Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey – a Review

 

RisingChallengeCarly Fiorina’s latest book, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey, was released in May. She’s already written a bestselling autobiography, so this isn’t one. It’s part update and part manifesto — as one would expect from a book tied to a presidential bid. As might be expected, it suffers somewhat from the defects of the genre. Still, it’s short, punchy, and gives you the essence of what a Fiorina presidency would be about: unlocking human potential and, as a part of that, dismantling bureaucracies. Puncturing politics-as-usual balloons. It’s a well-crafted message, delivered with panache and the extreme message discipline she exhibits when addressing The View, CPAC, or Chris Matthews.

There is some biz-speak witchdoctory in her discussions of technology and globalization, although she recognizes that they “are inexorable and unstoppable, in part because, despite all the disruption they cause, they also satisfy the basic human desire for lives of more opportunity and more control.” She conjures up her DMVP Big Idea (Digital, Mobile, Virtual, Personal) or her Leadership Framework. (With diagrams!) But she pulls it together in an appealing way:

America’s decline is neither necessary nor inevitable. Our wounds are all self-inflicted, our problems are all solvable, out potential and possibilities are as vast as they have ever been. We need different politics, different policies, and different leaders.

Politics like hers, policies like hers, and leadership like hers, obviously. That is, after all, the point of the book.

Fiorina writes about bureaucracies in an interesting way:

The people of government are not incompetent. However, a large, ponderous bureaucracy, bound by rules, defined by hierarchy, is necessarily incompetent in the DMVP age. Bureaucracies literally cannot keep pace with the speed of change, the ubiquitous nature of information, or the complexity of the problems they are asked to solve. Bureaucracies were invented to maintain control. The twenty-first century cannot be controlled. It can be leveraged and harnessed, but it cannot be controlled. Only ingenuity, flexibility, and creativity can prevail. And bureaucracies – by their nature – kill all these things.

The final chapter is where she really makes her pitch. It’s clear that she has thought long and hard — and with clarity — about how to get stuff done in Washington.

Would Carly Fiorina make a good President of the United States? I think so. Would she make a good general election candidate? Who can say. As she points out, the mendacious “war on women” rhetoric did significant damage to her senatorial campaign, so being a woman is no defence against that canard. And of course, she’s actually done things in the real world, and is vulnerable because she’s actually made decisions and taken actions that had consequences.

She certainly has an attractive way of communicating and a vision for the transformation of Washington. It would be a great pity to lose those from the public square.

Published in Domestic Policy, Elections, General
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There are 14 comments.

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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    genferei: The people of government are not incompetent. However, a large, ponderous bureaucracy, bound by rules, defined by hierarchy, is necessarily incompetent in the DMVP age. Bureaucracies literally cannot keep pace with the speed of change, the ubiquitous nature of information, or the complexity of the problems they are asked to solve. Bureaucracies were invented to maintain control. The twenty-first century cannot be controlled. It can be leveraged and harnessed, but it cannot be controlled. Only ingenuity, flexibility, and creativity can prevail. And bureaucracies – by their nature – kill all these things.

    I admire this formulation too.

    Wherever she ends up, she will do a lot of good.

    • #1
  2. Fredösphere Inactive
    Fredösphere
    @Fredosphere

    Hmmm. Book covers are really, really, really important. Seems like somebody picked an unusually unflattering portrait of Fiorina for that cover. She looks better than that.

    • #2
  3. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    I would be very happy with Rubio, Fiorina and Kasich being on the top or bottom of the ticket.  I’d like a great job for the third person.

    Thanks for the head’s up about Carly’s book.

    • #3
  4. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Fredösphere:Hmmm. Book covers are really, really, really important. Seems like somebody picked an unusually unflattering portrait of Fiorina for that cover. She looks better than that.

    I like that portrait of Fiorina. She looks serious and in control, not a flippy TV star.

    • #4
  5. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    ok – but let us nitpick her appearance nonetheless.

    Her face is too tall, especially for that haircut.  And there is something odd about her mouth.  I know it has nothing to do with her qualifications, but these things stand out every time you hear her speak.

    And no, it’s not a sexist thing, it would be all too obvious to point out that Christie is fat and that Walker seems to be balding…  may as well get the easy stuff out of the way so these guys can start focusing on policy questions.

    • #5
  6. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I quite like her voice – for better or worse, higher-registered voices are harder to get “right” as presidential material. The risks are everywhere from 1-900-like voices to fish-wifery (like Hillary).

    But Carly’s voice works really well. She sounds both approachable and highly thoughtful and reasonable.

    • #6
  7. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    So she needs a different hair cut, big deal! Picky, picky, picky!

    • #7
  8. Fredösphere Inactive
    Fredösphere
    @Fredosphere

    Kay of MT:So she needs a different hair cut, big deal! Picky, picky, picky!

    No, I object to the skin tone. A little pale and sickly for me.

    • #8
  9. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Where did you get those shoes?!

    • #9
  10. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    Bummer. Not on Audible

    • #10
  11. Copperfield Inactive
    Copperfield
    @Copperfield

    After Thursday night, I made a small donation to her campaign.  Am I a hard Carly supporter?  Not yet.  Call me undecided (moved from a hard Walker supporter – all kinds of executive talent, but needs to step it up as a candidate).  But, she deserves a spot in the field, if for no other reason than that she will make the other candidates better; raise the level of their games, and harden the eventual nominee (if it isn’t her) for battle in the general election.

    As for her time at HP, she implemented change that seemed to anger entrenched interests in the organization and didn’t back down when challenged; sounds like just what the Washington bureaucracy needs.

    • #11
  12. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    Carly’s fortunes will rise or fall with Hillary’s. If HRC is not the Democratic candidate nothing Carly does or says will matter. She’ll just be that woman who got crushed a few years ago by Barbara Boxer.

    Her dismissal from HP is also problematic. She’s interviewing for a bigger job and the folks doing the hiring have to be a bit doubtful about the messy end of her previous employment, no matter what the reasons.

    She has offered her explanation and will continue to do so. But when you’re explaining, you’re losing.

    • #12
  13. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Fredösphere: Book covers are really, really, really important. Seems like somebody picked an unusually unflattering portrait of Fiorina for that cover. She looks better than that.

    That was my impression, too. I was also a bit surprised by the cover to Ted Cruz’s campaign book. Cruz is many things, but facially symmetrical is not one of them.

    • #13
  14. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Ball Diamond Ball:Where did you get those shoes?!

    Thanksalot.  Made me snort coffee thru my nose.

    • #14
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