On Leadership
Video | PostLeadership | FedCoach | | Books | About |
Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

Leadership Books

Summary: 'Eisenhower on Leadership"

Eisenhower on Leadership
Title: Eisenhower on Leadership: Ike's Enduring Lessons in Total Victory Management; Author: Alan Axelrod; Publisher: Jossey-Bass, Inc., 2006; ISBN-13: 978-0787982386; 304 pages

Review: 'Eisenhower on Leadership'
By Rolf Dobelli, Chairman, getAbstract

Summary 'Eisenhower on Leadership'

U.S. Army General Dwight David Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe during World War II. A brilliant strategist and an expert in logistics and organization, Eisenhower planned Operation Overlord, the successful 1944 invasion of Europe by way of the English Channel. D-Day remains history's largest amphibious assault. In 1945, at the height of his military power, Eisenhower commanded more than four million troops from five different nations. He functioned as a manager of managers, directing all military activities in Europe. He was, in effect, the "CEO" of the war in Europe - and indeed, in a letter to Lord Louis Mountbatten of Britain, Eisenhower described his role of Supreme Commander as that of a "chairman of a board."

How he successfully planned and coordinated the Allied military effort is the subject of this fascinating military history cum informative treatise on management by business writer Alan Axelrod. Axelrod applies Ike's down-to-earth thinking to the management of organizations, people or important projects in a series of lessons - 232 of them, to be exact. This long, unprioritized list is more than most readers can really absorb. Nevertheless, getAbstract suggests that managers who want to learn what inspired, successful leadership truly means study this history of the European conflict from the uniquely informed perspective of Eisenhower, the ultimate insider.

Book Summary

The Supreme Commander

During World War II, General George C. Marshall Jr., U.S. Army Chief of Staff, promoted Dwight David Eisenhower, a little-known staff officer, over hundreds of senior officers to be the top commander of the American forces in North Africa, and then nominated him as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe.

For an American, this latter post was unique: No U.S. general before Eisenhower had led a military coalition representing different nations. What was Marshall thinking? He did not single out Eisenhower because of his heroic exploits on the battlefield: Eisenhower had spent his military career in administration and training. Instead, Marshall selected Eisenhower because of his superior leadership - in other words, management - abilities. He was a brilliant strategist. He knew how to plan and achieve objectives. He was able to direct and inspire others. He could get things done.

Most important, Eisenhower had an almost magical ability to work with personalities of all types. He was able to persuade temperamental military leaders such as U.S. Army General George S. Patton Jr., British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery and Free French leader General Charles de Gaulle to put their egos aside and work together to achieve the common goal of military victory. Eisenhower's talent for inspiring cooperation was precisely what the Allies needed in Europe. The military alliance was unprecedented. It included nations with dramatically different ideologies, attitudes and histories. Pulling the military leaders of these nations together to defeat Hitler was a truly daunting diplomatic and management challenge.

Not only military leaders but also today's executives can learn much from Eisenhower's philosophy and management techniques...

Please click here to receive a free summary of this outstanding book courtesy of getAbstract, the world's largest online library of business book summaries. (Available through April 25, 2010.)

By getAbstract

 |  April 16, 2010; 11:53 AM ET |  Category:  Books Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Summary: 'George Washington's Leadership Lessons' | Next: Summary: 'Nelson's Way'


Please email us to report offensive comments.

alance | April 21, 2010 12:49 AM. is a very knowledgeable commentator with an extremely good grasp of happening during the Eisenhower's rein. To add some tidbits can only add that McArthur did not hold Ike in high esteem while on duty in the Philippines in the 30ies he prolonged the war in Europe some 6 month when insisting that the advance should be done on a wide front rather than concentrating the forces in areas were a break through was most likely. He was also known as the first President to promote assassinations, like Lumumba in Congo and overthrowing Dr M. Mossadeq the democratically elected Premier of Iran in 1953 (I was in the area a that time and extremely ashamed at the behavior of W. Churchill and D.Eisenhower. He also forbade his soldiers to fraternize with German children 1945 and kept millions of surrendering German soldiers in camps without food or shelter of which one million is said to have died. It is also well known that George Marshall saved his marriage after his fling with a Englishwomen driver during his posting in Europe.

Posted by: jibsail | April 21, 2010 5:13 AM

This book examines WW2, it appears, not the vagaries of the Cold War.

I always wondered how Ike wound up placating Churchill and Monty, not to mention Uncle Joe.

I look forward to reading it.

But even this snippet of a review underscores an important point: for all of the Eisehnowers, Nimitzes & MacArthurs, plus the Pattons, Bradleys, Clarks, and etc. in the world those days, isn't it interesting how it all comes back to Marshall.

Posted by: Georgetwoner | April 21, 2010 1:38 AM

Eisenhower was a superb politician and a lousy general. He was an Anglophile of the first magnitude with a penchant for appointing and supporting incompetent generals. He was a model of political correctness and hardly ever intervened once he delegated a task to a subordinate.

He allowed huge numbers of Germans to escape from Sicily and the Falaise Pocket in France, prolonging the war in Europe for over six months and costing hundreds of thousands of lives.

Even as president he allowed the Dulles brothers to stage a coup d'├ętat in both Iran and Guatemala. We are still suffering from his incompetence and his blind delegation of authority.

Posted by: alance | April 21, 2010 12:49 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company