Essential Insight From a Legendary Leader
As one of today’s most prolific business writers, Alan Axelrod has perfected the art and craft of turning the lives of legendary people into smart lessons all leaders can use to improve their work. In his previous books, such as Patton on Leadership, Elizabeth I, CEO and Eisenhower on Leadership, Axelrod distilled pivotal moments in the lives of historical leaders into inspirational nuggets of wisdom any manager and executive can put into practice today. With his latest book, Winston Churchill, CEO, Axelrod brings valuable strategic and management ideas to life through the experiences and decisions made by a great world leader whose impact continues to reverberate.
A National Hero
Winston Churchill was more than the world leader and Nobel Prize winner he became in his later years, Axelrod explains.
In 1898, he was an ambitious 23-year-old second lieutenant in the British Army. He soon became a newspaper war correspondent and a best-selling author who wrote about the battles of Britain’s colonial wars from his firsthand experiences on the front line. After he resigned from the army, he ran for Parliament and lost. After that, he became a well-paid war correspondent for The Morning Post, who covered the Second (Great) Boer War. After he was captured, broke out of prison and escaped, he returned home to England as a national hero.
After serving in the British government during World War I, Churchill became a lieutenant colonel and fought on the Western Front. When he returned to England, he was named minister of munitions.
After the war, Churchill became secretary of state for war and air, was voted out of office, wrote another bestseller (The World Crisis) and rejoined Parliament in 1923. Next, he was appointed to a cabinet post by the new prime minister.
Defeating Powerful Forces
In the 1930s, Churchill urged England to prepare for an attack from Hitler’s army. When world events proved that his predictions of Nazi aggression were correct, Prime Minister Chamberlain gave Churchill his old post of first lord of the admiralty. When Chamberlain resigned in May 1940 after a failed assault on the Germans in Norway, Churchill replaced him as prime minister. As a war leader, Churchill and the Royal Air Force defeated the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain and prevented an invasion. Even though he was ousted after the war, he was voted back into the prime minister’s seat in 1951 and knighted for his services to his country.
From Winston Churchill’s amazing story, Axelrod pulls 25 bold lessons that can be learned from the life of a man who was more than England’s leader. This man of many talents could rally action, inspire emotion, strategize, communicate, manage and lead a country through its most difficult days. He also offers all leaders a role model who turned his failures into lessons and disasters into opportunities for success.
Deep Personal and Moral Values
Throughout Winston Churchill, CEO, Axelrod turns very specific historical moments into broad strokes of genius that can be widely applied. For example, in the chapter that espouses the importance of drawing a line and holding your ground, he points out that Churchill once said, “We would rather see London laid in ruins and ashes than that it should be tamely and abjectly enslaved.”
Axelrod translates Churchill’s underlying messages about the importance of values and principles into usable terms for all organizations and leaders. To add impact to Churchill’s point about drawing a line, Axelrod conjures the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson to show when defining a core identity is more important than flexibility.
Axelrod then infuses this lesson with an in-depth examination of Churchill’s life and the decisions he made during his long tenure as a leader to add sturdy weight to the argument for instilling deep personal and moral values into leadership.
As a renowned historian and business author, Axelrod transforms the life and words of Churchill into a story that offers leadership lessons, which are as timely today as they were when Churchill put them into action while successfully leading his country through its most harrowing times.