According to a telephone call this morning, Naval Institute is on the verge of deciding to publish my Against the Tide (working title) next fall.
This non-fiction book uses previously unrecounted history to demonstrate the unique management practices of the man who invented the nuclear submarine, changed the culture of a two-hundred-year-old institution and affected the outcome of the Cold War?
Many Americans remember little of his accomplishments. Rickover’s achievements were largely Top Secret, he did not have a charming personality to begin with and like Barbara Streisand, he stayed too long at the fair. Nevertheless he was an extraordinary manager with lessons for all of us.
This book captures the essence that was Admiral Hyman G. Rickover (as Eleonore Rickover told me after she read the draft, “this sounds like the Admiral”) for anyone who hopes to be a leader. This is not a book of eulogy, for not everything Rickover did was praiseworthy. And while every President was Rickover’s friend — and even his numerous enemies would acknowledge he transformed warfare at sea — many of Rickover’s interpersonal relationships were [needlessly (?)] confrontational. This meant some of his efforts became impossible simply because he was easily one of the most hated and controversial individuals to ever wear a uniform.
The Admiral’s obvious imperfections serve to make his distinctive leadership methods worth studying. How in the world did he succeed? If it were good management that pulled him up, what did he use to overcome the obvious flaws that kept him down so long? Can other managers benefit from the same tools?
I hope so.