Reading List (Update)

By | August 8, 2014

[August 08, 2014] A good friend and military veteran passed along a book reference he thought I might like. Most of the books on senior leaders I’ve read or at least heard about but this one somehow got pass me. The book by Edgar Puryear is about four famous generals: Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall, and Patton. I have not finished the book quite yet but I wanted to get it on my list fast because I’m already very pleased with the senior leader lessons.

Nineteen Stars: A Study in Military Character and Leadership. Edgar Puryear, 2003

Edgar Puryear’s book is not a biography. We’ve all read biographies and each has fascinating information that helps us understand the person. This book is about character and how it influences decision-making at the senior leader level. The target audience for the book, in my opinion, is junior and mid-grade military officers but anyone interested in either decision-making or senior leadership will gain insights from the book. The reason it is called Nineteen Stars is because all four men made 5-Star General of the Army rank, except Patton. Looking for patterns of great leadership we find three things each had in common: 1) they took blame on themselves for failures and gave credit to others for successes, 2) they all shared a devout belief in God, and 3) they were apolitical as they never outwardly discussed politics. Interestingly, each one of these generals would likely have never made it past the rank of a junior officer in today’s military. A major lesson from this book is that character is everything.

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