Following his BusinessWeek bestsellers Elizabeth I, CEO and Patton on Leadership comes a new and perfect subject for Alan Axelrod’s innovative format: Winston Churchill, the quintessential leader of the 20th century.
Churchill skillfully converted crisis into victory, making the boldest of visions seem attainable; even though he sometimes failed audaciously, he embraced his errors and used them to become stronger. Axelrod looks at this much-studied figure in a way nobody has before: he explores 25 key facets of Churchill’s leadership style and decision-making from his early years as a junior cavalry officer and journalist to his role throughout WWII and demonstrates how he was able to overcome near-impossible obstacles. Fluidly and engagingly written, each lesson is enlivened with a vivid vignette from Churchill’s life. As always, Axelrod’s penetrating analysis will instruct, inspire, and encourage those who lead business enterprises, large and small.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Leader's Life 1
1 Always Savor the Thrill 27
"Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result."
2 Engage the Realities 35
"I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact."
3 Define Your Destiny 41
"It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic."
4 Fail and Learn 53
"You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true, and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world."
5 The Job: Do It 65
"The maxim of the British people is 'Business as usual.' "
6 See for Yourself 73
"Change is the master key. A man can wear out a particular part of his mind by continually using it and tiring it, just in the same way as he can wear out the elbows of his coat."
7 Be Just 79
"One ought to be just before one is generous."
8 Draw a Line 85
"We would rather see London laid in ruins and ashes than that it should be tamely and abjectly enslaved."
9 Never Wear Another Man's Hat 95
"Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty-never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense."
10 Speak Truth to Power 105
"The flying peril is not a peril from which one can fly. We cannot possibly retreat. We cannot move London."
11 Navigate by Your Own Compass 119
"Nothing is more dangerous ... than to live in the temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup Poll, always feeling one's pulse and taking one's temperature."
12 Reject the Tyrant's Bargain 131
"Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry."
13 AcceptUncertainty 137
"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
14 Offer the Privilege of Sacrifice 143
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."
15 Make Good Use of Adversity 155
"There are men in the world who derive as stern an exaltation from the proximity of disaster and ruin, as others from success."
16 Put Threats in Their Place 169
"We are waiting for the long-promised invasion. So are the fishes."
17 Put the Highest Value on Rock Bottom 179
"The British nation is unique in this respect. They are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst."
18 Practice the Craft of Conscience 189
"Let us ... so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: 'This was their finest hour.' "
19 Defy Them 195
"You do your worst-and we will do our best."
20 Greet Hardship as Opportunity 207
"Do not let us speak of darker days; let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days: these are great days-the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed ... to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race."
21 Provide Perspective, Create Priorities 213
"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
22 Be Indomitable 219
"The V sign is the symbol of unconquerable will."
23 Gather Good Partners 229
"At last-we've gotten together."-Franklin D. Roosevelt, welcoming Churchill aboard USS Augusta, August 9, 1941 "We have,"-Churchill (nodding), in reply
24 Suit the Tune to the Time and the Place 243
"The message of the sunset is sadness; the message of the dawn is hope."
25 Win 253
"Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Found it to be just average. Many of the stories and anecdotes about Churchill were repeated in different chapters.
This short, easy to read biography/leadership insights book about Winston Churchill is worth reading to see what drove this resilient and powerful leader. The trials and tribulations that lead him to be the World War II leader with whom most people are familiar may surprise many. The lesson of 10,000 repetitions is applicable to almost every area of life.