THE EXPERIENCE OF LEADERSHIP

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As a former quarterback for the United States Naval Academy’s football team, a naval officer, and a thriving entrepreneur, Stuvek epitomizes success. In this work, he moves “beyond inspiration” and the fluff delivered by many books in the self-help genre and instead focuses on “the nitty-gritty details of how to obtain the experience and skills that great leaders display.” Each of the manual’s 15 core chapters presents a first-person narrative written by a man or woman who has excelled in a field and who uses personal anecdotes to illuminate particular leadership traits. Given the author’s background, it is not surprising that many of the chapters are written by veterans whose leadership skills stand out given the life-and-death nature of their decisions, the military’s emphasis on teamwork, and their “ability to adapt and change as circumstances change.” Albert M. Calland III, who spent three decades as a Navy SEAL prior to his appointment as deputy director of the CIA, writes a particularly illuminating chapter that provides behind-the-scenes stories and lessons learned from the “war on terror.” Business and education figures are also well represented, including entrepreneur Jackie Freedman and former Arizona State University engineering professor Jacob Kashiwagi, who reminds readers that there is no single model of leadership. The book concludes with a chapter by Stuvek that supplies useful tips on how would-be leaders can motivate young people, whose upbringings may not resonate with the management styles of previous generations. Replete with intriguing success stories, useful acronyms, and practical tips, this is an uplifting yet pragmatic book. Though the volume is written in an apolitical style, some readers may be put off by its disproportionate emphasis on military and business leaders and its inclusion of several of President George W. Bush’s appointees and members of right-wing organizations like the Rumsfeld Foundation. Still, the guide’s contributors are diverse regarding gender and race.

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