Rumsfeld's Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life

Rumsfeld's Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life

by Donald Rumsfeld

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The man once named one of America’s ten “toughest” CEOs by Fortune magazine offers current and future leaders practical advice on how to make their companies and organizations more effective.

Throughout his distinguished career—as a naval aviator, a U.S. Congressman, a top aide to four American presidents, a high-level diplomat, a CEO of two Fortune 500 companies, and the only twice-serving Secretary of Defense in American history—Donald Rumsfeld has collected hundreds of pithy, compelling, and often humorous observations about leadership, business, and life. When President Gerald Ford ordered these aphorisms distributed to his White House staff in 1974, the collection became known as "Rumsfeld's Rules."

First gathered as three-by-five cards in a shoebox and then typed up and circulated informally over the years, these eminently nonpartisan rules have amused and enlightened presidents, business executives, chiefs of staff, foreign officials, diplomats, and members of Congress.  They earned praise from the Wall Street Journal as "Required reading," and from the New York Times which said: "Rumsfeld's Rules can be profitably read in any organization…The best reading, though, are his sprightly tips on inoculating oneself against that dread White House disease, the inflated ego."

Distilled from a career of unusual breadth and accomplishment, and organized under practical topics like hiring people, running a meeting, and dealing with the press, Rumsfeld's Rules can benefit people at every stage in their careers and in every walk of life, from aspiring politicos and industrialists to recent college graduates, teachers, and business leaders.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062272874
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/14/2013
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 126,342
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Donald Rumsfeld has been an American government official and corporate executive. Rumsfeld served as CEO as two Fortune 500 companies and as the thirteenth and twenty-first Secretary of Defense.

Read an Excerpt


Many of these rules, reflections, and quotations came from my role as chairman of the "transition team" for President Gerald R. Ford and my service as White House chief of staff. Others came from experiences as a U.S. naval aviator, a member of Congress, ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), secretary of defense, presidential Middle East envoy, business executive, chairman of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Threat Commission, and other life experiences.

These reflections and quotations have been discovered, developed, and gathered over the past forty years. Credit is given where it is known. If readers know the origin of any of the Rules, please write the publisher, so that any future editions can be as inclusive as possible. As the anonymous quotation has it, "If it's not true, it's still well founded."

Copyright © 2002 by Donald Rumsfeld

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Benefits of Borrowed Wisdom ix

Chapter 1 Starting at the Bottom 1

Chapter 2 Running a Meeting 21

Chapter 3 Picking People 41

Chapter 4 Thinking Strategically 65

Chapter 5 Planning for Uncertainty 89

Chapter 6 The Unknown Unknowns 109

Chapter 7 Confronting Crisis 125

Chapter 8 Meeting the Press 145

Chapter 9 What Wrestling Can Teach 169

Chapter 10 Battling Bureaucracy 181

Chapter 11 Lessons from the World's Most Successful-Leadership Organization 211

Chapter 12 Inside the Oval Office 237

Chapter 13 The Case for Capitalism 261

Chapter 14 The Optimism of Will 281

Acknowledgments 295

Appendix A Rumsfeld's Timeline 297

Appendix B Rumsfeld's Rules (Unabridged) 299

Notes 333

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Rumsfeld's Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
dissocme More than 1 year ago
Just heard him on the Laura Ingraham show and can't wait to read it. I truly admire this talented, intelligent, honest and capable man. Prayers for him gladly offered, as well.
Roderick52 More than 1 year ago
I am a retired leader with 33-years of experience and a teacher of leadership. I feel that Rumsfeld's Rules is a must read for established and aspiring leaders at all levels. Don Rumsfeld has done a masterful job of explaining a complex topic in simple terms.
jdbrowning More than 1 year ago
All great men or people of power have a way of getting there. This book shows that each and every one of us has a set of standards and sayings that move us to greater and higher heights. This is a truly inspirational book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For all the young people who died needlessly because of this man's policies, advice & deceit, I cannot condone him making a single penny from the sale of this book.