BOOK REVIEW: IKE'S BLUFF

Takeaway: A great rewind of uniquely American-style Presidential leadership. Buy the book.

Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough shares his thoughts on Ike’s BluffPresident Eisenhower’s Secret Battle To Save The World, by Evan Thomas (2012). The book is a startling account of how the underrated Dwight Eisenhower saved the world from nuclear holocaust.

 

Summary Thoughts

  1. Inspirational book on judgment and accountability in decision making
  2. Sharp contrast to the broken #PoliticalClass concepts of leadership in America today
  3. His greatest victories were the wars he did not fight” –Evan Thomas #indeed

BOOK REVIEW: IKE'S BLUFF - ike

 

Content Highlights

  1. “Eisenhower was the first President to use TV as a bully pulpit, but he was not particularly good at it” (pg 16) #authenticity
  2. “The people, judging from Eisenshower’s high poll ratings, believed that he had sound judgment” (pg 16)
  3. “too many cups of coffee, smoked too many cigarettes, slept badly, and worried far too much.” (pg 18) #accountability
  4. “He knew that he had a gift: the power to make people – indeed, whole peoples – trust him” (pg 28) #trust
  5. “His firstborn child… “Icky”, died of scarlet fever in 1921… and he never really recovered from the loss” (pg 30) like #Jefferson
  6. “Eisenhower had grown up poor in Abilene, Kansas” (pg 33) #perspective
  7. “President Eisenhower’s day usually proceeded with the precision of a military band.” (pg 43) very #process/routine oriented
  8. “Let’s not make our mistakes in a hurry” was one of his standard sayings.” (pg 45) very #patient, risk manager of a man
  9. “Never get in a pissing match with the skunk” (pg 57) to his brother Milton about #McCarthy
  10. “What we found was the result of seven years of yapping was exactly zero. We have no plan.” (pg 59) Ike on #Stalin’s death
  11. “Miss America contestants were asked to state their opinion of Karl Marx” (pg 69) #1950 zeitgeist in America during Korean War 
  12. “More significant was the death of Stalin, the leader most responsible for the conflict” (pg 81) good chapter contextualizing Korea
  13. “The war is over and I hope my son is coming home soon” (pg 81) wars different vs recent US Presidents; #personal responsibility
  14. “Learning To Love The Bomb” (pg 101) Chapter 7, illustrates how politicians in America marketed/sold #fear
  15. “we live by emotion, prejudice, and pride” (pg 105) Ike in an excellent leadership note to #Churchill
  16. “Eisenhower, himself a heavy editor, fiddled with his speeches until the last possible moment” (pg 111) #accountability
  17. “You’ve got to stick your butt out more, Mr President” (pg 115) loved #golf, this was advice from Sam Snead at Augusta
  18. “Eisenhower was astonished at the foolishness of the French” (pg 120) annoyed w/ France at Dien Bien Phu #Vietnam
  19. “You have a row of dominos set up, and you knock the first one over” (pg 127) why he kept USA out of Vietnam #1954
  20. “Eisenhower was an expert in finding reasons for not doing things” (pg 130) –Andy Goodpaster, his Staff Secretary
  21. “Scientists and industrialists must be given the greatest possible freedom to carry out their research” (pg 146) #evolve
  22. “Don’t Worry, I’ll Confuse Them” (Chapter 10) fascinating #strategy chapter on how he’s play the Chinese
  23. “Chiang might have dragged out the crisis had the Red Chinese not backed down. But they did.” (pg 164)
  24.  “Eisenhower had read Clausewitz’s On War – three times” (page 203) #study
  25. “This fellow’s licked and what’s more he knows it” (pg 209) Ike on Adlai Stevenson’s challenge for the Presidency #1956
  26. “icy with anger, warm with satisfaction, sharp with concern” (pg 215) when Ike learned of the #U2 intelligence on Russia
  27. “A crisis in leadership” (pg 255) that’s what Time Magazine said about Ike in #1957, #embarrassing editorial times
  28. “The President must be in some kind of partial retirement” –Walter Lippmann (pg 255) #1957, not knowing what Ike knew
  29. “You can understand that there are many things that I don’t care to allude to publicly” –Eisenhower (pg 260)
  30. “Patience and privacy were virtues of leadership, vices of politics… he was the lonely keeper of the nation’s secrets” (pg 260)
  31. “Psychologically, he could handle the pressure. But physically, he could not” (pg 260) I get it
  32. “The Roman Empire controlled the world… Now the communists have established a foothold in outer space” –#LBJ! (pg 276)
  33. “Ike, who regarded LBJ as a phony” (pg 277) Life Magazine put Lyndon Johnson on the cover, Russian space #FearMongering
  34. “Alsop did what newsmen do: he found other sources. One was Johnson, who cultivated Alsop” (pg 310) gotta love #NYTimes
  35. “Eisenhower was, in effect, his own secretary of defense” (pg 314) #experienced practitioner, not political parrot
  36. “honesty of purpose, calmness, and inexhaustible patience” (pg 331) Ike, on himself, and virtues of #leadership
  37. “Khruschev was surprised and overjoyed to be invited to America by Eisenhower” (pg 335), keep your #enemies close
  38.  “He found her and crawled in beside her” (pg 352) Eisenhower’s best friend, his wife #Mamie
  39. “I’m Just Fed Up!” Chapter 25, classic – U2 crisis blows up with Russia/Khruschev; Eisenhower diffuses the risk, again
  40. “Ike was more comfortable as a soldier, yet his greatest victories were the wars he did not fight” (pg 404) #conclusion

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