Learn to say ‘I don’t know.’ If used when appropriate, it will be often.
 
The only thing that should be surprising is that we continue to be surprised.
 
Prune -- prune businesses, products, and activities. Do it annually.
 
Many people have the ability to review something and make it better. Few are able to identify what is missing.
 
If you are working from your inbox, you are working on other people's priorities.
 
"Never give an order outside the chain of command and never expect to learn anything up the chain of command." - Adm. Hyman Rickover
 
Weakness is provocative. Time and again it has invited adventures that strength might well have deterred.
 
The three rules of politics: if you run, you may lose; if you tie, you do not win; and, most importantly, you can't win unless you are on the ballot.
 
Bureaucracy can become a conspiracy to bring down the big. You may need to be large to compete on the world stage, but don't allow size to mask poor performance.
 
Rumsfeld's Rules Cover Search the Rumsfeld Papers Suggest Your Own Rule

"[Rumsfeld] was the best and toughest boss I ever had. I guess you could say I was an early practitioner of Rumsfeld's Rules. I learned from them. I taught them to others."

- Vice President Dick Cheney

"Donald Rumsfeld has been one of the remarkable personalities in American public life. His book of maxims and lessons learned is sure to engage and enlighten."

- Henry A. Kissinger

"A brilliantly useful set of ideas, boiled down to their essence."

- George P. Shultz

The legendary leadership guide, distilled from a lifetime of wisdom and experience in government and business.

Throughout his long and distinguished career—as a naval aviator, a U.S. Congressman, a top aide to four American presidents, a high-level diplomat, a CEO of two Fortune 500 companies, and the only twice-serving Secretary of Defense in American history—Donald Rumsfeld has collected hundreds of pithy, compelling, and often humorous observations about leadership, business, and life. When President Gerald Ford ordered these aphorisms distributed to his White House staff in 1974, the collection became known as “Rumsfeld’s Rules.”

First gathered as three-by-five cards in a shoebox and then typed up and circulated informally over the years, these eminently nonpartisan rules have amused and enlightened presidents, business executives, chiefs of staff, foreign officials, diplomats, and members of Congress.  The rules have earned praise from the Wall Street Journal as “Required reading,” and from the New York Times which said: “Rumsfeld’s Rules can be profitably read in any organization…The best reading, though, are his sprightly tips on inoculating oneself against that dread White House disease, the inflated ego.”

Meanwhile, the collection continued to grow as Rumsfeld added new rules derived from things he read, heard, or observed in more than eight decades of a remarkable life. Now these legendary rules are made available for the first time to everyone. Rumsfeld has selected his most useful and important rules for effective leadership, enhanced with fresh insights and entertaining anecdotes, and discusses them in the blunt and witty style that made his Pentagon press conferences “must-see TV.”

Distilled from a career of unusual breadth and accomplishment, and organized under practical topics like hiring people, running a meeting, and dealing with the press, Rumsfeld’s Rules can benefit people at every stage in their careers and in every walk of life, from aspiring politicos and industrialists to recent college graduates, teachers, and business leaders.

The book provides unprecedented insight into leadership, management, strategy, and life—thinking that not only helped Rumsfeld lead the Pentagon in wartime, but earned him a reputation as one of America’s toughest and most effective CEOs.

 
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