"A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership" is a very readable memoir of events that molded James Coney's views on leadership, public service, and"A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership" is a very readable memoir of events that molded James Coney's views on leadership, public service, and ethics. A confrontation with an armed robber as a teenager sparked his interest in justice. Studying the works of the philosopher and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr made him reflect on how he could make a difference, and he applied to law school. He writes about working as an assistant US attorney on cases involving the Mafia, the prosecution of Martha Stewart for insider trading, and other memorable cases. During the George W Bush administration after 9/11 he was one of the attorneys that refused to reauthorize certain surveillance techniques and torturing since the government was on shaky legal ground.
Comey was the director of the FBI during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and details his reasoning for making statements about it so close to the 2016 election. The investigation had been reopened when emails were found on a laptop belonging to Clinton's aide, Huma Abedin, and her husband. However Comey did not make any statements about the Russians who were trying to help Donald Trump by influencing the election. Even if one does not agree with his reasoning, it's interesting to read Comey's explanation.
Comey compared President Trump to a Mafia boss who demanded total loyalty and complete control of a situation. Comey told Trump he could only promise honesty. Trump did not seem to grasp the idea that Justice, including the FBI, works independently from the President.
The title of the book refers to a higher loyalty--to do what is best for the country and to rise above partisanship. Comey writes about the leadership styles of people he has worked with over the years, emphasizing the need for strong ethics. Some people are wondering if the new norm is constant lying and partisanship. Comey is optimistic that there will be a swing back from the present situation as people get fired up and demand a higher loyalty and ethical leadership. I wish I could share his optimism, but I enjoyed his thoughts on the subject....more
Benjamin Franklin has been mythologized as "the hardworking self-made businessman" and "the man who personifies the American dream". Franklin raised hBenjamin Franklin has been mythologized as "the hardworking self-made businessman" and "the man who personifies the American dream". Franklin raised himself up from a position as a printer's apprentice to be a successful businessman, journalist, scientist, philosopher, philanthropist, and statesman.
Gordon S. Wood's book highlights important events in Franklin's life that show how the young man dreamed of being a respectable gentleman someday. Franklin was happiest in upper class European society in London and Paris in his later life. His mission as a diplomat in France during the Revolutionary War was perhaps his greatest contribution to the American cause. His considerable charm and intelligence was important in obtaining millions in loans from France to finance the fight of the patriots. At his death Franklin was mourned by the French while Americans, caught up in conflicting ideas about their new country, mostly ignored the event. When Franklin's "Autobiography" was published after his death, he was upheld as a model for young American men to work hard to succeed in the land of opportunity.
"The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin" is not a traditional biography since it focuses on certain events and choices that shaped Franklin's thinking and stature in society. The book is engaging, interesting, and witty like Franklin himself. It gave me greater appreciation for the political leaders in those turbulent times of the 18th Century....more
"The Thirty-Nine Steps" is a classic "innocent man on the run" adventure. Richard Hanney is housing his neighbor who is being followed by an anarchist"The Thirty-Nine Steps" is a classic "innocent man on the run" adventure. Richard Hanney is housing his neighbor who is being followed by an anarchist gang called Black Stone. It's 1914 and the German gang is trying to steal British military plans. When Hanney returns to his flat, he finds the neighbor with a knife in his chest.
Hanney feels that he will be arrested for the murder so he takes off to Scotland. He's being hunted down by both the police and the Black Stone gang. Hanney can talk his way out of bad situations, and is a master of disguising himself as part of the working class. The short book is an action-packed adventure that keeps one turning the pages. The story is also full of lucky coincidences and improbable situations. It's a thriller with a patriotic, energetic hero, evil villains, and lots of Scottish local color....more