George Washington and the Art of Business: Leadership Principles of America's First Commander-in-Chief

Mark McNeilly, Author . Oxford Univ. $24.95 (209p) ISBN 978-0-19-518978-0

While few American figures inspire like George Washington, this book's attempt to distill management wisdom from his career feels as wooden as Washington's mythic set of teeth. McNeilly, a former IBM executive with military experience, never fully applies Washington's life and lessons to current business leadership. While we learn that Washington was a successful businessman and brilliant military tactician and leader, he never fully comes to life. McNeilly spends too much of the text spinning the greatest hits of Washington's military career before dipping briefly into his career as a diplomat and, almost as an afterthought, first president of the United States. Washington's ability to organize and train the first Continental Army, comprising citizens and governed by merit, segues into a lengthy and irrelevant discussion of how Alfred Sloan created the modern General Motors and a puzzling digression about iconic automobile designer Harley Earl. McNeilly's generally-agreed-upon-best-business-practices lack novelty. We learn that Washington was not alone in scoring by collecting good intelligence on his enemies: McDonald's and Staples employed similar strategies against their competitors. This is a missed opportunity to present provocative and insightful ideas about the key to a legend's success. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/19/2007
Release date: 01/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Digital Format - 978-0-19-985158-4
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