Book Review “Leadership” by Rudolph Giuliani Essay Example
Book Review “Leadership” by Rudolph Giuliani Essay Example

Book Review “Leadership” by Rudolph Giuliani Essay Example

Available Only on StudyHippo
  • Pages: 18 (4907 words)
  • Published: November 6, 2017
  • Type: Book Review
View Entire Sample
Text preview

Giuliani give in his book, appropriately called “Leadership”, his personal view on the important factors that should encompass leadership. In sixteen chapters he shares the views he learnt over the length of his career in combination with striking examples of his own professional and personal life. When he started to work on his book in the spring of 2001, also his last year of his term as mayor of New York, he did not know that his leadership qualities would be put to the test on last time in September of that year.When on September 11th 2001, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, mayor Giuliani was in the middle of it all. Not only figuratively, being the mayor of the City, but also literally. He found himself near the sight when the planes hit t


he tower, and had to run for his life when the first tower collapsed.

The events that happened that day and in the days after 9/11, made mayor Giuliani decide to add his experiences during this period to his book. He added two additional chapters, one at the beginning and one at the end.The chapters describe how he experienced the events that happened that day and how the city recovered in the weeks following 9/11. These chapters, like the rest of the book, have a narrative style to them.

They show what kind of decisions Giuliani had to make as a leader, but also what he experienced and felt as a person. Although these two chapters do not give the reader any real lessons in leadership, it definitely adds value to the rest of the book. It presents one of th

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

most extreme situations a leader can find himself in and how to deal with such a situation.It complements the other chapters by acting as an example, on top of the examples given already, to help explain the views Rudolph Giuliani has on leadership. As such, these chapters are of no direct relevance for the purpose of this assignment, but they added depth and a sense of “realness” to the book.

This because, every person who reads this book knows what happened on September 11th 2001, remembers all the events, which makes it possible to relate and connect more to the content of the book. The summary of the content will not include the two chapters elaborately, but they will be referred to in connection to other chapters.The chapters individually present a view Giuliani has on leadership, which he clarifies with examples from his on personal career. There are relations to be found between the chapters, but not in a similar way like in a novel.

There is no true story-line to be found in the way Giuliani presents his ideas. He does refer back to specific points in his career, from which he then gives an example, and these are recurring points in his career. For example he refers back several times, in different chapters, to his childhood, his work as a clerk for Judge MacMahon and obviously about his work as the Mayor of New York.Summary of the content.

Apparently the saying “a good start, is half the work” is one Giuliani favors a lot, something that can be derived from reading chapter 1, titled First things First. Every morning at 8 o’clock Giuliani holds a meeting

with his staff members as a way of getting most of the work done already. He meets with his staff for about 45 minutes to an hour, to discuss all problems an issues they have. These meetings have the purpose of decision-making, communicating and even socializing.

But most importantly, it gave Giuliani the opportunity to hold everybody, including himself, responsible for their work.The benefit lies in the fact that staff-members who face a problem on Monday, are certain they would be able to address the issue to the right person the next day at this meeting. This person could be another commissioner, but also the Mayor. The same goes for Giuliani, who can discuss and solve problems within three days. A problem that arises on Monday, will be discussed on Tuesday and a possible course of action or solution can already be presented on Wednesday.

This is not only the way it should work with the morning meetings, but also the way Giuliani intended and expects the meeting to work.When starting as a Mayor of New York, Giuliani found it extremely important to set the tone early on. And important in that is letting people that work for you know how much their work means to you. Furthermore, Giuliani recognizes the importance of starting with small successes. This shows that he can make a difference quickly by making a change or solving a problem.

A problem when he started as Mayor of New York, were people who cleaned windshields of cars at traffic lights and then requested payment for it. This was kind of a nuisance to the people of New York, but the police was not in

any position to do anything about it.Giuliani came up with the idea to fine them for jaywalking and was able to reduce the problem dramatically within a month. And the people of New York loved it.

This shows the importance of starting with a small success, but also about how important it is to know the details. Giuliani comes from a background of being an attorney and therefore suggested to fine these people for jaywalking. He already had knowledge in this area, but also in areas he knew nothing about, he made sure he learned about the details. The fact he wants to know about the details, shows another strong point Giuliani makes in his book; Prepare Relentlessly.Or as he puts it himself “Don’t assume a damn thing”.

He emphasizes that no matter how talented or intelligent leaders are, no one can perform without careful preparation, thoughtful experiment and determined follow-through. He gives the example of running for Mayor the first time in 1989, when he and his team expected to face Koch in the elections. No one in his team, including himself, expected Koch to loose the democratic-party elections from Dinkins. But when he did, Giuliani and his staff had not prepared running for mayor against Dinkins, which was one out of a dozen little things that made him loose the elections.When Giuliani ran for mayor again in 1993, he did not let anything unprepared.

Since there is no guidebook on being a good mayor, he decided to create one himself. He organized 50 lectures in a year and half time, to get to know everything there is to know when being the mayor of New York.

And he was prepared to face anyone in the elections that year. And in 1993 he did get elected as mayor of New York and having learned from his mistakes in 1989. Learning from your mistakes is one thing, being responsible for them is another.

Giuliani points this out by stating that leaders should welcome being accountable for their actions at all times.It builds both confidence for the leader and holds employees at high standards. Giuliani stresses the fact that being open and honest from the start, help to prevent harmful situations to occur. As a prosecutor, whenever he had a witness who had a credibility problem of his or her own, he would bring out those facts immediately. This way he could build up the reputation from this witness again from there. Furthermore he stresses the importance of putting the right person in the right place, giving them freedom to be creative but also give them the responsibility that comes with the position.

Like the title of the chapter already says, Everyone’s Accountable, All of the Time. One of the key aspects which made Giuliani win the elections in 1993, was the strong team he build around himself. He emphasizes to always Surround yourself with great people. For him that means finding the person best suited for the job.

He follows this rule himself when hiring new people and also expects this from the people he hires when they have to fill in vacant positions. Giuliani points out that as a Mayor you have the obligation to your voters, to hire the best-qualified staff.These will be the people that will help you in your work as a

Mayor, who’s first priority are the citizens of New York. Business leaders have a similar obligation to their shareholders. In order to fulfill the needs and wishes of the shareholders, which most likely is maximizing shareholder value, a business leader needs to surround him/herself with great people. Giuliani points out that one of the trickiest things of decision-making is not working out what, but when.

He personally never makes a final decision until he has to. He reasons that the longer you have to make your decision, the more mature and well-reasoned the decision will be.Important here is that he is not talking about postponing decisions, but about take all the time you have to make your decisions. His strongest personal experience with that was when he was facing cancer in 2000.

Giuliani had to make several important decisions regarding the type of treatment he wanted to choose. But he also had to make a totally different decisions all together. He was running for a seat at the Senate in that period and started raising funds for his campaign. Although it seemed impossible to run for Senate and fighting cancer at the same time, he still tried to find a way to make it work.Eventually, after long consideration, he decided he could not run for Senate if he wanted to fight the cancer with a clear mind. With this Giuliani exemplifies how important he feels it is to take as much time as possible to consider every option before making a decision.

A leader must not only manage the results of his actions, but also his expectations. Taking a long time to consider actions as well as expectations

helps in that. Furthermore, Giuliani points out that a leader should be as accurate as possible with projections, and then make their projections on the side of under-promising.Giuliani, a big fan of baseball, gives the example of the 1999 New York Yankees.

They won the world-series in 1998 with a record-breaking 125 wins against only 25 loses. If the team-manager would have promised to do even better the next year, that would have been over-promising. The Yankees did win the world-series that year and everyone in New York, including mayor Giuliani, praised the team with this second consecutive win. On another point, he also emphasizes that if you don’t have an answer, a leader should be honest enough to say that.You can prepare intensely, but if a question arises you don’t have an answer on, you should be open and honest enough to admit that.

And when it comes to projections, Giuliani stresses that is best to under-promise and over-deliver. Giuliani states that “Great leaders, lead by ideas”. With this he points out that it is important for a leader to develop a own set of beliefs and communicate this to your followers. Beliefs develop over time starting as a child. Parents raise their children on certain beliefs and it is likely that children adopt these beliefs.

But these beliefs can also develop or even change over time, which was also the case for Giuliani. As a young man at the age of 21, he was a elected Democratic District Leader in Nassau County. But as the parties changed, so did he. It took a few years, but eventually Giuliani went to the Board of Election and requested

to make a change on his registration card. So eventually, his beliefs, that developed over the years made him change political parties and made him a Republican. As far as communicating your beliefs, Giuliani follows the simple rule of being direct and unfiltered.

A rule connected to his belief that a leader should always be open and honest in what he/she says and does. This also follows the lines of sticking to your work and being able to tailor the message to your specific public. Giuliani states that a leader is chosen because of whoever put him there trusts his judgment, character and intelligence. It is the leaders obligation to act accordingly. In relation to setting the tone, which Giuliani mentioned earlier, a leader should also set the standard of behavior.

It is up to the leader to set the examples if he wants his staff to act in the same way.In other words, a leader should lead by example. A good example of a leader who leads by example is presented by Giuliani in his chapter on Loyalty: the Vital Virtue. Here he talks about his work as a clerk for Judge MacMahon.

He calls this man an inspirational leader, a powerful thinker and a wonderful debater. Besides leading by example, Judge MacMahon showed his devotion to those worked for them. This resulted in great loyalty from the people who worked for him. Giuliani was one of them and because he saw the value of loyalty towards a leader, he made loyalty his cornerstone.

Furthermore he emphasizes that for loyalty to work, it has to be established as a culture throughout the organization. Giuliani refers here to 9/11,

when hundreds of rescuers lost their life, trying to save the life of others. This loyalty to the city, made Giuliani to financially support the families that these rescuers left behind. He made it important that this should be arranged quickly, to show those families that the city recognized what their loves ones meant to the city. That their devotion and loyalty was of great value to the city of New York, its citizens and the Mayor personally.

In the weeks following 9/11, the rescuers that lost their lives were buried. Giuliani tried to go to as much of these funerals as possible, showing his gratitude for what these men and woman tried to do. He also asked the people of New York to go to these funerals, and also show how they valued the efforts of these people. Giuliani points out here that a leader should be there in good times, but especially in hard times. A lesson he learned from his father who took him to funerals when he was a child, explaining to him this was valued dearly by the people that lost a loved one.Another lesson he learned from his father was to stand up to bullies.

As a mayor he often has to deal with labor unions. And the reason he never lets these unions bully him around, is because he has to set the tone. If he lets them do their thing, they will continue doing that and hold the city under control until you as a leader stand up to them. Therefore Giuliani stressed the importance of standing up to bullies as a leader. He knows it is not easy

to do, but states that “the reason you do it early and resolutely is so you don’t have to do it more than you should. As his father was of great influence on Giuliani, so was his mother.

She had a tremendous influence on his education, letting him read a lot of books. From this, Giuliani picked up one of the important things is to teach yourself. Every new passion, being it golf or cigars, made him read up a lot of knowledge on these topics. And also when he had to deal with prostate-cancer, he read a lot of literature on that.

Here again shows that knowing the details and being prepared is something Giuliani values highly. In the weeks after 9/11 Giuliani derived inspiration and encouragement from reading about Winston Churchill. He studied his works before. He read a lot of literature about him.But especially in the weeks after 9/11 he learned a lot from those readings.

This strengthens his point of Study. Read. Learn Independently. When Giuliani heard the story of Elisa Izquierdo, a girl that was placed with her drug-using mother and violent stepfather after her father died, Giuliani researched the Child Welfare Administration. Elisa was beaten to dead by her stepfather, and Giuliani new the system failed.

He did not want this failure to occur again. He organized a whole new agency, solely working on children’s welfare. Before it was still part of a larger agency and had to share a budget.Giuliani build the agency around one purpose, placing children in the right foster care and protecting their welfare.

This example illustrates his point of Organizing around a purpose. The final chapter of this leadership

book by Rudolph W. Giuliani is called Bribe Only Those Who Will Stay Bribed. He strange title for a book written by the mayor of New York, with a background as a prosecutor. But his point in this chapter is simple. Only deal with people you trust completely and you know who will keep a deal when they make it.

A numerous occasions, Giuliani faces dealing with people who had different beliefs or personalities.But because he knew, they would hold their end of the bargain he was willing to work with them. Mutual respect is very important in this matter. An example of this is former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone.

He and Giuliani had to work together a lot but were from different political parties. They had their differences and even sued each other in court. But they ended up being good friends, based on mutual respect. Giuliani knew that Vallone would not always agree with him, but he knew he could expect him to be straight with him. Giuliani emphasizes with this, that he insists on dealing only with people who kept their word.



Key Leadership issues. The above section provides a summary of the content of the book, as well as the key leadership issues dealt with in the book Leadership by Rudolph W. Giuliani. From the book and the summary given in the section preceding this one, the following key leadership issues can be identified:

  • First things First; regular meeting to involve the whole staff in the decision-making.
  • As a leader, set the tone and let people know what their work means to you.
  • Don’t assume a damn thing; prepare intensely.
  • Visualize things for


  • Leaders should welcome being held accountable.
  • Be open and honest. Do what is possible and try what is not.
  • Surround yourself with great people.
  • Find the person best suited for the job and expect the same from them.
  • Analyze strengths and weaknesses, starting with your own.
  • Learn from great teams.
  • Resumes aren’t everything.
  • Motivate your staff.
  • Importance of timing your decision.
  • Reflect on the situation and your options.
  • Be ready to also take decisions when time is short.
  • Hear people out and let them finish what they have to say.
  • Under-promise and Over-deliver.
  • Be accurate with your projections.
  • Promise only when your positive.
  • Develop and Communicate strong beliefs.
  • Develop strong beliefs over time.
  • Communicate these beliefs direct and unfiltered.
  • Stick to your word.
  • Take the appropriate actions.
  • Be loyal if you expect loyalty.
  • For loyalty to mean something it has to be established as a culture throughout the organization.
  • Organize around a purpose.
  • Use charts to visualize the purpose and understand it better.
  • Don’t be afraid to delegate, but let the people you chose do their job and do not interfere.
  • Deal with people you trust oIf you expect people to hold up to their end of the bargain, do so yourself.
  • Ask yourself if the person you are about do deal with can deliver what he or she says. Related to leadership theories. The leaderships issues mentioned in the previous section also relate to theory of the book. This section will show in what way, the views of Giuliani on leadership reflect theories that are discussed during the course. But overall it is clear that the leadership style of Giuliani Resembles transformational leadership the

    most. Transformational leadership builds on four important factors related to leadership.

    These factors include idealized influence or charisma, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration.To start with the meetings Giuliani hold every morning at 8 o’clock, this is related to the individualized consideration as well as the intellectual stimulation. The consideration means that a leader listens to the needs of his followers, which is one of the reasons Giuliani hold these meetings. The stimulation means that a leader should stimulate followers to be innovative and creative. Giuliani holds these meetings to resolve issues as soon as possible. Get them out in the open and brainstorm about the problem.

    This stimulates the members at the meeting to come up with a innovative and creative solution.Giuliani states that “a leader should give others under his authority the same tools he or she would expect”. If he as a mayor gets the opportunity to make his followers listen, he should also give them the opportunity to ask him question and raise problems, which happens in these meetings. Another important aspect mentioned by Giuliani is surrounding yourself with great people. This resembles team-leadership, which are groups composed of members who are interdependent and that have to coordinate their activities to reach a common goal. Giuliani states that as a leader “you can learn from great teams”.

    He hereby refers even to sport-teams. He mentions a team-owner and a manger in baseball, who were unsuccessful in the past. But as a team, they complement each other and helped their team to great success. Giuliani also mentions the importance of motivating his staff to share his goals. He does this by setting the tone

    early on and giving the example. This relates to inspirational motivation where leaders motivate followers to become committed to and a part of a shared vision.

    He also talks about the timing of making decisions as a leader. Here he emphasizes the importance of hearing people out.This means listening to their needs which obviously fits the individualized consideration of transformational leadership. Giuliani is also keen on developing and communicating strong beliefs.

    Or as he puts it, “Great leaders lead by ideas”. Obviously this relates to the whole theory of transformational leadership, where individual engage with others to raise the level of motivation and morality. Leaders in transformational leadership provide followers with a vision and a sense of mission. This is clearly related to the way Giuliani tries to communicate his beliefs to his followers.An important factor he points out is to “tailor the message to your listeners”.

    This could also be related to a sort of situational approach where a leader adapts to the situation and to the maturity of his followers. When looking at his staff-member with whom he has met on a daily basis for eight years, he can expect a moderate to high level of maturity. This would imply a delegating or supporting leadership-style. However when they started, their maturity level was lower which would imply a directing or coaching leadership style.And taking into account 9/11, where the situation obviously changed dramatically, it becomes clear that Giuliani switched between all four of the leadership styles. For example with cleaning up the debris, except for the reason of the debris, the task was pretty much the same.

    Here Giuliani could delegate to the appropriate commissioner. But the

    media-handling in this situation was totally new to everyone. Giuliani had to specifically direct what his press-spokesperson should say to the media. Giuliani also stresses the point of organizing around a purpose.

    This means having a clear goal and organizing your efforts around that.This again relates to communicating a vision to your followers, which is part of the transformational leadership. But it also relates to the path-goal theory. Here, the leader motivates subordinates to accomplish designated goals.

    It is also the role of the leader to remove obstacles along the path, and guide subordinates to the goal. Giuliani had a clear goal when it came to organizing child welfare in New York. Since he could not lead the subordinates of that new agency to its primary goal, he appointed someone else. He characterized this person as being “clear and supportive” towards his subordinates.Characteristics a leader should have according to path-goal theory. If you look at the position Giuliani has as a Mayor of New York, it is clear that he has to face numerous different situations.

    To him personally, as a Mayor, the situational approach is best applicable. In some situations, he finds himself with staff-members who are well aware of the problem and know how to deal with it. They are mature and therefore Giuliani can adopt a delegating leadership style. On other occasions, like 9/11, he and his staff have to face the unexpected and then Giuliani needs to adopt a more directing leadership style.

    Throughout his time as Mayor of New York he proofed to be able to do this. But looking at the person Rudolph Giuliani, the most suitable approach mentioned in theory would be

    the transformational approach. He acts as a charismatic leader and is also perceived by his followers as someone who has charisma. Throughout his career he developed strong beliefs which he communicates direct and unfiltered. He states that “everywhere I start, I want to start with a small success”.

    By doing this he tries to raise the level of motivation and morality amongst his followers and create loyalty amongst them.The loyalty he gets in return, raises his level of motivation and morality then as well. As a leader he has strong beliefs and values, he appears competent to his followers in what he does and he exhibits confidence in his followers to meet his expectations. And he motivates his staff based on loyalty and trust.

    He stated “I insisted on only dealing with people who keep their word”, so when you work for him you know you have his trust and that he is as loyal to you as you are to him. This is probably one of the best ways for a leader to motivate subordinates. Therefore it can be said that Rudolph W.Giuliani act, according to the theory of being a transformational and charismatic leader. Good Leadership in Practice? After reading the book, I really got the feeling that Giuliani was a charismatic leader who had all the aspects of being a great leader.

    The way he handled every situation he described, showed that showed great leadership skills. I would say that Giuliani performs good leadership in practice. He is able to motivate his people to go the extra mile. He does this by showing confidence in them, by motivating based on trust and loyalty which works

    both ways and leading by example. People need to see a leader to his job.Going to the sights of 9/11, the hospitals and the funerals showed the people of New York that he genuinely cared.

    As he stated himself that you have to base your decisions on statistical analysis and on intuition, my intuition is that he has what it takes to be a great leader. But also statically, it shows that he made a difference for the city of New York. There is a whole appendix on what he complicated as a Mayor. For instance, murders dropped by two-third during the 8 years he was mayor of New York. But basing myself again only on intuition I also feel that after reading this book, I can say that Giuliani is a charismatic leader.

    Not only based on how he acted specifically after 9/11 or during his whole period as mayor but, also based on the stories from the rest of his career. And of course the fact that his views on leadership reflect, not only the theory of the book, but also my own. His values and beliefs, being open and honest, being direct, working based on trust and loyalty, surrounding yourself with great people and organize your efforts around a purpose; these are all aspects I agree on when deciding on how a leader should act in practice. LimitationsI based my opinion on reading his book, comparing with the theory and my own intuition on what knew about Rudolph W. Giuliani. My own knowledge on how he is as a leader, only stems from what I have heard about him around the time of the

    terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.

    Related to that, I remember him being named “Man of The Year” by time-magazine. To make a full decisions on whether or not his leadership style is good in practice, also the criticism on his leadership should be compared with what I know now. The book itself offers criticism on Giuliani, which is obvious since it is a biography.He will not put in the criticism others have on him. But to follow one of his own views, being open and honest, I would not have been bad if he included that criticism and defend himself on it with this book. But to go on another rule of Giuliani, that he deals only with people who keep their word, I can trust on it that his word in this book is true.


    1. Giuliani, R. G. (First Edition). Leadership.
    2. New York, Talk Miramax Books: Hyperion. Northouse, P. G. (Latest edition).
    3. Leadership. Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Yukl.
    Get an explanation on any task
    Get unstuck with the help of our AI assistant in seconds