New York Times Bestseller

From New York Times Bestselling Author

Myth and Reality

Leadership is not what you think it is... and it never was.

Leadership has long been intertwined with myth. The Greek biographer Plutarch wrote his Parallel Lives to describe how pairs of leaders from the classical world— from Theseus and Romulus, to Demetrius and Mark Antony—exercised virtue. Ever since, Plutarch’s Lives has served as the definitive book for leaders throughout the ages to reflect on leadership, action and virtue.

In Leaders: Myth and Reality, General McChrystal and his coauthors borrow Plutarch’s approach – but instead of examining virtue, they study leadership through the lens of thirteen fascinating men and women who have led in different times and circumstances:

  • Robert E. Lee
  • Founders: Walt Disney and Coco Chanel
  • Geniuses: Albert Einstein and Leonard Bernstein
  • Zealots: Maximilien Robespierre and Abu Musab al Zarqawi
  • Heroes: Zheng He and Harriet Tubman
  • Powerbrokers: Boss Tweed and Margaret Thatcher
  • Reformers: Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Through their stories, the reader comes to see leadership in a new light, wherein stubborn mythologies surround the concept of leadership, leaving us with a disconnect between how we typically think about leadership and how it actually works.

Leaders draws out the stories of these characters to elucidate deeper truths about the contingency and complexity of leadership. By the end of the book, readers will think differently about leadership. They will take a step back from the mythology, more accepting of leadership for what it is, rather than what we wish it to be. Seeing leadership through this new lens has implications for the way society understands its own history, and what it seeks from its leaders of tomorrow. Leaders are indeed important, just not in the way we think they are.

For those who enjoy intriguing history, or leaders and followers who wish to see leadership more clearly, or anyone looking to elevate the conversation about leadership today, Leaders is a timely and entertaining book.

About the Authors

Stan McChrystal

Team of Teams Author, Stan McChrystal

Stan McChrystal retired in July 2010 as a four-star general after over 34 years of service in the U.S. Army. His final assignment was as the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and all US forces in Afghanistan. He had previously served as the director of the Joint Staff and almost five years in command of the Joint Special Operations Command.

General McChrystal’s memoir, My Share of the Task, was a New York Times bestseller in 2013, as is his new book, Team of Teams. He is a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a partner at McChrystal Group, where he transforms senior executives into adaptable leaders. He and his wife of thirty-eight years, Annie, live in Virginia.

Jeff Eggers

Jeff Eggers is Executive Director of the McChrystal Group Leadership Institute. Jeff was formerly a Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and worked at the White House from 2010 through early 2015, principally as the National Security Council's Senior Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Jason Mangone

Prior to joining McChrystal Group, Jay was a Senior Advisor and Director of Public Private Partnerships for the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services, Chief Operating Officer at Service Year Alliance, Director of The Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute, and Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jay served in the United States Marine Corps from 2006 to 2010. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Boston College and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Yale University’s Jackson Insitute for Global Affairs.

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Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Portfolio (October 23, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525534377
ISBN-13: 978-0525534372
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches