6 min read ⌚
Truth, Lies, and Leadership
After the Hillary Clinton email controversy, James Comey, then Director of FBI, became a household name in most American homes.
Some celebrated him as a hero; others reviled him as a villain.
In the view of everybody, he was the man who won Trump his presidency.
On May 9, 2017, that very same Trump dismissed Comey from his position.
Which is why “A Higher Loyalty,” James Comey’s part memoir, part book-length discussion of ethics and leadership, was so eagerly awaited.
Now, we have the summary!
Who Should Read “A Higher Loyalty”? And Why?
We’ve already provided you with a couple of summaries of books which offer an inspecting behind-the-scenes look at Washington’s inner workings, most recently John McCain’s “The Restless Wave” and Ben Rhodes’ “The World as It Is.”
However, “A Higher Loyalty” is a bit different than all of them, since it comes from a life-long Republican appointed Director of FBI by a Democrat and fired from the position by another Republican – the very same – most people would say – he had indirectly helped to claim the presidency.
So, this makes “A Higher Loyalty” an even more appealing read and everyone eager to find out more about the US 2016 Presidential Race and everything after shouldn’t miss this one for the world.
About James Comey
James Comey is an American lawyer and former Director of the FBI.
A registered Republican, he was appointed to the position by Barack Obama in 2013, four years before being dismissed by President Donald Trump.
In the meantime, James Comey was responsible for opening an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as a Secretary of State, which reopened merely days before the elections; many believe that this had a decisive impact on the close race between the two candidates.
“A Higher Loyalty” is Comey’s first and, so far, only book.
“A Higher Loyalty PDF Summary”
On January 27, 2017, just two or three weeks after first meeting Trump, James Comey, then Director of the FBI, dined alone with the President at the White House.
Trump wanted to learn from Comey if he was under an investigation concerning Russia’s meddling in the US 2016 elections, and James told him that he wasn’t.
After this, Trump uttered an ominous sentence:
I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.
Comey promised Trump honesty.
In return, on May 9, he got the boot.
He didn’t expect that to happen, but, nevertheless, he expects that, in time, justice will prevail, and enough evidence will be found to prove that his dismissal was merely the final act of a long list of subtle actions with which the President tried obstructing justice.
One with which Trump tried to punish him for choosing “A Higher Loyalty” instead of a more personal one.
But, James Comey was always going to be someone serving a higher law.
When he was merely sixteen years old, a gunman – probably the Ramsey Rapist – broke into the home of his family, holding him and his younger brother Pete at gunpoint and stealing whatever he was able to find.
Comey was all but sure that this was going to be the last day of his life.
When he and Pete escaped unharmed from the ordeal, James reevaluated his life and heard his true calling for the first time: he was going to be someone who helps people.
At first, he wanted to be a doctor, but, as a pre-med student at William and Mary College, he happened upon the philosophy of Reinhold Niebuhr, and this changed his worldview once again.
So much so that he chose to use the name Reinhold Niebuhr as a cover for his very own Twitter account.
(By the way, even if you don’t know who Niebuhr is, you certainly know the Serenity Prayer – well, he wrote that!)
Anyway, influenced by Niebuhr, Comey decided to become a lawyer, and, as one, he got a job in the United States Attorney’s office in Manhattan, working for none other than Rudy Giuliani during his most exciting mobster-hunting period.
However, the most important thing he learned from Giuliani was the necessity of a trait the former mayor of New York City (and Trump’s attorney) lacked: humility.
In Comey’s opinion, no man can really become a leader until he develops humility and understanding that he doesn’t have all the answers.
Allegedly, Obama had that in abundance, soliciting opinions from those who disagreed with him and listening attentively.
Trump, on the other hand, is even less humble than Giuliani, speaking nonstop (and mostly about himself) and ending meetings the very second someone challenges his opinion.
Consequently, Comey is deeply worried:
I am writing in a time of great anxiety in my country. I understand the anxiety, but also believe America is going to be fine. I choose to see opportunity as well as danger.
Donald Trump’s presidency threatens much of what is good in this nation. We all bear responsibility for the deeply flawed choices put before voters during the 2016 election, and our country is paying a high price: this president is unethical and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego-driven, and about personal loyalty…
I say this as someone who has worked in law enforcement for most of my life and served presidents of both parties. What is happening now is not normal. It is not fake news. It is not okay.
We believe you, Comey.
We certainly do.
Key Lessons from “A Higher Loyalty”
1. James Comey Was Bullied as a Child… but Had a Great Boss
2. What Is Integrity: The Cases of Martha Stewart and Hillary Clinton
3. James Comey’s Six Traits of Great Leaders
James Comey Was Bullied as a Child… but Had a Great Boss
James Comey was born in 1960, in Yonkers, New York.
However, when he was in fifth grade, his family moved to Allendale, New Jersey, and James suddenly stopped being a popular kid.
On the contrary, he was now constantly bullied, on account of his bad haircut and patched-up clothes, both courtesy of his mother and some serious financial difficulties.
Fortunately, he had a great boss, Harry Howell, who prided himself on the cleanliness of his local grocery store.
And he was all a good leader should be: firm but not tyrannical, powerful yet merciful.
One time, after Comey had spilled numerous milk bottles, and Howell caught him mopping the mess up, he merely asked him: “Did you learn a lesson?”
Good, clean it up,” he added once he heard James’ authentic “Yes.
What Is Integrity: The Cases of Martha Stewart and Hillary Clinton
Many blame James Comey for seeking the spotlight, but, in his opinion, he’s merely doing his job.
That was the case back in 2003 when it was revealed that Stewart had sold her shares in ImClone Systems, after receiving a nonpublic tip from Peter Bacanovic, her broker.
The amount she saved?
However, she subsequently lied to federal investigators, so Comey voted to persecute her, after which Stewart got five months in prison.
It needed to be done – Comey writes – since if it was a regular citizen, it certainly would have been done.
The same holds true for the Hillary Clinton email controversy.
In retrospective, Comey is obviously sad that his decision to reopen the investigation two weeks before the elections may have changed too many minds, but, even so, he would do it again.
Because the American public deserved to know before the elections, and because it was the right thing to do.
James Comey’s Six Traits of Great Leaders
In Comey’s pantheon of leaders, Barack Obama deserves a high place, because, for all his faults, he did have a fair amount of almost each of the six essential traits of great leaders.
In Comey’s opinion, a great leader should have:
#1. A sense of decency and integrity;
#4. Transparent motivations;
#5. An awareness that people like to live meaningful lives; and
#6. An understanding that while words matter, actions matter even more.
Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.
“A Higher Loyalty Quotes”
Our Critical Review
Even before its release, “A Higher Loyalty” met with criticism from the Republican National Committee which even launched a website in an attempt to discredit Comey.
Even so – or possibly because of it – the book became a bestseller on presale orders only.
And, really, it doesn’t disappoint.
Let’s leave it at that.