The 5 Essential People Skills – Dale Carnegie Training

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  The 5 Essential People Skills – Dale Carnegie Training

Synopsis of Content:

This book got is start as training material for a Dale Carnegie course and has since been made available to all of us. The book focuses on basic interpersonal skills needed in all areas of life and especially to be successful in business. The five essential skills covered include rapport building, curiosity, communication, ambition, and conflict resolution.

These fundamental skills are discussed in terms of assertiveness, rapport building, curiosity and understanding in business, persuading others, asking questions skillfully, assertive skills for listening, and speaking and ambition. All of the skills mentioned are framed within the context of the proper level of assertiveness needed to be effective. There is also an excellent chapter on business etiquette.

The book addresses many aspects of how each specific skill should be used. It focuses on Carnegie’s teaching that we can be most effective by being indirect and helpful rather than insulting others.

This book is dense. It contains a mountain of information that a casual read-through may not catch. It is a book that should be studied, not just read.

What I found useful about this book:

The book is easy to follow and full of detail about all aspects of each skill discussed. Real life applications and examples are provided.

What I did not like about this book:

I do not have much to criticize here. The book is instructional in nature so can be a bit dry at times.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book reads rather like an instructive textbook but is well written, clear and well organized. Skill development is broken down into steps for the reader to follow whether one is in need of the most basic development or more advanced skill building.

Notes on Author:

Much but not all of the content was written by Dale Carnegie. Some portions refer to Carnegie and quote him thus written by someone else. The book was used as an instructional text by Dale Carnegie and Associates, Inc. and adapted for publication to the general public.

Dale Carnegie was a giant in the self-improvement industry during the 20thcentury. He became a household name with the publication of his best known work, How to Win Friends and Influence People published in 1936. He launched  career as a writer and trainer and in the 1950s his Dale Carnegie Training programs spread throughout the nation. Though Carnegie died in 1955 his programs have continued and grown significantly to the present time.

Related Website:

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Influencing others is accomplished through building rapport with them.
  1. Assertive curiosity is crucial to finding opportunities and being creative.
  1. Using proper business etiquette helps you be more effective with other people promotes a cooperative and friendly work environment.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: The 5 Essential People Skills – Dale Carnegie Training

Copyright holder: Original Edition ©2004 by Nightingale-Conant. Text edition ©2009 by Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc.

Publisher: Simon and Schuster (Fireside)

Get the Book:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.

Humility is a Choice

“HUMILITY IS A CHOICE. When you meet a humble person you know you will be accepted, respected and listened to. They won’t try to manipulate you, control you, criticize you or try to impress you. They are safe.

“When we haven’t conquered our pride putting on false humility might seem like the shortcut to the benefits of being a truly humble person. We’ve all met these kinds of people. False humility is nothing but arrogance.” (Leading Blog, April 28, 2017)

Genuine humility is important as a leadership attribute. Nothing alienates others more quickly than arrogance. But false humility is also alienating and can be viewed as a form or arrogance. Pat Williams, author and senior VP of the NBA’s Orlando Magic writes about false humility and genuine humility in his book, Humility: The Secret Ingredient of Success. He identifies four ways to avoid false humility:

  1. Reflect on the kind of person you are and be the person you want to be.
  2. Ask a few trusted friends to be brutally honest with you.
  3. Immediately and humbly admit your faults and failures.
  4. Be honestly humble and humbly honest.

We all have egos and it can be difficult at times to tame those egos and be genuinely humble. Yet it is a powerful quality that we can all benefit from cultivating.

Read the entire blog post here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.

Compelling People – The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  Compelling People – The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut

Originally published: Book of the Month: #18 August 2014.

Synopsis of Content:

This book is a study of how we influence others and how effective we can be in doing so. The authors cite large numbers of psychological studies to support their conclusions and add in their own experiences with people they’ve worked with.

The authors divide all of our abilities to influence others into two categories: strength and warmth. Ideally we should balance both and use both in generous amounts.

They discuss the “hand we are dealt” – the actual attributes we have in warmth and strength as well as general perceptions about those qualities in people with our given traits: gender, ethnicity, age, etc.

Despite the hand we have been dealt the authors make the case for our ability to change what we know and do and to enhance our ability to influence others by strengthening our warmth and our strength and by maintaining an ideal balance.

They then apply these concepts to specific areas of human conduct: leadership, public speaking, politics, and more.

What I found useful about this book:

While this is not a scientific book there is a significant reliance on social science to bolster the authors’ conclusions. There is no discussion of the validity of the studies they cite but they are not making this stuff up as they go. The social science provides a depth of insight and some credibility.

The book is full of insights, some expected and some surprising. Anyone who wants to have any influence over others (and all but a hermit likely fall in that category) can learn a lot about what enhances influence and what does not.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

While not a scientific tract this is an academic work and can be a bit plodding. It is well written however and is an enjoyable read over all.

Notes on Authors:

John Neffinger graduated from Harvard and Columbia law school and practiced law. He served as Director of Communications for the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. As a consultant he has advised politicians and business leaders around the world.

Matthew Kohut is managing partner at KNP Communications. He has a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He advises and coaches leaders in business and government. He has been a speech writer.

Both Neffinger and Kohut write for the Huffington Post.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Both strength and warmth as perceived by an audience govern how influential a person will be. Both qualities are essential to gain a listener’s confidence and trust. Confidence and trust are essential to influence.
  1. Ideally one must master a balance with a high level of both warmth and strength to be the most influential. The most influential people have learned to blend these traits.
  1. Both warmth and strength must be genuine. People generally have a strong sense to detect phoniness and will not connect with a person or be influenced unless those qualities are perceived as genuine.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Compelling People – The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut

Copyright holder: John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut 2013

Publisher: Hudson Street Press, Penguin Group, New York

Buy the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.

Compassionate Accountability

In April the Leadership Now blog posted an article on a book by Nate Regier called Conflict Without Casualties. Regier believes that conflict consumes far too much of our time, energy and money and needs to be managed more effectively. His focus is on conflict throughout the world. He offers some intriguing ideas.

Regier’s argument is that we should practice what he calls “compassionate accountability” to resolve conflict in ways that cause the least damage at the least cost. This approach resists the “I gotta win” drama that characterizes most conflict. This drama focuses our energy on self-justification which is contrary to resolving conflict.

“To be compassionate is to struggle alongside with others; to struggle with instead of against. “Compassion is the result of people taking ownership of their feelings, thoughts and behaviors, and choosing to spend the energy of conflict pursuing effective solutions that preserve the dignity of all involved. Compassion is more than care and concern for others. It’s about the willingness to get in the trenches and struggle together as an equal with others.””

Regier says that his approach to conflict depends on three skills: Openness, Resourcefulness and Persistence. He then outlines how to use these skills to promote a compassionate and constructive resolution of conflict. He argues that a failure to use these skills sets up a self-defeating cycle that Steven Karpman has identified as the “drama triangle”.

“Regier writes: “Drama inevitably pushes us into corners, where we cling to distorted worldviews that compel us to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Compassion, on the other hand, keeps us moving, searching, nimble, effective, and capable of adapting to change.” It also keep us from being mired inside our own head and thus limiting our responses and our ability to reframe the conflict. We get stuck.”

What is missing from this discussion is the role that emotion plays in this cycle. If people could remain objective and act outside of their emotional limitations use of these skills would be easier. People in conflict are typically emotionally involved. Emotions including fear, jealousy, and anger among others interfere with our ability to be objective and to use the skills Regier suggests.

Emotion does not necessarily mean that we cannot benefit from using the skills that Regier teaches. If we can get beyond our emotional responses and use these skills we could be much more effective at resolving conflict. This does require a level of maturity and self-confidence that many people do not have however and conflict often is a result of that very problem.

Learning and applying these skills to positively resolve conflict can be very useful if we can get beyond the limitations that emotions and immaturity often impose on our responses. This is an intriguing idea and one we would all benefit from developing. People do not behave mechanically though and the emotional responses that affect our behavior in conflict remain an obstacle, especially in very high conflict situations.

Read the entire blog post from Leading Blog here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.

What Can We Learn from WWI?

San Diego Air and Space Museum

One hundred years ago one of the greatest wars in human history was killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians and laying desolation to much of Europe. WWI as it is now called was the first total war on a grand scale. Today’s analysis of that war is a study in failed leadership in many if not all the participants.

James Strock created an excellent blog post on the leadership lessons we can gain from this awful war. They are mostly lessons in leadership failure. It reads like a list of what not to do as a leader. Strock identifies 13 lessons we should learn from this war. While these lessons have great import in the world of international relations and diplomacy, they can also be applied to our personal lives.

  • Leadership is important – good leadership skills are important whether you are the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom ore president of your local service club. Historical analysis of the causes of WWI almost all point to the failures in leadership that contributed to this disaster. To influence and lead others in a positive way we must all develop good leadership abilities.
  • Shared interest can be overcome by other considerations. We like to think that if we share common goals or principles with others that conflict is lessened. They thought that in 1914 as well when Europe was culturally and economically linked. Shared interests can promote good will and peaceful resolution of differences but it never guarantees those things. Good leaders must recognize this and act accordingly.
  • Leaders must take care of themselves and maintain good health. Many of the most influential leaders at the beginning of WWI were either physically, psychologically or in both ways weak or sickly. Strong and effective leaders must be healthy and well adjusted.
  • What has worked in the past may not work in the future. The world is constantly changing. It was changing in 1914 but is changing much more rapidly today. Effective leaders must understand this change and manage it. They cannot rely on “the way we’ve always done this”.
  • Management failures can lead to greater over all failures. Good leaders must know how to manage well.

There is much more to Strock’s 13 principles. Many of them apply more directly to national and international activities. But we can learn from them and apply many of them to our lives to avoid the kind of mistakes that led to the Great War.

To learn more about the 13 principles and the lessons of WWI see James Strock’s blog article.

Learn how you can achieve more and realize your goals as well as lessons in leadership in my book, The Success Essentials.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.

The 1 Percent Rule

James Clear recently wrote about why a few people get most of the rewards. He referenced the one percent rule first identified and written about by Vilfredo Pareto. This is also called the Pareto Principle.

Pareto was an Italian economist who wondered why a tiny number of pea pods in his garden produced the majority of the peas. He wondered if the same thing that was happening to his peas was also happening elsewhere in life. He studied statistics and found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. He learned that in Britain 30% of the population earned 70% of the income.

He continued his research and found that while the exact numbers varied from one topic to another the pattern held firm to almost everything. The majority of rewards seemed to always accrue to a small percentage of people. This became known as the Pareto Principle. It is also called the 80/20 rule. And it has been called the 1% rule.

This principle is seen in various places today. In the 2015-2016 National Baseball season 20% of the franchises won 75.3% of the championships. Two teams, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers won half of the championships in NBA history. Clear’s article cites many other examples.

Why does this happen? There may be more than one reason but one reason is the power of accumulative advantage. Once something starts to win it gains advantages over those that are not winning. It becomes stronger. It works in nature as well as Clear describes. This advantage plays out in each contest between the players or people.

Clear’s 1% rule is an application of the Pareto principle. If you can be 1% more effective than the competition you can win. Sustaining the habits that create that advantage leads to sustained success. This is just as applicable to the individual as it is to the business or other organization. Win by just a bit each time and you can build the momentum of being in that 20% that wins 80% of the return.

This observation explains why winners become bigger winners and why those who do not win find it harder to succeed. To sustain success then requires initial wins. You have to succeed to succeed. Success breeds success. A good thing to remember in any competitive endeavor.

Read James Clear’s complete article here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.

The Corporate Soul Handbook by Ron Mercer

Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author: The Corporate Soul Handbook by Ron Mercer

Synopsis of Content:

In this little book of 117 pages including appendices the reader will find a wealth of insight into what makes organizations succeed and fail. In the end Mercer tells us that how our organizations treat people defines their success. The business or other organization that treats people well will succeed because it has a soul. The organization that does not treat people well has no soul and will fail.

The book has seven chapters:

The Benefits of Nurturing a Healthy Corporate Soul

The Four Structural Pillars of Your Organization

Zombies or Zealots?

Walk the Talk

Working Together Using Balance and Harmony


Inspiration Not Just Perspiration.

The book then ends with a Conclusion followed by an Appendix on the essence of the corporate soul and a Guide on assessing the soul of your organization.

The Corporate Soul Handbook is both a discussion of the concept of a soul for an organization, and this applies to nonprofit organizations just as much as for profit, and a handbook to introduce the reader on how to assess your organization for its soul and what actions one can do to improve it.

As with so many books on corporate success and management there really is nothing new in this book. Mercer takes long understood principles and reframes them in the context of this concept of a corporate soul.

Mercer explains that every organization has four pillars: Capital, Management, Employees and Customers. How an organization treats those four pillars and maintains a balance between them defines the corporate soul.

He provides examples of businesses like Southwest Airlines that have a healthy and vibrant soul and thrive. He offers other examples of organizations that short change those pillars and fail. He explains what each of these four pillars need to thrive and how they all equally support the successful organization. He teaches how we must nurture them all to survive and thrive.

This book focuses on the intangible ingredient for organizational success. It focuses on the positive and the cooperative. It explains how the way we treat the people (pillars) or our organization define its soul and its success.

What I found useful about this book:

This book provides insight into the how we do what we do and why the how makes such a difference. It identifies the importance of how we treat the people who make our organizations succeed or fail. It goes beyond the bottom line and defines the ultimately important line. For all of us who lead organizations and for those of us working in those organizations these ideas are critical and give us hope.

It is probably no accident that Ron Mercer is a banker. Banks fuel and drive much of the commercial activity in the world. Modern commercial enterprise would not be possible without banks for the most part. Yet banks and bankers have suffered much in their reputation in recent years with the failed banks, the stories about self-serving over paid executives more interested in extracting wealth than creating it. In this book Mercer offers a refreshing viewpoint about what healthy corporate should look like. He offers good examples of corporations that possess this “soul” and offer their customers excellent service and their employees a great place to work.

Readability/Writing Quality:

The book is very well written. It is easy to read and contains many good examples to flesh out the principles espoused.

Notes on Author:

Ron Mercer is a senior executive in the banking industry. He has advised startups and Fortune 500 companies. He maintains a website and blog.

Related Website: 

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

Every organization is supported by four pillars: capital, management, employees and customers. How we treat each of these pillars leads to the organization’s success or failure.

It is critical for everyone, but especially leaders, to walk their talk. We must set the example. We must act in the way we teach or we lose all effectiveness.

It is important to understand that how we treat others defines the soul of our organization. That soul is an intangible and largely unmeasurable essence that everyone recognizes when they see it and when it is missing. We must nurture that soul to achieve success as an organization.

Publication Information:

Title and Author: The Corporate Soul Handbook by Ron Mercer

Copyright holder: 2013 by Ron Mercer, Jr.

Publisher: Prime Your Pump Publishing, LLC, Texas

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.

Leading at the Edge, Second Edition by Dennis N.T. Perkins with Margaret P. Holtman and Jillian B. Murphy

Subtitle: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shakleton’s Antarctic Expedition

Title and AuthorLeading at the Edge, Second Edition by Dennis N.T. Perkins with Margaret P. Holtman and Jillian B. Murphy.  Subtitle: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shakleton’s Antarctic Expedition

Synopsis of Content:

In 1913 Canadian explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson led an expedition to explore the Arctic between Canada and the North Pole. He used a ship called the Karluk. In 1914 Sir Ernest Shakleton led the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition which aimed to be the first men to cross the Antarctic continent. They used a ship called the Endurance.

In both cases the ships were trapped in ice and ultimately destroyed by ice. In both cases the surviving explorers and their crews had to battle unimaginable ice and cold to survive and return to civilization.

Leading at the Edge chronicles these two expeditions and how two very different men led their teams. The book contrasts the leadership styles of these two men and how it affected their teams. The Canadian team deteriorated into squabbling chaos and suffered numerous deaths. Their leader adhered to a strictly hierarchical and authority based leadership model that did not serve him or his men well. In the end Stefansson deserted his own team leaving them to die or survive on their own. He did survive.

Shackleton adopted an entirely different leadership style. He put the welfare of his men first. He endured tremendous personal suffering and sacrifice to save them. His team remained united and exhibited repeated acts of courage and self-sacrifice for their team mates.

Drawing primarily on these two epic stories but also on other survival stories, his experience in Vietnam and in business Perkins develops ten leadership strategies that lead to success “at the edge”, that is in extreme conditions where men’s abilities are put to the ultimate test of endurance and the struggle is for survival. Perkins then explains how these same strategies can be used by anyone in a leadership position to more effectively lead their team, company or institution. The ten strategies are:

  1. Never lose sight of the ultimate goal and focus energy on short term objectives.
  2. Set a personal example with visible, memorable symbols and behaviors.
  3. Instill optimism and self-confidence, but stay grounded in reality.
  4. Take care of yourself: maintain your stamina and let go of guilt.
  5. Reinforce the team message constantly: “We are one – we live or die together”.
  6. Minimize status differences and insist on courtesy and mutual respect.
  7. Master conflict – deal with anger in small doses, engage dissidents, and avoid needless power struggles.
  8. Find something to celebrate and something to laugh about.
  9. Be willing to take the Big Risk.
  10. Never give up – there’s always another move.

At the end of the book Perkins provides “tools” to help the reader apply the lessons learned in the book including inventories and methods to develop one’s own leadership skills to include the ten strategies and he explains how this can apply to everyday business.

What I found useful about this book:

Few of us will ever have to survive in hostile life threatening environments or be responsible for the lives of a team of other people. Yet from these adventures on the edge we can learn the leadership strategies that not only have served adventurers in these extreme situations but can serve us as well in more normal conditions.

The ten strategies are easy to understand and to apply to the everyday working world. While luck can play a role in any venture the best leadership skills can make the ultimate difference.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

Much like Perkin’s second book, Into the Storm, Leading at the Edge is a page turning adventure story which also teaches valuable leadership lessons applicable to all of us. It is well written and easy to read. It is well organized.

Notes on Author:

Dennis N.T. Perkins is CEO of The Syncretics Group, a consulting firm. He graduated from the Naval Academy and served in Vietnam as a Marine company commander. He has taught at the Yale School of Management. He is passionate about his work and actually went to Antarctica and retraced Shackleton’s route on the ice. Margaret P. Holtman and Jillian B. Murphy are consultants specializing in leadership skills and coaching.

Related Website:

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. It is critical to never lose sight of your ultimate goal while focusing on short term objectives to get there.
  1. Optimism is essential to keep a team motivated but it must be grounded in realism; when it is necessary to change direction the leader must do so.
  1. An effective leader minimizes status differences on the team to forge a united group all working toward the same goal.

Other Books by This Author:

Into the Storm

Publication Information:   

Title and Author:  Leading at the Edge, Second Edition by Dennis N.T. Perkins with Margaret P. Holtman and Jillian B. Murphy

Copyright holder: 2012 by Dennis NT Perkins

Publisher: Amacom (American Management Association)

Note: “Leading at the Edge” is a registered trademark.

Book of the Month, November 2013.


Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

A Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Subtitle: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Synopsis of Content:

The seminal book on personal development and leadership of the 1980s this book, first published in 1989, was a #1 best seller and continues to be a popular book. In it Covey divides personal development into seven categories and assigns to them a habit or set of habits that will improve one’s life.

First Covey discusses the importance of principles and of leading one’s life according to principles. He also discussed our perceptions and how we can change the way we look at things through shifting a paradigm. Then he moves to the seven habits.

The seven habits are Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood, Synergize and Sharpen the Saw. Covey labels the first three habits as the Personal Victory, how we master our own lives. The last four are called the Public Victory, how we become more effective with others.

He maintains that one must first achieve effectiveness for ourselves, the private victory, before we can attain effectiveness with others. The habits are presented in an order based on what we need to work on first, second, etc.

Covey’s analysis of perceptions and paradigms was a novel approach to a self-help book at the time it came out. The brilliant aspect of the book was not so much the content of the seven habits, there was little new in that, it was the way he organized these ideas and related them to one another. His reliance on principle centered thinking was also unique.

A second unique aspect of the book is the emphasis on basing one’s decisions on principles, which Covey maintains are universal. He argues that principles are timeless, they have always existed and always will, and are universal; they apply equally to every culture and place. He emphasizes that because principles are universal and inherently true they serve as a sound basis to guide one’s life.

What I found useful about this book:

I can still remember the day I bought this book in 1994. I cannot say that about any other book I purchased nearly twenty years ago. I can remember standing in front of the bookstore bookshelf and looking over the book, wondering if it was worth the price and the time to read it. In time I read the book six times and am now reviewing it for the seventh time. Each time I read it I learn more.

I must admit this is my favorite book on personal development and improvement. It is comprehensive in scope, covering every important aspect of personal development. It challenges you and informs you. To the extent you can apply the principles and habits Covey teaches you realize great benefit. This book contains valuable lessons about how to organize your time and your life.

I highly recommend this book. If you read only one book on personal development this year this should be the book.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is written in an easy and very readable style. It has excellent examples and illustrations of the lessons he teaches. It is very well organized.

Notes on Author:

Dr. Stephen R. Covey was a university professor, writer and lecturer. He was very influential. He was co-founder of the Franklin-Covey Co. Dr. Covey died in 2012.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Live out your imagination, not your history. Know that you have full control over what you do. Accept full responsibility for your life. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
  1. A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes too many managers: you cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships.
  1. The bottom line is, when people are crystal clear about the most important priorities of the organization and team they work with and prioritized their work around those top priorities, not only are they many times more productive, they discover they have the time they need to have a whole life.

The Books2Wealth Book of the Month for October 2013

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Copyright holder: 1989 by Stephen R. Covey

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.

Rumsfeld’s Rules by Donald Rumsfeld.

Book Review

Title and Author:  Rumsfeld’s Rules by Donald Rumsfeld.

Synopsis of Content:

Donald Rumsfeld has had a tremendous career in the military, business and government. He served as a flight instructor in the US Navy from 1954-1957, Administrative assistant to two Congressman, Stock Broker, and Representative from Illinois to Congress from 1962-1969. He served four Presidents as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Director of the Economic Stabilization Program, Counselor to the President, Ambassador to NATO, White House Chief of Staff, twice as Secretary of Defense, once under President Ford and later under President Bush. He was CEO of two large corporations, special envoy for the President to for the Law of the Sea Treaty, Special Presidential Envoy to the Middle East, and Chairman of the Ballistic Missile Threat Commission. His experience covers the period from 1954-2006 – five decades in business and government.

In the course of this rich experience he collected a series of principles, rules of conduct, executive tips, government tips, and leadership lessons. This book is a compilation of those rules and some interesting insight into where their use or lack of use led to success and failure.

The book though is also a peek inside the White House during four presidencies (Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush) as well as government outside those administrations. The rules are set out under some rubrics, including On Business and Management, On Serving in Government, On Politics and Congress, On the Press, Serving in the White House, For the Department of Defense, On Intelligence, and On Life and Other Things.

The rules include quotes and lessons learned from many of the key leaders around the world during the 20th century, many of whom Rumsfeld knew and his own experience and lessons learned.

This book is also a political commentary of sorts. Rumsfeld is a lifelong Republican and does not hide that fact. He peppers his stories with political commentary.

However whether you agree or disagree with Rumsfeld’s political views you can benefit from learning about his rules and lessons on a large number of subjects under the general heading of effective leadership – both in business and in government.

What I found useful about this book:

First this is a rich collection of anecdotes and lessons from a lifetime of service in government and business. The list of “rules” is very long but is very instructive. It was also interesting to see government through the eyes of a long time insider in Washington.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is very well written, easy to follow and entertaining as well as instructive.

Notes on Author:

Donald Rumsfeld served in government and business for five decades and under four Presidents. His experience is broad. He is a thoughtful man who has collected the best lessons about leadership he could find over a lifetime.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. You never really lose until you quit trying (Mike Ditka).
  1. When you are skiing, if you are not falling, you are not trying.
  1. Simply because a problem is shown to exist it does not necessarily follow that there is a solution.

Books2Wealth Book of the Month for September 2013.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Rumsfeld’s Rules by Donald Rumsfeld.

Copyright holder: ©2013 by Donald Rumsfeld

Publisher: Broadside Books, Harper Collins Publishers. Available on Kindle.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.