Most of the readers of this book are not going to be elected President of the United States. Chances are most will not work or even aspire to work in the White House. But a number of the lessons useful for service in the White House are every bit as applicable to other organizations, even those who work in offices that are not oval. The president is in some ways like a Fortune 500 chief executive officer—except with a considerably bigger job and a much smaller salary.

When I was a youngster in Illinois in the 1930s, I never dreamed I might end up working closely with four U.S. presidents. My first memory of a president is of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who as commander in chief during World War II seemed ...

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