adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $31.50

Buy for $31.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

An instant national best seller!

Stanley McChrystal, the retired US Army general and best-selling author of Team of Teams, profiles 13 of history's great leaders, including Walt Disney, Coco Chanel, and Robert E. Lee, to show that leadership is not what you think it is - and never was.

Stan McChrystal served for 34 years in the US Army, rising from a second lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division to a four-star general, in command of all American and coalition forces in Afghanistan. During those years he worked with countless leaders and pondered an ancient question: "What makes a leader great?" He came to realize that there is no simple answer. 

McChrystal profiles 13 famous leaders from a wide range of eras and fields - from corporate CEOs to politicians and revolutionaries. He uses their stories to explore how leadership works in practice and to challenge the myths that complicate our thinking about this critical topic. With Plutarch's Lives as his model, McChrystal looks at paired sets of leaders who followed unconventional paths to success. For instance...

  • Walt Disney and Coco Chanel built empires in very different ways. Both had public personas that sharply contrasted with how they lived in private. 
  • Maximilien Robespierre helped shape the French Revolution in the 18th century; Abu Musab al-Zarqawi led the jihadist insurgency in Iraq in the 21st. We can draw surprising lessons from them about motivation and persuasion. 
  • Both Boss Tweed in 19th-century New York and Margaret Thatcher in 20th-century Britain followed unlikely roads to the top of powerful institutions. 
  • Martin Luther and his future namesake, Martin Luther King Jr., both local clergymen, emerged from modest backgrounds to lead world-changing movements. 

Finally, McChrystal explores how his former hero, General Robert E. Lee, could seemingly do everything right in his military career and yet lead the Confederate Army to a devastating defeat in the service of an immoral cause. Leaders will help you take stock of your own leadership, whether you’re part of a small team or responsible for an entire nation.

©2018 Stanley McChrystal, Jeff Eggers, and Jay Mangone (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Whenever Stanley McChrystal talks, I take notes. I am so drawn to his ability to cut through pop culture theories about leadership to get to the core of what actually makes a leader. Leaders takes us deeper than most other leadership books into the true and often messy mechanics of leadership. Anyone who considers themselves a student of leadership must read this book." (Simon Sinek, optimist and author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last)

"Leaders reexamines old notions of leadership - especially the outdated view that history is shaped by great men going it alone. General McChrystal shows us that leadership can take many forms, leaders often have different strengths, and great leaders can come from anywhere. (Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org)

"Leaders is a superb, thought-provoking challenge to conventional understanding of the nature of leadership. An enlightening, entertaining must-read about why we revere so many leaders who are often deeply flawed and even unsuccessful, and the lessons for thinking about and teaching leadership in the future.” (Robert M. Gates, former US Secretary of Defense) 

More from the same

What listeners say about Leaders

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    388
  • 4 Stars
    158
  • 3 Stars
    65
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    10
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    365
  • 4 Stars
    151
  • 3 Stars
    44
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    340
  • 4 Stars
    140
  • 3 Stars
    57
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    11

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great resource for CGSC

I’ve never liked history. I mean never, but this book weaves in historical references masterfully to teach new lessons about leadership. It forces you to look at Leadership in a new way. If you’re a person who doesn’t get excited about seeing famous people and you believe in the team mentality from top to bottom, you will appreciate this book.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Does not live up to the hype...

I was a bit amazed at this book. The marketing for it was excellent. Videos of McChyrstal talking about new ways to look at leadership. The introduction was great, using big ideas from systems and systems thinking. But then the book started.

A series of thin historical essays. Not uninteresting and reasonably well written. But if you know anything of the subject you'll learn little new. Oddly there is very little identification of 'leadership' in the text of the stories. What learning there is comes at the end in summary chapters.
The selection of the subjects is interesting. But the treatment is banal. Others have commented that they were at the High School level. I'll go with that.

What I thought might happen is at least a summary of leadership principles derived from each of the stories. Not so much. In the end you are left with a collection of stories concerning some leaders that do not integrate at all. There is no capitulation of the lessons, or even of the points. Maybe it is in the last chapter?. I gave up around Boss Tweed.

The book fails to live up to its own intentions. It does not lead. it does not meaningfully instruct.

Returned.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Panoramic (& FUN) view of the topic and history

—Enlightened my understanding of leadership AND history with examples of leaders of which I knew nothing or very little. Actually FUN reading (listening) because of all the detailed stories and the amazing correlations he discerned between past and present.
—Uplifted me to know what an inspiring mentor General McChrystal must have been to our troops when he served in the Army.
—Narrator, Paul Mitchell, hit exactly the right tone with the perfect camber of his voice.
—I will recommend to my bookclub.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

disappointed

curious how they determined who to examine?? what was the criteria??
didn't like: points deducted for into, the jumping around was confusing as all, how they hooked you to the people they discussed but the way they organized the book/what they decided to talk about just confused all the information they gave you, no clear thread through-out the entire book that left you with takeaways.
liked: intro and the epilogue was probably the most powerful part of the book for me and yet they could not duplicate that power throughout the rest of the book.
disappointed.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Leadership is a Journey

I loved it. The book provided great examples of Leadership... Highly Recommend reading for Growth...

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Important Update to Plutarch's Lives

Terrific work with meaningful analysis of contrasting leaders for each chapter. The contributions by these three authors to the compendia of literature on the subject of leadership is important. This work provides a wide range of updated historical figures where the relevant information regarding their particular social and personal circumstances is available to be plumbed.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Leadership isn't a formula

Although I did struggle to finish this, I greatly enjoyed it too. Some sections were a bit long in the tooth. While the ending and conclusions felt shorter than they could have. I wanted more ending. The conclusions were good and made me think. I'll probably have to listen to the end again.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

90% Biographical and 10% Leadership

To me, the title does not live up to the content. The book is interesting, but to me fails on leadership. The biographical content is interesting, but it is not what I purchased the book for. Case in point, Albert Einstein. Yes he was a leader in the field of Physics, but he did not get there through leadership skills. His brilliance propelled him to the front of the pack and people would listen to him for that reason. To try and pull leadership principles from this takes a huge stretch of the imagination. Einstein himself asked the question, "Why is it no one understands me, yet they like me?" Many of the characters studied, in my opinion, fall under the same critic. They arrived because they possessed a skill or knowledge and that skill or knowledge was not leadership.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An Outstanding Book On Leadership!

I’ve read over 20 books on leadership in the last 10 months - and this is by far the best of the bunch! I’ve learned so much about these great leaders and how they weren’t perfect-beings — but human beings!
One could easily use this book by itself to build a university level course on leadership.
I highly recommend this book to anyone starting their journey of understanding leadership!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Compilation of 13 Short Biographies

The authors tried to tie them together, but I think it was very weak. There was no summary of desirable (or undesirable) traits or “secret” histories- I felt like if I wanted to read about these individuals, I would have been better off reading full biographies on each one.