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Leadership  By  cover art

Leadership

By: Henry Kissinger
Narrated by: Sean Patrick Hopkins
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Publisher's Summary

An instant New York Times bestseller

Henry Kissinger, consummate diplomat and statesman, examines the strategies of six great twentieth-century figures and brings to life a unifying theory of leadership and diplomacy

“An extraordinary book, one that braids together two through lines in the long and distinguished career of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger...In Leadership he presents a fascinating set of historical case studies and political biographies that blend the dance and the dancer, seamlessly.” - James Stavridis, The Wall Street Journal

“Leaders,” writes Henry Kissinger in this compelling book, “think and act at the intersection of two axes: the first, between the past and the future; the second, between the abiding values and aspirations of those they lead. They must balance what they know, which is necessarily drawn from the past, with what they intuit about the future, which is inherently conjectural and uncertain. It is this intuitive grasp of direction that enables leaders to set objectives and lay down a strategy.”

In Leadership, Kissinger analyses the lives of six extraordinary leaders through the distinctive strategies of statecraft, which he believes they embodied. After the Second World War, Konrad Adenauer brought defeated and morally bankrupt Germany back into the community of nations by what Kissinger calls “the strategy of humility.” Charles de Gaulle set France beside the victorious Allies and renewed its historic grandeur by “the strategy of will.” During the Cold War, Richard Nixon gave geostrategic advantage to the United States by “the strategy of equilibrium.” After twenty-five years of conflict, Anwar Sadat brought a vision of peace to the Middle East by a “strategy of transcendence.” Against the odds, Lee Kuan Yew created a powerhouse city-state, Singapore, by “the strategy of excellence.” And, though Britain was known as “the sick man of Europe” when Margaret Thatcher came to power, she renewed her country’s morale and international position by “the strategy of conviction.”

To each of these studies, Kissinger brings historical perception, public experience and—because he knew each of the subjects and participated in many of the events he describes—personal knowledge. Leadership is enriched by insights and judgements that only Kissinger could make and concludes with his reflections on world order and the indispensability of leadership today.

©2022 Henry Kissinger (P)2022 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Leadership

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Architects of World Order

History's architects that I thought I knew I learned more about and others I learned about for the first time through detailed descriptions of their lives and the contexts of their time. These great leaders come to life once more in entertaining detail. You may even find a new appreciation for Richard Nixon (I know, right?). I especially enjoyed the small personal stories told and the book's organization, which was easy to follow with many great spots to take a break and pick up from. I can't recommend this book enough!

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Great analysis of some of this century’s greatest leaders

Henry Kissinger at 99 is as lucid as ever. In this latest book he brings us an analysis of six of last century’s greatest leaders and what made them so. His first hand account of the leaders themselves, as well as many of the events listed in the book, make this a worthwhile and insightful read.

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Excellent book, narration good enough

The 6 stories are expertly told, including personal anecdotes and a masterful analysis. The narration was excellent, although the voice is so utterly different from Kissinger’s that I found it a bit jarring. Highly recommended.

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History Repeats Itself

Learned a lot more than I knew about six great post WWII leaders and how the world order has been shaped. If only we can get the current morons running our country to embrace a world order that includes the entire world, not just your country. Kissinger, the ultimate statesman was brilliant in his description of how those leaders grappled with the challenges of their day.

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A Book that had to be written

A broad perspective on 20th Century history told by someone who had personal connections with these figures in history.

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Excellent detailed look at Leadership strategy

I found myself really loving this book. It’s clearly aimed a the future we’re blindly walking into. He takes shots at our modern conception of egotistical leadership driven by way of an analysis of some of the most impactful leaders of the 20th century.

In short, if you already don’t like Kissinger, move on. It’s not the book for you. If you’re looking for a fluff read, move on, it’s too detailed. If you’re really looking to see a perspective on 20th century leadership, read this. If you’re a fan of international strategy, read this.

Learned a lot more about leaders I only knew on paper from a couple of college courses. This should be supplemental reading for anyone aspiring to public office.

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Learning from inspiration

What a wonder to learn about six intelligent leaders, their goods and their flaws through the eyes of Kissinger. I highly recommend

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Very insightful!

This book provides a wide range of perspectives and examples in Grand Strategy. This book goes far beyond the normal surface level analogies that are all too common when examining historical figures for something one can apply to their own life.
Instead of the typical "this is how you lead" type book, this book explains how the leaders led and dispells the myth that great leaders are invulnerable and their actions come without great and personal consequences. There is enough clarity in the examples given that one can draw well informed lessons to apply in one's life but also recognize the limits of the lessons drawn.
I appreciated that the book addresses the Abraham Accords, the war in Ukraine, and the world becoming tri-polar. Particularly helpful, in kissinger-fashion, the book ends with some predictions about the future, some major considerations in the ever changing technological landscape, the changes that are excluding deep learning, why the wold is far less likely to see the kind of leaders again described in the book, and finally how our world is changing from valuing meritocracy to a new kind of world valuing something entirely different.

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Excellent book

The narration was excellent
This book is well worth your time. To actually listen to Henry Kissinger all to yourself? Priceless.
Get this book

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Critical for our current ‘leaders’

Should be required for anyone in office. Especially poignant is the last chapters with regards to present world order and culture.