CENTER OF THE STORM: Practicing Principled Leadership in Times of Crisis
Harris briefly became the most talked-about person in America in November 2000, when her role as Florida's Secretary of State during the protracted election proceedings transformed her into an almost universal target of partisan conjecture and ridicule. Here's her side of the story, couched in a guide to principled leadership. Harris divides her book into 12 principles, such as "Know What You Believe" and "Resist the Tyranny of the Urgent." The book uneasily straddles three genres: political tell-all, moral primer and management advice tome. Readers seeking a sustained account of those fateful weeks will have to sift through accounts of great leaders of the past, quotations, reading lists, so-called "Myth Conceptions" and inspirational lyrics written by Harris's brother-in-law, Wes King. Readers are likely to wonder about the connection between, say, Lincoln during the Civil War and Harris's tumultuous experiences. However, the examples supporting her 12 tenets are uniformly apt, as are the quotations. With guarded honesty, self-effacing self-praise and innocuous humor, this account combines self-help truisms with a spirited defense of Harris's controversial actions. The most affecting parts, by far, are the ones in which she gamely defends herself from the humiliating, mean-spirited and often unfair attacks directed at her. As sound as this advice is, it is mostly a distraction from the book's true raison d'être. (Oct.)
Forecast:Harris is currently running for Congress, which will heighten her profile as an author and will ensure continued interest.