“Leadership Triumphs & Failures” Dr. Aris Petasis (Author) on AMAZON: This 385-page “Leadership Triumphs & Failures” book was consistently in the top 20 books on Amazon.co.uk’s “Best selling new and future releases” (Kindle edition) throughout the first month of its release (December 2019). The book is aimed at an international readership and as such contains multiple references to leaders from around the world. A small part of the book covers Greek leaders from Themistocles and Pausanias to Tsipras; American leaders from Jefferson to Clinton and Russian leaders from Generalisimos Suvorov to Yeltsin, etc.
The author postulates that “leadership” cannot be explained through a set of traits and that there has never been an ideal leader (not even Cimon of Athens). All leaders come with good as well as bad characteristics but in the end most fall victim to: praise, hubris, haughtiness and self-love that gradually erode people’s character. But minor exceptions such as Jose Mujica (of Uruguay) do exist. The ideologue communist Lula (of Brazil) eventually ended up in prison on account of corruption (he denies it).
The author lists three main pillars on which leadership stands: a) Willingness to lead. This is personified by Xenophon. With the assassination of Clearchus and the other generals he (26 years old then) came forward to lead the army of trapped Greek fighters on Persian soil, telling them, “He who wishes to live must try and win”; in the end he succeeded, b.) Leader performance. Soviet General Zhukov always came out victorious (“where Zhukov and victory” / “где жуков там победа”), and c) Leader morality. Nelson Mandela with his moral behaviour saved South Africa from civil war.
Must reading for anyone wishing to consider leadership from a fresh vantage point through countless examples: Alexander the Great, Attlee, Churchill, Ypsilantis, Alex Ferguson, Kennedy, Capodistrias, Mubarak, Mugabe, Stalin, Mao, Harold and Woodrow Wilson, etc. A useful book for those who wish to understand how: “charisma”, “oratory”, “courage”, “realism”, “idealism”, “decisiveness”, etc work in practice. The author laments the fact that, with only a few exceptions, Modern Greek leadership has not met the leadership standards set by their illustrious ancestors.