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Pick Up Your Own Brass: Leadership the FBI Way

Pick Up Your Own Brass: Leadership the FBI Way. By Kathleen McChesney & Wil­liam Gavin. Potomac Books, www.poto­; 192 pages; $19.96.

As a retired career military NCO who spent a good deal of my adult life on firing ranges of all types, I appreciated the meaning behind the title Pick Up Your Own Brass. It is an artfully selected title for a book on leadership.

Essentially, the message is that supervisors and leaders who demonstrate by personal example that they’re not too busy or too self-important to bend over and pick up their own spent brass on the firing range are more effective than others who do not. The same holds true whether you’re on the firing range or in the office.

Pick Up Your Own Brass is a well-written, concise compilation of real-life FBI incidents that are discussed in a way that highlights relevant leadership lessons. McChesney and Gavin masterfully present each story—the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly—with no sugar coating. The narrative is easy to follow. Bullet-point summaries at the end of each chapter bring even more value to this quick read.

The final pages of the book delve into FBI directors throughout the history of the agency. The reader comes away with a greater understanding and respect for the agents of the FBI and their sacrifices.

This book is highly recommended for all leaders and prospective leaders regardless of industry or mission.

Reviewer: Kevin Siegmund CPP, PSP, is IT manager for Regional West Health Services in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He is a retired army military police 1SG and a member of ASIS International.