"General McChrystal is a legendary warrior with a fine eye for enduring lessons about leadership, courage, and consequence." —Tom Brokaw
General Stanley McChrystal is widely admired for his hunger to know the truth, his courage to find it, and his humility to listen to those around him. Even as the commanding officer of all U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, he stationed himself forward and frequently went on patrols with his troops to experience their challenges firsthand. In this illuminating New York Times bestseller, McChrystal frankly explores the major episodes and controversies of his career. He describes the many outstanding leaders he served with and the handful of bad leaders he learned not to emulate. And he paints a vivid portrait of how the military establishment turned itself, in one generation, into the adaptive, resilient force that would soon be tested in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the wider War on Terror.
"A compelling account of his impressive career." -The Wall Street Journal '
"This is a brilliant book about leadership wrapped inside a fascinating personal narrative." -Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs
Stanley McChrystal retired in July 2010 as a four-star general in the U.S. Army. His last assignment was as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force and as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He is currently a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and cofounder of the McChrystal Group, a leadership consulting firm. He and his wife, Annie, live in Virginia.
Retired four-star general McChrystal provides a candid look back across his nearly four decade-long career, musing on leadership and immersing the reader in wartime missions. Raised in an Army family, he began as a West Point cadet, followed that with Ranger school, and, after ascending the Army ranks, was deployed for Pentagon postings in Iraq and Afghanistan. McChrystal describes his experiences and senior-level leadership challenges (he was Joint Special Operations Command counterterrorism task force commander in Iraq and NATO commander in Afghanistan), offers thoughtful, historical context and objectives for Iraq and Afghanistan, and details his relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Aided by maps and photographs, his clear, intelligent narrative balances a vast amount of information and detailed explanation, as in his firsthand, seat-of-the-pants account of tracking, surveilling, and eliminating Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. There were personal and military failings: he discusses his "antics" at West Point; the Pat Tillman friendly fire controversy; Abu Ghraib and abuse of Iraqi detainees ("There were lapses in discipline, but they were never tolerated. Never a wink and a nod."); media leaks; and the Rolling Stone article that led to his resignation. Engaging and humble throughout, McChrystal raises the bar for his peers.
Good insight into leadership
The general writes about his experiences and views on leadership. It helps to know something about him first in my opinion. My son was his rescue operations briefer in Balad, Iraq and in Afghanistan. He watched the general on 3 or 4 deployments and was impressed by his constant leadership and considered the general a warrior's warrior. The general's physical ability to go on a Seal mission in the Afghan mountains, after Redwing, to illustrate his confidence in the Seals when his other operators felt the Seals were less than; is a good example of a four star going on a combat patrol to bolster the morale of his troops by direct, hands on, action. Perhaps his legacy will be his ability to organize the very best to help him, just by telling them they were needed.
My share of the task
This is a must read for those the least bit interested in America's wars and soldiers of the last 10 years. Some may say this is fiction--they don't have a clue. A lot of humility and personal pain exhibited in the book and a unique view of events and people. Gen. McChrystal is a gentleman and an American hero that led from out front.
West Point Idolotry
Anyone who has been around West Pointers in the Army know they often do not have the pulse of the average force which is enlisted guys with three kids just trying to make a buck. The ego driven West Pointers often have no frame of reference during their military careers as they went from West Point 18 year old to 4 star. No civilian experience, no idea what humanity is about. West Pointers are often mocked and hated in the military because there is a lot of pomp and circumstance. No doubt McChrystal is a fine leader but how much of it is veneer and politicking? Most generals go on and on about morals and just annoy everyone