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Dr. Jay Davis

Oct

4

I met Dr. Jay Davis when he left his job running his accelerator laboratory at Lawrence Livermore (and his occasional stints as a world-roving United Nations nuclear weapons inspector) to come to the Pentagon to become the first Director of the several thousand-person Defense Threat Reduction Agency. 

When I was first mentoring young scientists and engineers trembling on the verge of sampling the poisoned chalice of management, I would encourage them to read military history.  To me, such histories provide a fine source of case studies of decision making in circumstances of uncertain data, resources, and boundaries.  I still believe that.  Dave Oliver has gone me one better however.  His personal stories show how one must involve one’s values in building a team that performs well not just technically but at high ethical and interpersonal standards, insuring its long term success.  In addition, the stories are often hilarious, pulling one through at a fabulous pace.  I recommend this great read for anyone building, or rebuilding, a team for high quality performance.”

Jay Davis

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Bronze Rules on Leadership

Sep

5

Venture capitalists often are the most difficult men and women to be defined. This is true of Bob McCormack, who found time to serve the Reagan and Bush Administrations while he was also helping build some of the key blocks of American industry.

I have had the pleasure of working with Admiral David Oliver while serving in the Pentagon from 1987 to 1992.  He has quietly executed some very risky missions for our country while serving in U.S. Submarine Force. During his Naval Career, he demonstrated incredible leadership abilities that had a major impact on the Navy.  Many of these are presented in this book.

Robert C. McCormack
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management & Comptroller) 

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Admiral Jim Hogg.

Jul

21

Admiral Jim Hogg was the Commander of the Seventh Fleet and then Director of Naval Warfare the two times I worked for him. He also served as the US Representative to the NATO Military Committee. For the last twenty years he has been one of the key Navy intellectual forces as Director of the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group.

“Leadership and Risk is a TOP Tier Leadership Workshop with riveting
hands-on, real world stories that reinforce the values of every effective
leadership trait.  Highly credible and described most skillfully by Dave
Oliver. Absolutely compelling!” 

Jim Hogg

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Ann Zumwalt Cuppola — Leadership & Risk

Jun

15

If you knew her father, and spend time around Navy citizens, you eventually meet Ann Zumwalt Cuppola. Just as inevitably, you are impressed. She is a chip off both her Mother’s and Father’s blocks. We are both familiar with many of the same people and challenges. I shared a draft of this book with her. She returned the following:

An irresitible page-turner of compelling vignettes which give detailed insights into high stakes historical drama. What can be learned? An eyelevel sketch of rationales of creative risk takers whose individuality and personality stepped out from the norm of institutional or society’s mold and pushed for change and transformation.   We are given decades of accumulated wisdom of the author and those mentors from whom he learned – Rickover, Zumwalt, Rumsfeld…… Through the internal periscope of their successes and failures, we are compelled to assess the inventory of our own individual strengths, the weakness of our strengths, or perhaps even the strength of our individual weaknesses.

Ann Zumwalt

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More Leadership & Risk

Jun

9

Ralph Crosby is a West Point graduate with Masters degrees from Harvard and the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He served as an aide to General Colin Powell and the Vice President of the United States before beginning his extraordinary industry career, where he was General Manager of the B-2 Program, the President of Northrop’s Integrated Systems Sector and subsequently Chairman and CEO of EADS North America.

Dave Oliver is an extraordinary story teller—and practitioner of the art of leadership.  He has applied his considerable talents to create a powerful and practical compilation of real life experiences relevant to leaders at all levels.  Oliver combines the reality of actual experiences with insightful analysis to reveal the multidimensional keys to effective leadership.  His medium is vignettes of starkly real circumstances, in matters of considerable consequence, often of historical importance.  In their narration, he clearly differentiates between mechanistic principles of management from  the qualitative, human, judgment based qualities that enable the engagement and empowerment of people; thereby creating the alignment necessary to address the real life challenges of organizational performance.  This is leadership in action.  The bonus is that it contains untold military history that is informative to any student of the Cold War.

Ralph D. Crosby, Jr.

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Leadership & Risk (now next Jan)

May

27

Secretary of Defense William J. Perry was an extraordinary steadying influence for years in many Administrations. I was fortunate to know him in several of his different roles.

Dave Oliver had a ringside seat for some of the most significant events that attended the collapse of the Soviet Union.  This fascinating book describes some of those events.  In reading the book you will learn that Dave was not only an observer but a doer; indeed, some of these remarkable events may never have occurred had it not been for Dave’s bold actions.

Bill Perry

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Leadership & Risk

May

15

There were several flag officers that deserved a great deal of credit for shepherded the Navy’s extremely difficult air warfare platform transition following the Vietnam War. There were very publicized development attempts that went awry (e.g. the A-12) and new concepts that needed to be birthed to improve the flexibility, capability and safety of the carrier air wing. Those were some very emotional times and Joe Dyer, John Lockhard and Riley Mixson were great admirals. 

Dave Oliver’s Leadership and Risk speaks to essential tools necessary to shape the future in industry, government or academia – the most important: courage and a bias for action! (VADM) Joe Dyer.

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Leadership & Risk — this Fall

May

2

When your life involves the same profession, mutual friends often appear like meandering strands of ivy along a brick wall, sometimes unexpectedly crossing after years of separate growth. I watched Marv Langston defend his doctoral degree and the last time we served together was when he was the Pentagon’s initial Chief Information Officer.

In this book, Dave Oliver’s exceptional leadership wisdom adds to the legacy of his successful 1992 book Lead On!  Just as he taught me at the Pentagon, his engaging leadership examples teach us that leadership is about the personal strength, character and insight, to lead into risk when risk is needed.

Dr. Marv Langston – a former Navy and Pentagon colleague

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Leadership & Risk

Apr

21

Arthur House is currently the Chief Cybersecurity Risk Officer for the State of Connecticut, as well as a fellow Director of a publicly-held company. Art has had an extraordinary career as a regulatory of utility industries. In public service he specialized in intelligence and worked closely for three different Senators and served as chief of staff to Senator Abraham Ribicoff. Given Art’s personal background, I appreciated his comments on my forthcoming book, 

Oliver draws from a remarkable career of Navy leadership, submarine operations and national security challenges to produce a can’t-put-it down read.

Arthur C. House

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“Leadership and Risk” blurb.

Apr

18

In preparation for the publication cycle, I have been requesting comments on my new leadership book. In some cases their comments reflect the reader’s background. Admiral Bill Houley is one such individual. He understands that leadership is one of those tools that has application across a wide spectrum of challenges. During his naval career, Bill was widely recognized as an extraordinary original leader. He subsequently was asked by President Clinton to run the apparatus that supports the White House and then spent years managing a large hospice organization. Bill sent me the following, “DO YOU THINK YOU COULD DO A BETTER JOB OF RUNNING THIS PLACE?  ARE YOU MISSING SOME OF THE SECRETS OF BEING AN INSPIRATIONAL LEADER?  THIS BOOK PROVIDES SOME ACTUAL CASE STUDIES THAT WILL HELP SENIOR OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVES FILL OUT THEIR RESUMES FOR TOP POSITIONS.”

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