Academic journal article Military Review

Cigars, Whiskey & Winning: Leadership Lessons from Ulysses S. Grant

Academic journal article Military Review

Cigars, Whiskey & Winning: Leadership Lessons from Ulysses S. Grant

Article excerpt

CIGARS, WHISKEY & WINNING: Leadership Lessons From Ulysses S. Grant by Al Kaltman. 336 pages. Prentice Hall Press, Paramus, NJ. 1998. $22.00.

Cigars, Whiskey & Winning: Leadership Lessons From Ulysses S. Grant is an analysis of management techniques derived from Grant's military leadership during the Civil War. The book is an interesting, well-written account of "life lessons" and their impact on Grant's warfighting decisions. Each lesson begins with a short vignette of Grant in action and concludes with a lesson learned. The first lesson begins with Grant registering as a cadet at the US Military Academy. The final lesson shows an ex-president Grant struggling to complete his memoirs.

Grant's leadership qualities of determination, persistence, common sense, clarity of purpose and mastery of detail without the sacrifice of a larger vision are equally relevant to today's study of leadership. The lessons provide the reader with a look into the life of an ordinary and flawed man who transformed himself into a progressive leader.

Author Al Kaltman describes Grant as a pragmatist who learned from his own and others' successes and as a man who brought new dimension to strategic planning. Kaltman views Grant as a man who was adept at seizing and exploiting opportunities as they presented themselves, boldly shattering paradigms long before the term made its way into leadership jargon.

Serious students of leadership would welcome a cogent examination and discussion of the character traits and basic core beliefs of one of America's greatest military leaders. …

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