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Leadership LessonsFrom General Ulysses S. Grant

July 10, 2011

Cigars, Whiskey and Winning: Leadership Lessons from U.S. Grant by Al Kaltman (1998, Prentice Hall) follows in a long line of leadership books that draw leadership principles from famous people including Atilla The Hun, Abraham Lincoln,Walt Disney, Santa Claus, Shakespeare, Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer and Winnie The Poo. What makes this book unique is not the concept but the specific application of a common idea. The author has carefully culled Grant’s autobiography, The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant (1884) and selected 250 individule “lessons in leadersip” most not exceding a page. Each lesson is numbered and titled. Then a short paragraph is presented to set the quotation of the memoir in context to what was happening in the Civil War at the time, followed by the approperate quote. The lesson is then presented as a short application to a buisness context. The book closes with an assesment of Grant’s presidency set up to reveal how Grant the President ignored the lessons learned by Grant the General which caused great failures in his administration
I found the book very enjoyable and easy to read. I don’t thinkI learned any specific new leadership principles but found the review of Civil War history as illustrations of the lessons really fun. It is not intentionaly a “Christian Book” or focused on ministry applications but I found much that could be utalized in that context. This would be a great book for a Civil War buff or someone who could naturaly use that period of US history to teach leadership or someone for whom historical illustrations of leadership principles would be memorable to their audience.

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