Read: September 2020

Inspiration: How did Colin Powell become a public figure, often associated with the struggles of the war in Iraq?


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“It Worked for Me”, published in 2014 by retired four-start general and former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, reflects on Powell’s life and career and shares the lessons he has learned along the way. The book is divided into several chapters, each of which focuses on a different aspect of Powell’s life and the lessons he has learned. Some of the topics covered in the book include leadership, teamwork, and the importance of education. Throughout the book, Powell provides a candid and personal look at his life and the challenges he has faced. He also offers insights into the principles and values that have guided him and how they can be applied to one’s own life. Overall, “It Worked for Me” is a thought-provoking look at Powell’s life and career and the lessons he has learned along the way.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

Loyalty is disagreeing strongly and loyalty is executing faithfully so get mad and get over it, “fear and cynicism move nothing forward. they kill progress. how many cynics built empire, great cities, or powerful corporations?”, “don’t run if you can walk, don’t stand up if you can sit down, don’t sit down if you can lie down, and don’t stay awake if you can go to sleep”, key to communication is tell what you know and what don’t know and what you think and always distinguish which from which, “bad news, unlike wine, doesn’t get better with time”, think through secondary effects of decision to be sure not wishful thinking, Powell Doctrine: using decisive force to achieve a successful outcome like Desert Storm 91 and Panama invasion 89 BUT war is to be last resort (however must be be on the table to achieve specific political objective if necessary), 2001 Afghan and 2003 Iraq initially work but then lack clear objectives and decisive force, Iraq 03 to take down Saddam but not really consider aftermath (wishful thinking replace strategy and realism), US take down Saddam March 03 and declare victory but not impose will and take charge to control Iraq after Baghdad fall, raging insurgency followed and surge of troops 2006 (Pottery Barn Rule: you break it, you own it), Iraq needed sense of security and basics while US focus on oil prod’n and stock market setup, US abandon good plan and get rid of highly skilled Iraqis at the bottom and celebrate early, at time of Feb 03 UN speech best intel confirmed WMDs in Iraq, but these sources eventually proved not credible but no one spoke up at the time

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Welcome to JeffReads, where I share summaries of the best books I’ve read on business, politics, science, technology and more.




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