REVIEW: Christopher Kolenda — Leadership: The Warrior’s Art (BOOK)

Christopher Kolenda’s editorial effort Leadership: The Warrior’s Art is a welcome relief from traditional compilations. For one, Mr. Kolenda lets each contributor breathe as an individual with each piece of meditation, the other being he knows how to subtly entwine each story so as to create a centered, narrative whole.


The book, as its title would suggest, is a series of ruminations on the nature of leadership. Kolenda brilliantly demonstrates in his opening piece how many aspects of the heroic leader throughout history have remained relatively the same. “The ancient Greeks and Romans explored the essence of good leadership in all its depth, complexity, and beauty. They sought to understand human nature and thus arrived at ideas on leadership that transcend time and context,” he writes. “Language, of course, differs over the millennia, but the fundamentals have remained unchanged. Today we teach leaders to be their best selves — to be authentic; the ancients told them to ‘know thyself.’ Today we highlight character and competence; the ancient Greeks taught the same but called it areté, the embodiment of excellence and moral virtue. Today we discuss vision and mission; the ancients discussed telos (the end) and eidos (the idea). Today we insist on respect and good stewardship from leaders; the ancients talked about moral equality and the duty of the leader to be a caretaker.”

True to aforementioned form, this kind of timelessness and versatility is affirmed by the piece Leadership, Versatility, and All That Jazz by contributing writer Gordon R. Sullivan in the book’s third chapter. “We may not yet see clearly the face of future war, but we have seen the face of our future brand of leaders. As the commissioned and noncommissioned officers of America’s Army look further into the twenty-first century, we would do well to consider the examples of two Americans of the previous century who demonstrated the versatility to which we all aspire.

Their fields of endeavor differed greatly, perhaps as widely as one could imagine. Yet the two men shared a common approach to their respective pursuits, and it is that style, that disposition, that demands our consideration,” he writes. “…The first step in becoming a leader in any walk of life is easy to say but not easy to do — become an expert. In professional life, knowledge is power, and the capacity to gather, interpret, organize, and use available information is one of the major features distinguishing the versatile leader from the time server. Good leaders, real artists, are experts. They know the fundamentals of their craft…”


This kind of consistency throughout the read, juxtaposed with each writer’s unique fixations and narrative focal points, makes Leadership: The Warrior’s Art not only drive its point home most effectively, but also be a narratively sound and fluid experience. It’s a nice thing to see, as so many books underwhelm because of the clash of differing opinions, voices, and perspectives. They often fail to unify in any identifiable way by an editorial presence not necessarily incompetent, but decidedly short on objectivity. Kolenda certainly has his opinions, but he is able to balance them with a healthy dose of that objectivity. Job well done.

Colin Jordan




Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer

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Colin Jordan

Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer

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