The man once named one of America’s ten “toughest” CEOs by Fortune magazine offers current and future leaders practical advice on how to make their companies and organizations more effective.
Throughout his distinguished career—as a naval aviator, a U.S. Congressman, a top aide to four American presidents, a high-level diplomat, a CEO of two Fortune 500 companies, and the only twice-serving Secretary of Defense in American history—Donald Rumsfeld has collected hundreds of pithy, compelling, and often humorous observations about leadership, business, and life. When President Gerald Ford ordered these aphorisms distributed to his White House staff in 1974, the collection became known as "Rumsfeld's Rules."
First gathered as three-by-five cards in a shoebox and then typed up and circulated informally over the years, these eminently nonpartisan rules have amused and enlightened presidents, business executives, chiefs of staff, foreign officials, diplomats, and members of Congress. They earned praise from the Wall Street Journal as "Required reading," and from the New York Times which said: "Rumsfeld's Rules can be profitably read in any organization…The best reading, though, are his sprightly tips on inoculating oneself against that dread White House disease, the inflated ego."
Distilled from a career of unusual breadth and accomplishment, and organized under practical topics like hiring people, running a meeting, and dealing with the press, Rumsfeld's Rules can benefit people at every stage in their careers and in every walk of life, from aspiring politicos and industrialists to recent college graduates, teachers, and business leaders.
To anyone who has followed Rumsfeld's long corporate and political career he first ran for the U.S. House in 1962, at age 29 it's not surprising that he begins a book on leadership with a nod to his humble beginnings. But that's pretty much where the humility ends. An inveterate namedropper, Rumsfeld has some impressive anecdotes to share from a lifetime of meetings with figures like Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin, and Henry Kissinger. However, to anyone not nearing pensioner age many of Rumsfeld's stories (about Alf Landon or even Chuck Percy) will feel like ancient history. Clearly, Rumsfeld knows his fields he served under four U.S. presidents and was CEO of two Fortune 500 companies but much of his advice is mundane or obscure. And when Rumsfeld starts flying the flag or sharing melodramatic anecdotes to prove his patriotism, he sounds more like an old man left to ruminate in the corner rather than an accomplished statesman. Readers interested in Rumsfeld's wisdom might start at the end with his "Rules" heavily drawn from a diverse cast of characters including Peter Drucker, Machiavelli, and Abraham Lincoln and decide if it's worth going back
Enjoyed his great mind and how it works!
Great lessons for anyone of nearly any age in any position. I felt coached while I read it. The modern history is a bonus in context around each rule.
No matter your opinion of Rumsfeld, the man has years of experience being and working with great leaders that is great to be able to learn from.
Rumsfeld 's Rules
This book ought to be required in upper level undergraduate management classes and required at MBA where the graduate understanding thar that graduate is the smartest in the room!