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How to lead: Lessons on Listening & Learning

Book Review

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I purchased both the Kindle and Audible version of the book – on the day it was released. Why? Because I thought it would be an opportunity to learn more about the ability to lead from those who have done so in diverse disciplines under diverse circumstances and from diverse backgrounds. I also attended the virtual book launch interview given by David Rubenstein at the Economic Club of Washington. I am a fan of David Rubenstein; I met him in March 2019 when he gave an interview of his story at the Economics Club of New York where I am a member.

What I love about the book is Rubenstein, the author/editor narrates an introduction to all the interviews giving updates, commentary, and additional context. While I started following the Audible version with the Kindle, I quickly gravitated to the Audible version – why? Because it was like being transformed into a studio hearing the voices and words of men and women I may never meet. There was however one difference I noticed between versions; in the Kindle version Condolezza Rice is cited in an interview between General David Petraeus and James A. Baker III interviews; her interview is not in the Audible version.

Most of the persons interviewed are Americans with few exceptions. Therefore, this is an American story. Rubenstein is a skillful interviewer, who prepares purposeful questions, anticipates answers, listens, and responds in a rapid-fire manner yielding engaging and thoughtful commentary on a broad array of topics. One can almost consider, “How to Lead” as a master class in authentic leader voices from business to the arts.

There are many great quotes in this book but my favorites are from Nancy Pelosi, “My why I do this is because 1 of 5 children in America is in poverty,” and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when asked how would she change what was done by the founding fathers, “ I would include in the constitution that all men and women are created equal.” Both quotes focus on disparities in America both quotes give voice to many in the invisible majority.

How to lead is a masterpiece of personal and national stories of mavericks, scholars, trailblazers, and heroes in their authentic voices of which I highly recommended for students of leadership and all those who want to learn more about a cohort of successful men and women in America.

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