to any reader. It is also an excellent study of a true giant of American history and, by association, of a historic period with tremendous ramifications still rippling through the American subconscious, today. I wholeheartedly and sincerely recommend this book to anyone!
Bart Breen
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very Good but Keep in Mind ....

Robert E. Lee is probably second only to Benjamin Franklin in terms of a famous American non-president around whom an almost larger than life mythology has formed.

This book does an outstanding job of presenting Robert E. Lee as a leader and gives a tremendous amount of good information and insight that makes it well worth the read. In the end, however, the book falls prey to that mythology and goes beyond simply presenting Lee's leadership qualities and enters into
Will Waller
I started this book while home because it was given to me when I was attending Washington and Lee University about 5 years ago. It’s been on the backburner, because I had left it in Georgia while visiting the parental units. Having moved to a new town with this book at the local library, I was able to requisition it and finally finish it.

The truth is, this book is pandering to Southerners and I will say this to my Yankee friends, don’t pick it up. Having just finished it, I want to get on my st
Jim B
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was eager to find out more about Robert E. Lee and this book is praised by men who should know if the author is off-target, but the book did not satisfy my thirst to get to know Lee first hand. Quotation of Lee grows less as the book progresses, and each chapter ends with a pedantic "Lessons to be Learned." The Appendix is not about Lee at all, but the other confederate generals (actually, I enjoyed the appendix, especially learning about Stonewall Jackson)

Among the observations of Robert E Le
Bob Wallner
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership, audible
This book had something to satisfy all my vices...I like books on history - check. I like biographies - check. I like books where I can learn something professionally - check.

In general I thought this book was very well written and well planned out. It does a good job of translating the actions a military leader does and applies it to other disciplines.

I enjoyed the narration and subject matter of this audiobook greatly. Only thing that is missing is how did Lee handled mistakes he personally ma
Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This review/comments on this book is coming a little late but here it is! This book is just amazing! Learning about the civil war and how General Lee was one of the best leaders that this country every produced. His ability to trust his leaders and to face insurmountable odds with courage flabbergasts me! He beat the North with, at times, 1/4 of the forces!

If Stonewall Jackson would not have died the war's result could have been much different. This book has even given me a whole new perspe
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is one that I will read again and again. If only this was required reading in our high schools! As it says "the secrets to his leadership success are as relevant today as they were more than a century ago." But sadly, "our hopes for producing men like America's Virginia-born Founding Fathers are about as distant as our hopes of hearing news of rising SAT scores, the growing unpopularity of televisions, and the demise of rock music."
Along with the valuable, timeless lessons in character thi
Peter N.
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on leadership I have read. Few characters hold the imagination like Lee does. He was a great leader. What I liked:

It covers the life of one man and how his leadership style worked in various situations instead of covering a bunch leaders. I like this approach because it allowed us to see Lee's character in numerous different situations.

This man was highly respected by friends and enemies despite losing.

The author clearly lays out the principles of leadership at the end of
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I found this book an excellent read. With much revisionist history out there--particularly concerning the "Civil War," this book is a refreshing read. The author demonstrates from the life of Robert E. Lee, a profound example of Christian leadership. He takes Lee's exemplary leadership and then applies them to business today. The principles can be applied by young and old alike, at home, Church and other areas as well. Lee's understanding of grace of God, the Bible, original sin and the sovereig ...more
Aug 19, 2015 rated it liked it
(Audio). Initially this audio book comes off as being rather pedestrian and even silly in attempting to place Lee's qualities in the present day context. Such things such as advising leaders to "trust your subordinates" or "know your enemy" seems pretty pedantic I. The modern context. Also, if you are looking for more of a biography of Lee there really is no comparison than to consult Douglas Southall Freeman or Michael Korda's excellent books on the subject. However, this audio book does get be ...more
Oct 28, 2015 rated it liked it
From a learning perspective, the content of this book is 5 stars. In examining Lee and his leadership style, the author points out numerous characteristics of effective leadership. Robert E. Lee is widely regarded as being an effective leader and we can still learn a great deal from his example today. Reading this book would definitely be thought-provoking and insightful for any aspiring or current leader.

Unfortunately, this book left a lot to be desired in the enjoyment category. Being self-ide
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Inspiring. I know some people probably have a low opinion of Robert E. Lee, thinking him a loser and a racist. Neither is true (well, maybe technically you could make a case for "loser" since he did sign his surrender at Appomattox, but that's an argument for another day), but you might be led to think that if you have just a cursory education about the Civil War. Gen. Lee is a hero of mine, and this book only strengthens that, illustrating so many of his incredibly admirable qualities. The book ...more
SJ Barakony
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As with most any information in our cluttered, noise infused age of information ( much of which isn't wisdom nor value additive ), books like this one would simply escape the attention of 98-99% of folks out there.

This is one that surely escaped my attention until I started to apply success principles to my life and tuned out the noise & focused on the music.

Terrific read. Earned all 5 stars - has such much truth tidbits that it could serve as a manual for leadership for any age. Here we ar
David R.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Overall Crocker presents a workmanlike basic narrative of the life of Robert E. Lee, broken down into a number of phases of his professional and post war career. Each chapter concludes with a few bulleted lessons of leadership derived from each life phase. Some of the biographical material is ridiculously hagiographic, but by and large there's a lot to learn. Regrettably, I have met almost no business leaders who approach their "leadership" in a Lee-esque fashion and I suspect the end of chapter ...more
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Good book! I'm not really that much of a battlefield history fan, but the author does a great job of portraying the character of Lee and his subordinates, and even their personalities, in the details of historical battles. Probably most interesting was the descriptions of what these men did during the post-war Reconstruction period, and how they reacted to the surrender of the South. You really get a feel for these men as PEOPLE, not as mere historical figures you heard about in American History ...more
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was a fascinating look at the qualities that made Lee one of the most amazing men in history. The book was designed to be used a a guide for leadership with an emphasis on business, but I think a lot of that was a stretch. I thought the author's descriptions of Lee's leadership qualities were spot on, but not that they can all be utilized in the business world as simply as he stated. However, the author did an amazing job of depicting the character of Lee, and that made this book extre ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: civil-war
I'm probably biased as I think that Lee was and still is the greatest general ever to come out of the United States but this book is amazing. The fact that he fought against the Union but was respected in the North, and that he was offered the overall command of the Northern Forces at the outbreak of the war but turned it down before he resigned his commission speaks for itself. Not to mention that he is to this day, the ONLY cadet to ever make it through four years of college at the United Stat ...more
Matt Love
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting and practical read. People who enjoy reading that gives them concrete principles that apply to their lives will enjoy this book. It combines history, biography, leadership, and business into a story that is both compelling and helpful. I enjoyed reading it very much and have already begun recommending it to friends. Full Review at:
Mar 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Excellent account of Civil War from the Confederate point of view, but mostly showing Robert E. Lee's genius as a leader, a person who cared for those who worked and fought with him and person concerned that innocent people not be hurt. Included are comments from the author relating to current time and ways of influencing and showing others direction. Robert E. Lee shows ways to use the worst of circumstances and make the most of them with ingenuity and creativity.
Feb 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
This was a book club choice. I think I would have liked it more if it had been the book club choice for August instead of December. It was short enough, but my brain gets fried in December and I need fluff. The book was about using Robert E Lee's life as a business model so it was also pretty boring in places.
Nathan Kitzke
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great lessons from one of our most amazing patriots. I found it fascinating that he had so much loyalty to his state of Virginia. So much so, that it propelled him to become the leading General of the South when he originally was asked to lead the North. Amazing leadership lessons for all organizations, not just military!
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
An excellent look at the Civil War from the South's point of view. As we know, History is written by the winners. This book shows the integrity and fortitude of Robert E Lee and the same characteristics that we should have in ourselves.
Jerry Wall
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Though tends to be a bit spiritual or religious, good summary of civil war battles done by R. E. Lee.
than good sketches of Lee's best lieutenants.
Value is more in summaries of battles and commanders than in teaching one to be a leader
Nov 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
There's much you can learn from the past. I found the writing of the book to be a lot like a history class book... kind of dull, yet at the end of each chapter there were great lessons Lee learned from his life that you can apply to your own life.
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. It verified and intensified the high regard I have always had for Robert E. Lee. A truly great man. And the points made for us to follow in our own lives were very, very good.
David Robins
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical work on the indefatigable Lee's life and career, from West Point to the Mexican War, the War Between the States, and as President of what became Washington and Lee University, calling out in particular his personal leadership qualities. He epitomized the motto, "Vincit qui se vincit."
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
I learned a lot about the civil war. I guess I was a little naive about the issues of the war and thought it was pretty black and white. Needless to say I feel I have a better perspective and appreciation for what happened. Robert E. Lee was an incredible man and leader.
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Good overview of Lee's leadership. The author is a historian first and foremost, but the stories and principles give credence to the fact that character and integrity are the two essential traits of leaders.
Todd Harrison
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership
Great book on leadership and the character that is required to be a leader. Recommend for all people in any position of leadership.
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“Lee believed in the value of emulation, of learning from great men. As a soldier, he was a student of Napoleon. As an American, his hero was George Washington. And if we find Lee’s perfection daunting, we should remember that Lee himself attempted—as indeed every sincere Christian attempts—‘the imitation of Christ.” 0 likes
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