What makes a good and true leader—brute power and force? The ability to persuade? Simply holding an influential position? Joseph M. Marshall III, the renowned author of the bestselling The Lakota Way, says no. Reminding us that those who hold public office are first and foremost politicians, and that corporate bigwigs serve the bottom line, Marshall presents us with a different idea of leadership, one drawn from his own Lakota Sioux culture. “True leadership,” he informs us, “is only possible when character is more important than authority.”
Marshall III draws inspiration from three names that have resonated powerfully throughout history to develop his unique concept of leadership: Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and, especially Crazy Horse, whose fascinating life Marshall already chronicled in a biography that Publishers Weekly praised as “vivid and haunting.” Crazy Horse did not teach leadership; he simply demonstrated it, effectively and with compassion. Four factors stand out when looking at him as a leader, and they were the basis of his success:
Know yourself. Know your friends. Know the enemy. Lead the way. The Power of Four shows how and why these maxims—and this Native American philosophy of leadership—is not only applicable to today’s world, but desperately needed: why leadership by example is more powerful than authority; and why the selection of leaders also becomes one way of controlling those very same leaders. Marshall will open readers’ eyes and help them discover how to apply a new set of principles and actions to their own lives.
Historian Marshall (Keep Going) looks to the life and accomplishments of Lakota warrior Crazy Horse for lessons on leadership in this curious and ultimately disappointing book. Best known for his 1876 defeat of General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse was renowned for being the consummate Lakota leader: resolute in battle, courageous, magnanimous, generous to his people and conscious of the example he set. From the events of Crazy Horse's life, the author abstracts four principles of leadership: Know Yourself, Know Your Friends, Know Your Enemies and Take the Lead. While the biographical sections on Crazy Horse are tightly detailed, the personal development advice is fuzzy and unfocused. Marshall insists that anyone can and should become a leader, but his examples are almost all drawn from politics and provide few examples on how to guide families, workplaces and communities, thereby stressing the importance of choosing leaders wisely but neglecting to show readers how to grow into leadership themselves.