‘an original, very-well written and serious book which add to the quality of public discussion.’
‘This is a book full of riches – a despatch from deep inside the British state about how it really operates and how it could be run better. In places, Simon McDonald wields his fluent pen like a blowtorch. His candour burns the page. Some of the most eminent in the land will rush to the index. Some will be right to tremble if they find their name.’
When Abraham Lincoln said, ‘You can be anything you want to be,’ Americans, and eventually everybody everywhere, lifted their sights. Nowadays anybody can aspire to be a leader, and nearly everybody has to lead sometimes.
In his first book, Simon McDonald assumes that thinking about leadership before you lead helps you lead better. No matter the circumstances in which we might be called to lead – be it at work, on the sports field, or in the community – the example of top leaders in politics and public service (both their successes and shortcomings) can help you figure out your own approach.
As the head of HM Diplomatic Service, Simon McDonald was responsible for over 14,000 staff in 270 countries worldwide and worked for six foreign secretaries and saw five prime ministers operate at close quarters. Observing these people undertaking the most important and often the most difficult work in the country, he saw the behaviours which helped them to acheive their objectives, and those which hindered them.
SIMON MCDONALD was the British ambassador to Germany and later permanent under-secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and head of Diplomatic Service. He is master-elect of Christ’s College, Cambridge
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