[August 11, 2016] Summer with its oppressive heat and humidity is upon us here in the Northeast in full force. American inventor Willis Carrier is given credit for large-scale electrical air conditioning and I am very grateful. With my wife and I reconditioning our home in Brooklyn plus the heat of summer has taken some intellectual energy out of me. But I believe that I found two good books, recently published, for those interested in leadership.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth, 2016
This books is right down my lane of thinking so, of course, I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it. The theme of author Duckworth’s book is that the secret to success (not really a secret) and high achievement is through a special blend of passion and persistence – which she calls “grit.” She tells us that success does not come from having talent, intelligence, or luck but from those who can stick it out through their ability to endure. I liked her use of first-year West Point cadets as they struggled through their first days at the academy. She also uses other great examples that drive home the point that grit has the ultimate value in success. Highly recommended.
The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe, Heather MacDonald, 2016.
Leadership means being able to recognize trends among the clutter of information available. Author MacDonald was one of the first to recognize and write about how police officers have been backing off proactive policing and why. She credits the “Ferguson effect” – the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri – where the police are part of a narrative that they are racists and out to kill blacks. The War on Cops book is an attempt to apply logic and facts to an emotional issue and she explains what the race-based attacks on the criminal justice system are doing to increase violent crime. Thomas Sowell in his review of MacDonald’s book said that “This is a book than can save lives.” I found the book persuasive in every aspect but I would have liked better footnotes. Highly recommended for those interested in what leaders are doing and not doing to make the country safe from crime.
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