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Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun
By: Wes Roberts
Roberts starts the book out with his Author's notes here he describes how he came about the topic of the book and where he got his information. He then moves on the preface where he explains a little about leadership and how it is incorporated throughout the book in relation to Attila the Hun. The next part of the book Roberts calls the introduction. Here he gives you some history about the Huns and how they rose to power. Roberts also tells the reader about the life that Attila the Hun and how he led the Hunnish army through many conquests. This part of the book proved to be very interesting, especially for those who are not al that familiar with the Huns. This part of the book is necessary to read in order to understand how the book was written.
The book is setup so that the title of each chapter states a leadership quality. The first part of each chapter gives a little bit of brief history as an example of how Attila used those leadership qualities. The second part of the chapter goes on with some dialogue that is in first person like it is actually coming from Attila's mouth. Finally, Roberts ends each chapter with a few quotes from Attila describing what the chapter was about. The setup for the book works as it reads fairly quickly and smoothly.
Roberts starts the first chapter on leadership qualities where he describes all of the qualities that Attila possessed and thought where vital to the success of a leader. Roberts goes onto name all of those qualities and they serve as the basis for the rest of the book. Each succeeding chapter describes one of these qualities a little more in depth. Some of those qualities that Roberts describes are: desire, competitiveness, responsibility, delegation, and decision making.
One of the more unique chapters in the book was when Roberts was explaining Attila's delegation techniques. Roberts claims that this was one of the main reasons Attila was so successful. In the introduction of the book Roberts explains that Attila went to Rome to study under their king and while he was there he learned many successful techniques that he was going to install in the Huns. Delegation was one of these techniques that Attila had learned while in Rome.
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Roberts goes on talk about another great reason why Attila was so successful and that was his decision making process. Decision making was key to Attila and the rest of the Huns because they ruled such a large region that was covered in mountains and rivers. Since communication did not travel even close to as it does today this was a huge deal. Attila had to trust in his delegates that they would make the right decision since he most likely would not be there and could not spread his word across his vast lands. Trust is also another key component that Roberts discusses throughout his book. Roberts says that Attila might not have been the most trustworthy opponent, but he was very trusting within his people.
In the following chapters Roberts discusses how Attila was loved throughout all of the Huns. He claims that this was because Attila did not dress or look the part of a king. He claims that Attila wore the same clothes as his warriors and ate the same food as them. However, Roberts does say that Attila would not drink with his army. He did this because he was afraid that if he became to close then they would start to seem as an equal and wanted them to know that he was king.
Since Attila was king, Roberts says that he gave out many rewards and punishments to his armies. Attila was known for giving extra food and armor for those who performed in well in battle or had lent an extra hand. Roberts goes onto describe some of the punishments that Attila would hand out to those who disobeyed him or the Hunnish rule.
The next leadership tactic that Roberts describes is discipline. This is the reason people feared Attila. He had no sympathy for the weak. Roberts says that Attila was known for handing out the death penalty to those who broke his rule. Some of the Huns where lucky enough to have their lives spared, but that is because their penalty was most likely the loss of a limb. Roberts also writes that prisoners of the Huns where basically brainwashed into thinking they where Huns and that any disobedience from them was automatic death.
Roberts ends the book with a variety of different quotes from Attila the Hun about his life and how he lived it. He also gives some insight in how to take parts of the book and apply them to the business world. When Roberts discusses the chapters over delegation and decision making he gives insight on how people can use the same tactics that Attila used. Overall the book read very well and was easy to follow. The book should be recommended for all people who would like to know a little more about who Attila the Hun is and his leadership styles.