I usually do not wax poetic about public figures, especially those in politics. I try to remain objective which more often than not means that I am harsher in my judgments of things or people I like. I love Robert Gates and go out of my way to work with and for him. Knowing this, I read A Passion for Leadership trying hard to be objective about it. Even given my aforementioned predisposition towards such scenarios, I loved this book.
I find Gates to be refreshingly honest. I felt this way about his other book, Duty, as well. Gates discusses his failures at length in both books but as A Passion for Leadership is more self-improvement than the memoir, Gates talks about how to avoid his mistakes. Passion goes through Gates own career to offer examples and anecdotes upon which he elaborates and details the things that worked or could have worked better.
While discussing what he thinks leaders should do in certain situations, Gates ALWAYS refers to fictional leader with the pronoun “she”. This is no small or inconsequential decision. I read a lot for work. Most of that reading is recommended by the Chief of Staff of the Army. This book is on that list. Additionally. Gates is a former Secretary of Defense for presidents of both parties. I can not recall a single book on leadership that I have read that used female pronouns for the bosses and supervisors in examples. While I look forward to the day that I don’t notice decisions like this, I think that now and especially in today’s Army, this is kind of a big deal and just reaffirms my opinion of Robert Gates. I hope we have more people like him representing us.