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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Born in Harlem, raised in the Bronx, the son of immigrant parents, a Vietnam veteran, the recipient of many military and civilian awards, and one of our highest-ranking government officials, Colin Powell epitomizes the American ideal of the self-made individual. Several years ago, Oren Harari used his monthly column in Management Review to distill Powell's many speeches and ideas into 18 leadership principles that could enable any person, no matter how large or small their role in life, to further their quest for success. Passed from reader to reader, disseminated over the Internet, and eventually covered by The Wall Street Journal in a front-page story, Harari's article was an undisputed success -- and led to the creation of this engaging and informative book. While Harari was completing his manuscript, the devastating attacks of September 11th occurred, prompting him, after a period of grief, to revise his principles so that they could accommodate everything he learned while watching Powell assemble a diverse international coalition. The resulting book, therefore, contains a detailed expansion of the original journal article, as well as much new material gleaned from Powell's senior role in the global struggle to eliminate terrorism. If you're looking for leadership advice, you will appreciate the many sound and sometimes counterintuitive insights that Harari presents throughout this book.
If I had to choose a single word to suggest a common theme underlying all of the principles Harari has gathered, I would select "integrity." Whether encouraging people to "dis-organize" accepted procedures, insisting on accountability throughout all levels of an organization, or never failing to pay attention to the details, Powell emerges from this book as a leader who invests whatever he does with a deeply personal sense of integrity. Although this book isn't a paean to its subject (Harari does discuss the criticisms of Powell that have been recently advanced), it is an inspiring look at the ideas and habits of a man whose accomplishments are nothing short of amazing. (Sunil Sharma)