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

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Drawing on Grant’s writings and life experiences during his meteoric rise from tannery clerk to commanding general of over one million men, “Cigars, Whiskey & Winning” presents 250 concise, practical lessons for getting superior performance from the troops, whether military or corporate. An inspiring management treatise torn from the pages of Civil War history, this unique book goes beyond mere ‘how-to’s’ to reveal the character traits, core beliefs, and fundamental values that turn a manager into a leader, whether on the battlefield or in the boardroom. “Cigars, Whiskey & Winning” is a savvy blend of biography, history, and leadership wisdom that will appeal to aspiring business leaders and Civil War buffs alike.”Ulysses S. Grant was a perceptive and surprisingly modern manager,” writes Al Kaltman. “A pragmatist who learned from his own and others’ successes and failures, he brought new dimensions to strategic planning. He was adept at seizing and exploiting opportunities as they presented themselves, and he boldly shattered paradigms long before the term paradigm had made its way into the management jargon.”

Kaltman uses Grant’s military career, beginning with his enrollment at West Point through his early successes in the Civil War to his eventual command of the entire Union Army, to illustrate 250 basic principles of business success, from “Bureaucrats do the dumbest things” to “You can’t stop the clock.” In an afterword, Kaltman considers how President Grant failed to live up to the principles of teamwork and planning that led General Grant to victory, with a resultant career as chief executive whose legacy has been less than stellar.

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3 Comments

  1. First in War but Then…. Here is another of the “leadership lessons from” volumes which seem to be published in an ever-increasing number. I was curious to know what Kaltman had to say about one of our nation’s most successful generals who is also generally viewed as one of our least successful Presidents. The bulk of the book focuses on Grant the general but Kaltman adds a brief section in which he attempts to place Grant the President within an appropriate historical context. The material is organized within 11…

  2. Good solutions for everyday problems This book is an excellent summation of the lessons learned by Ulysses S. Grant in an easy-to-read format. The book is well-paced and divided, following Grant’s victories and defeats in military, civilian and personal battles from his childhood through the Civil War, his presidency, and Kaltman even manages to draw cogent and sobering lessons from his death. For each chapter the author gives a short story and draws a lesson from it. Each lesson is less than two pages, giving the reader an…

  3. Concise, Helpful and Interesting I am regarded as good manager, have little time to read and no knowledge of the Civil War–when I received this book for Christmas I promptly put it on the shelf, and only began flipping through it two months later. Now I wish I had read it years ago. The lessons are concisely worded, and beautifully illustrated with examples from the life of a man who knew his fair share of hardships, successes and failures. It was refreshing to read a book on management written by a successful manager…

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