Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Review: A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A gripping tale. First off, for all the criticism that he's getting; Comey's physical description of Trump is worth less than a page out of 293 pages. If one is so offended by it, one can ignore it. Trump himself is mentioned only after Chapter 12. No doubt he might be the reason Comey wrote the book, but it's a story worth hearing and Comey sets the stage to show that his stand with Trump is not new for him and that he engaged in similar tussles with previous presidents (albeit on a whole other level)

Also, I didn't see the book as Comey tooting his own horn. I saw the narrative as a man trying to remember leaders in his life and narrate what he's learnt from them. He doesn't come off as high-handed either. His story is well told, and makes for interesting reading not just for Americans but for anybody. As for Trump, I'm not American and so it's not my place to comment on American politics.

Coming to leadership lessons; Comey's not saying anything new. Ethical leaders need to respect individual dignity, ethical leaders teach by setting examples, ethical leaders give space to learn by allowing mistakes and so on and so forth. But the difference is that Comey talks about these "fundas" through real-life scenarios. You see the practical impacts of things done right and things done wrong. And you can relate to all the incidents. Because all of us in our careers have worked with such leaders. We've come across good leaders and we've come across bad leaders. Just like Comey. We've made mistakes and learnt from them because good leaders have protected us but taught us; and we've been bullied by bad leaders who've second-guessed and under-cut us. And that's what makes this book such a good read. As a normal guy trying to do the right thing, you can relate to Comey's experiences.

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