Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Review

I recently finished Building Leaders the West Point Way by Retired Major General Joseph P. Franklin. I will just come out and say it: it is hard to get past the fact that the guy is full of himself.  But if you can look past the lapses of humility, you just might go through an entire highlighter... I know I did.  There are some real pearls in this volume, no question about it.  In fact, the chapter on honor is worth the price of the book alone.
Talking about honor Franklin write: "Think about it: in order to live a life with meaning and purpose... you have to acknowledge and accept that you are not the center of the universe." (p 39)
In his masterful chapter on duty, the author states: "Warfare changed, people changed, the world changed, and culture changed.  But [West Point] didn't.  That was a huge mistake."
Though not his intent, Franklin offers the church a well thought out rational for discipleship in his chapter on courage: "War is terrifying, gruesome business, and no one walks through it unscathed.  But I found that the training I had received gave me the tools to act when and how I needed to."
All in all, this is an outstanding work.  Franklin tackles ten characteristics / traits of an effective leader:
  1. Duty
  2. Honor
  3. Faith
  4. Courage
  5. Perseverance
  6. Confidence
  7. Approachability
  8. Adaptability
  9. Compassion
  10. Vision
I would not be doing you justice if I did not bring to your attention what Franklin constantly reinforces... these ten characteristics are not independent.  They, much like the military he serves, are very much INTERDEPENDENT. 
Having said all that, I would recommend this book to anyone who has any influence over people.  You might be thinking, "I have influence over people...".  Great!  I'll see you at the bookstore.

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