It Doesn’t Take a Hero
Senior Seminar in Management
Professor Jeffrey Cothman
February 21, 2008
It Doesn’t Take a Hero
In this book titled “It Doesn’t Take a Hero” (H. Norman Schwarzkopf), General H. Norman Schwarzkopf reveals his remarkable life and career. He begins his autobiography by describing his childhood and how he eventually became a leader in the U.S. Army. This type of autobiography demonstrates how a leader is developed and what is needed in order to succeed in a career as well as how to lead a life by following a motto instated by his past leaders and followers. The autobiography goes through some background and detailed first hand experiences that makes a leader think twice of why he in the situation he is in. With the prestige of having good traits, comes triumph and success. There are sacrifices that come with the leading role and one must improvise, adapt, and overcome these situations. Situations that only come with the experience of becoming a well founded leader. “It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”(Schwarzkopf, 1992) At a very early age his father was a well known and respected leader of the armed forces and the New Jersey police department. His father taught him values and how to conduct himself while growing up, and made him aware that in his absence he was the man of the house. He knew that if he made the wrong move or did a mistake, he would have to answer to his father. He handed him responsibility and he knew that it was a big obligation to fulfill. He was very honored and overwhelmed, but he knew that his father was counting on him to hold down the fort. There were times when curiosity got the best of him and just like any young boy he tried new things to see what would occur. He would receive old medals from his father if he were to behave, and many times he knew that his mother would be very forgiving and not turn him in when things went wrong. There was a time when he did get in trouble and even now he remembers clearly when his father taught him about honor: “No matter what happens, no matter how bad a situation is, no matter what you think the consequences will be if you tell the truth, and honorable man does not lie. A Schwarzkopf does not lie.”(11) It was not only his father who had shown him how to conduct himself, but it was his mother as well. His father would be out on missions for long periods of time and he learned from his mother the need for tolerance. Respect and how to be courteous to all no matter whom they were or what they looked like, is what his mother taught him.
Not everything was as pretty as it seemed, their family had issues that they had to overcome and the fear of loosing the battle away and at home was something that he struggled with on a daily basis when he was young. His mother was left with the entire burden when his father left and it eventually became too much to handle. His mother became an alcoholic and he and his family suffered tremendously from his mother’s sickness. He felt like if he had let his father down when he came home to find this out. Living with all females and putting up with them was too much for him that he decided to convince his father to send him to military school. This was the best thing that happened to him, because from here on he lived an Army world.
During his teenage years he became interested in girls, partying, and breaking curfew. There were times when all that mattered to him was being in with his crowd and he eventually became part of a gang, a gang that at any point would get him in real trouble if they made the wrong move. His father was having a difficult time coping with this type of behavior. His father did not give up on him though; he kept insisting that he needed to do well in school in order to get accepted at West Point. Eventually this phase passed him by and thank goodness nothing serious evolved from this. He became more focused...
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