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Leaders
Cover of Leaders
Leaders
Myth and Reality
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An instant national bestseller!
Stanley McChrystal, the retired US Army general and bestselling author of Team of Teams, profiles thirteen of history's great leaders, including Walt Disney, Coco Chanel, and Robert E. Lee, to show that leadership is not what you think it is—and never was.

Stan McChrystal served for thirty-four years in the US Army, rising from a second lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division to a four-star general, in command of all American and coalition forces in Afghanistan. During those years he worked with countless leaders and pondered an ancient question: "What makes a leader great?" He came to realize that there is no simple answer.
McChrystal profiles thirteen famous leaders from a wide range of eras and fields—from corporate CEOs to politicians and revolutionaries. He uses their stories to explore how leadership works in practice and to challenge the myths that complicate our thinking about this critical topic.
With Plutarch's Lives as his model, McChrystal looks at paired sets of leaders who followed unconventional paths to success. For instance. . .
· Walt Disney and Coco Chanel built empires in very different ways. Both had public personas that sharply contrasted with how they lived in private.
· Maximilien Robespierre helped shape the French Revolution in the eighteenth century; Abu Musab al-Zarqawi led the jihadist insurgency in Iraq in the twenty-first. We can draw surprising lessons from them about motivation and persuasion.
· Both Boss Tweed in nineteenth-century New York and Margaret Thatcher in twentieth-century Britain followed unlikely roads to the top of powerful institutions.
· Martin Luther and his future namesake Martin Luther King Jr., both local clergymen, emerged from modest backgrounds to lead world-changing movements.

Finally, McChrystal explores how his former hero, General Robert E. Lee, could seemingly do everything right in his military career and yet lead the Confederate Army to a devastating defeat in the service of an immoral cause.
Leaders will help you take stock of your own leadership, whether you're part of a small team or responsible for an entire nation.
An instant national bestseller!
Stanley McChrystal, the retired US Army general and bestselling author of Team of Teams, profiles thirteen of history's great leaders, including Walt Disney, Coco Chanel, and Robert E. Lee, to show that leadership is not what you think it is—and never was.

Stan McChrystal served for thirty-four years in the US Army, rising from a second lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division to a four-star general, in command of all American and coalition forces in Afghanistan. During those years he worked with countless leaders and pondered an ancient question: "What makes a leader great?" He came to realize that there is no simple answer.
McChrystal profiles thirteen famous leaders from a wide range of eras and fields—from corporate CEOs to politicians and revolutionaries. He uses their stories to explore how leadership works in practice and to challenge the myths that complicate our thinking about this critical topic.
With Plutarch's Lives as his model, McChrystal looks at paired sets of leaders who followed unconventional paths to success. For instance. . .
· Walt Disney and Coco Chanel built empires in very different ways. Both had public personas that sharply contrasted with how they lived in private.
· Maximilien Robespierre helped shape the French Revolution in the eighteenth century; Abu Musab al-Zarqawi led the jihadist insurgency in Iraq in the twenty-first. We can draw surprising lessons from them about motivation and persuasion.
· Both Boss Tweed in nineteenth-century New York and Margaret Thatcher in twentieth-century Britain followed unlikely roads to the top of powerful institutions.
· Martin Luther and his future namesake Martin Luther King Jr., both local clergymen, emerged from modest backgrounds to lead world-changing movements.

Finally, McChrystal explores how his former hero, General Robert E. Lee, could seemingly do everything right in his military career and yet lead the Confederate Army to a devastating defeat in the service of an immoral cause.
Leaders will help you take stock of your own leadership, whether you're part of a small team or responsible for an entire nation.
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  • From the cover

    One

    The Mythology

    Things are not always as they seem;

    the first appearance deceives many.

    -phaedrus, roman poet, ca. 15 bce-50 ce

    In 49 BCE, with the dramatic proclamation "The die is cast," Julius Caesar made the fateful decision to cross the Rubicon River at the head of his 13th Legion. The crossing of the Rubicon was momentous because the river demarcated the boundary between Italy and the province of Gaul to the north, where Caesar was serving as governor. Suspicious of his growing power, the Senate had ordered him to disband his army and return to Rome. But Caesar, defying the Senate, decided to return not in submission but in rebellion, marching on Rome with his legion. By crossing into Italian territory with an army, Caesar had irrevocably made himself a traitor.

    For all it's, Caesar's river crossing was a relatively modest affair in which the future ruler and his legionnaires merely waded across a shin-deep stream. Nonetheless, this act put him in irreconcilable opposition to Rome's Senate, making the expression "crossing the Rubicon" forever synonymous with passing a point of no return.

    The story about how Caesar and his legion marched on Rome survived on the parchment of the Lives, a series of profiles of famous men recorded by the Greek biographer Plutarch. Plutarch also recorded that the Senate-five years later-"in the hope that the government of a single person would give them time to breathe after so many civil wars and calamities," made Caesar "dictator for life." And yet within two months he was assassinated, the knives wielded by many of those same senators. As Plutarch explains, Caesar's "pretension" and the "extravagance" of his new title had motivated the group, including Caesar's close friend Marcus Junius Brutus, to conspire against him.

    Today, those of us who know Julius Caesar's story most likely learned it not from reading Plutarch, but from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. In the bard's telling of the assassination, Caesar struggles until he sees Brutus among the attackers and realizes the depth of his betrayal. Famously, his dying utterance is the poignant "Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar!"

    Almost two millennia later, another General would become famous by crossing a river. Unlike the modest Rubicon, the Delaware could not be crossed by wading, so George Washington had no choice but to cross by boat, a scene memorialized in Washington Crossing the Delaware, one of AmericaÕs most recognizable paintings. On a canvas measuring over twenty-one feet wide, Emanuel Leutze captured the daring of AmericaÕs founding father and first president.

    The parallels between Caesar and Washington go beyond the rivers they crossed as generals. Just as Caesar's final phase of leadership was reenacted by Shakespeare through the rhythm of iambic pentameter, the final act of Washington's leadership was depicted by the playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, who four centuries later chose hip-hop as the rhythm to dramatize Washington's retirement in his theatrical story of Alexander Hamilton. And where Shakespeare had turned to Plutarch's Lives, Miranda found his inspiration within the pages of Ron Chernow's biography Alexander Hamilton.

    The musical closes with the rap song "One Last Time," in which George Washington's 1796 decision to step down after his second term is met by a disbelieving Hamilton:

    Hamilton: Why do you have to say goodbye?

    Washington: If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on.

    It outlives me when I'm gone.

    Miranda said later that he sought...

About the Author-
  • STANLEY McCHRYSTAL retired from the US Army as a four-star general after thirty-four years of service. His previous books, My Share of the Task and Team of Teams, were both New York Times bestsellers. He is a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a partner at the McChrystal Group, a leadership consulting firm based in Virginia.

    JEFF EGGERS served for twenty years as a US Navy SEAL and also in government as a special assistant to the president for National Security Affairs. He is now executive director of the McChrystal Group Leadership Institute.

    JASON MANGONE served for four years in the US Marine Corps, followed by positions at the Aspen Institute, the Service Year Alliance, and the New York City Department of Veterans' Services.
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Myth and Reality
Stanley Mcchrystal
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