Excerpts from "On Leadership"
*The flawed or insufficient responses to the devastation in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina is a textbook example of a lack of leadership.
*Leadership is not indecision. It is not procrastination. It is not disorganization. It is not lack of preparation. Leaders are not missing in action. Leaders are visible and make decisions in emergencies with the information available.
*False leaders are everywhere during times of calm, and then are inept and indecisive in an emergency.
*To prevent future failures, past failures must be studied. Lessons learned must be implemented.
*A crisis frequently can test one's courage.
*The commitment to "Do your homework, have courage -- and don't give up" is vital to anyone seeing success.
*This advice is also important to leadership but success alone does not equal leadership.
*The cornerstones of success are homework, courage, and persistence, but leadership requires that and more: integrity, decisiveness, communication, and inspiration, to name only a few.
*A leader is defined as a fully informed and decisive person with integrity who advances courageously toward a goal, and is determined to overcome obstacles and setbacks along the way.
*Sometimes a crisis tests a leader's ability to decide without delay, and to act on that decision when action is called for.
Chapter 8 is entitled Communication and discusses effective writing and rhetorical devices for speech
Samples include Struck and White examples from Elements of Style: "Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects in outline, but that every word tell."
And rhetorical devices of appositives, parallel structure, and anaphora are presented with examples from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President John F. Kennedy, and President Ronald Reagan.
Some sample quotes from book:
"A man that seeks truth and loves it must be reckoned precious to any human society."
---Frederick the Great
"Whenever you commend, add your reasons for doing so; it is this which distinguishes the approbation of a man of sense from the flattery of sycophants and admiration of fools."
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
Excerpt from the Epilogue of book:
It is everyone's duty to evaluate candidates for public office and judge them for their potential for leadership, and then put apathy aside to vote on Election Day. We must pick individuals based on their honesty, conviction, and allegiance to the underpinnings of democracy and liberty. To do less is a violation of the trust and faith of those who died giving us our freedoms.
Judge candidates for elective office not only by their rhetoric but by their past actions. Ask candidates what their plans are for combating terrorism. Ask what their plans are for giving everyone access to quality medial care. Ask if the candidates are for a government run micromanaged medical system with rationing or for a system that expands insurance coverage through tax credits, consumer choice, and market enhancements. There is a clear difference in these two approaches and true leaders can defend with evidence the obvious choice for the best interests of the patients.
I believe Americans are disgusted and apathetic about the partisanship, patronage and scandals that continue to stifle progress in Congress. The behavior in the halls and chambers of Congress also does not reflect the Declaration of Independence's conclusion: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." It appears that many in Congress are not pledging their "Fortunes," but rather working hard to increase their own.
There is no excuse for more death and destruction, as we saw in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, because of what I believe to be inept leadership, faulty levee construction and inspections, and lack of preparation for flooding, despite a government mock hurricane two years before that showed what would likely happen. Amid the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, many stories have surfaced about the heroic rescuers and dedicated medical personnel who stayed behind to care for those trapped in hospitals. No doubt there are more stories to be told. These heroes demonstrated that leaders prepare and make timely decisions to save lives, even if all of the information is not available. To be unprepared when you are given the warning of the high likelihood of disaster is unacceptable. We should have zero toleration for such behavior. Leaders anticipate what could go wrong and are prepared for it. In the future, let's choose competence over politics.
...Heroes and leaders are everywhere. It's our duty to recognize them. This is the price of freedom. Freedom is not free...