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.