Tony DeMeo


The Genius of Robert E. Lee By Al Kaltman

Robert E. was arguably one America’s greatest generals and leaders. His principles and concepts of leadership enabled him to maximize his resources and lead an undermanned army to victory after victory. He was a man of class and integrity that is a true American icon.

Al Kaltman does a great job of spelling out the lessons of Lee’s leadership and strategy that are valuable to coaches, teachers, military leaders, business leaders and anyone that has a leadership role. This book has been very helpful to me because Lee is a guy who nearly accomplished the impossible and did it with an under-sized Army. To any coach who has taken over a football program on life support or a business man who has been given the task of turning around a business facing bankruptcy – Robert E. Lee can help.

Some of the Principles that I have found helpful are:

  1. Stick to your knitting – do what you’re good at. We might not be good at much but go with your strength.
  2. Be over prepared – do your homework, you can’t win without being detailed in your preparation.
  3. Reward those whose jobs go unnoticed, take care of the unsung heroes.
  4. Know what your opponents are really after – scout your opponent so you understand his strategy.
  5. Treat all mistakes as learning opportunities – don’t dwell on them just learn from them, and never repeat them.
  6. Regular evaluation of performance is far more effective than an end of the year evaluation.
  7. Fighting is the easiest part of a soldiers life, the tough part is the training.
  8. The best leaders don’t care about personal reward or recognition.
  9. Always give credit but never crave credit. Jealousy is unforgivable.
  10. Seize the Day – strike quickly and boldly when an opportunity presents itself. But you must have the flexibility to adapt quickly to any situation. Speed of the attack is critical. Lee was big on audacity.
  11. Concentrate your forces. Focus your attack
  12. Always remember your purpose.
  13. Perception is more important than fact.
  14. There’s nothing worse than a persistent subordinate.
  15. Get better every day, always look for ways to improve.

Robert E. Lee is a positive role model for any leader and Al Kaltman does a great job of uncovering Lee’s genius. I highly recommend this book and would end this book review with a quote to anyone who has fallen on tough times: “Misfortune borne nobly is good fortune” Robert E. Lee.