Summary of The Rumsfeld Way

The Leadership Wisdom of a Battle-Hardened Maverick

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The Rumsfeld Way book summary
Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know, don’t lie, don’t act without deliberation, and don’t mess around with Rumsfeld.


7 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

6 Style


Jeffrey Krames’ biography of current U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is laced with leadership advice and built on databases and clips. This short book, at last, places Rumsfeld’s long career into a coherent framework. Probably to hit a wartime deadline, Krames based the text primarily on work published about Rummy over a 40-year period, and not on independent research. In fact, a disclaimer says the book has no endorsement or authorization from Rumsfeld or anyone around him. In the 1970s, Rumsfeld published a long list of bland but entertaining aphorisms under the title, "Rumsfeld’s Rules." Krames draws many of his leadership suggestions from that compilation. But the chronology about Rumsfeld’s career dominates and fascinates. Rumsfeld is far more interesting than he seems, a much more potent and historic figure. For that reason, recommends this book to corporate officers, journalists, news junkies, political operatives, disgruntled Saudis and all defense contractors.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Donald A. Rumsfeld used a clever coalition to plot his rise in politics
  • What Rumsfeld accomplished in business and government
  • How he is well-prepared to be defense secretary during the war on terror


Rumsfeld’s Moment
President George Walker Bush phoned Secretary of Defense Donald A. Rumsfeld from his jet on September 11, 2001. Bush felt (and still feels) total confidence delegating important tasks to Rumsfeld. On that dire afternoon, as the newspapers reported, Bush told Rumsfeld, "...
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About the Author

Jeffrey A. Krames is vice president and editor-in-chief of McGraw-Hill’s Trade Division. He is considered an expert on leadership. He is also the author of The Jack Welch Lexicon of Leadership.

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