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Posted on Jul 31, 2009 in Books and Movies

Leading the Charge: Leadership Lessons From The Battlefield To The Boardroom — Book Review

By Jerry D. Morelock

Leading The Charge: Leadership Lessons From The Battlefield To The BoardroomLeading the Charge: Leadership Lessons From The Battlefield To The Boardroom. By General Tony Zinni and Tony Koltz. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 256 pages, hardcover. $25, on sale beginning August 4, 2009.


Leading the Charge is an insightful, highly useful guide to meeting the challenges in today’s world.

Gen. ret Tony Zinni, USMC, has been one of this reviewer’s personal heroes since the early 1990s when Zinni served in U. S. European Command (EUCOM) headquarters in Germany and this reviewer was Chief of Russia Branch on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, a position that required frequent coordination with EUCOM on U. S. government policy issues regarding the 15 former Soviet republics that had become independent nations after the USSR’s collapse in December 1991. Gen. Zinni was always an unshakable voice of reason and stability during a particularly trying and often confusing time. He was – and remains – a “leader’s leader” and a “Marine’s Marine,” a bastion of common sense and an inspirational leader of character and insight. A former commander in chief of U. S. Central Command (CENTCOM), 1997-2000, Zinni was U. S. Special Envoy to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and serves as a board member of several corporations. Gen. Zinni has extensive leadership experience at the highest levels of military, diplomatic and business worlds. In short, he is the perfect choice to write this book about how military, diplomatic and business leaders must adapt and how they can thrive while meeting the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century.


An outspoken critic of what he sees as political, military and business leadership that has failed the country in the years following the end of the Cold War, Zinni characteristically pulls no punches when he asks, “Where were our leaders?” when the United States slipped from its previous position as the world’s most respected power. Although critics of U. S. leadership abound today, Zinni sets himself apart from the howling pack of detractors in the “chattering classes” by actually prescribing in Leading the Charge what political, military and business leaders can do about it to win back public confidence, remedy the ailing economy, and restore America’s world standing. In fourteen insightful chapters, Zinni does just that, laying out how leaders not only can meet the prodigious challenges of the still-unsettled post-Cold War world, but how they can lead their organizations to thrive in such an environment. Zinni sees opportunity in a world beset by chaos, advising:

“Provide the vision and direction that makes your organization a success. Create a sense of ownership for all those who are part of the success. Be visible, accountable, and in charge in times of crisis and change for your enterprise. Master time and technology – don’t let them drive or control you. … We need leaders who see [the challenges of today’s strange new world as] opportunities. Be one of them.”

Gen. Zinni’s co-author, Tony Koltz, is an inspired choice for this project. Koltz is an experienced writer who co-authored Tom Clancy’s Into the Storm and Battle Ready, and previously collaborated with Gen. Zinni on their book The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America’s Power and Purpose, which was a 2007 New York Times bestseller.

Leading the Charge is an insightful, highly useful guide to meeting the challenges in today’s world. We highly recommend that readers put Leading the Charge on their “must read-must buy” list and add it to their personal libraries. This former 4-star Marine general’s outstanding book is a ‘5-star’ guide to leadership — we rate this book “5 STARS,” our highest rating.