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Once an Eagle – a book review

Once an Eagle (1968) is a war novel by American author Anton Myrer. A #1 New York Times Bestseller, Once an Eagle has been a favorite of American military men and women since its writing. The novel tells the story of Sam Damon, career Army officer, from his initial enlistment to his rise to general officer rank. Myrer wrote his novel to warn against ambition without principle and the military-industrial complex. Sam Damon and Courtney Massengale are the vehicles for this warning. Damon is an honorable soldier who rises in rank by success in field command. He is a soldier of character with his men’s welfare in mind. Massengale has no honor and rises in rank through staff positions by cunning and political connections. He is driven by lust for power and cares nothing for the welfare of soldiers. A television mini-series based on the book was aired on NBC in 1976, with actor Sam Elliott portraying Sam Damon. The book appears on the Commandant’s required reading list for all First Lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps, and frequently serves as a text for cadets in leadership classes at West Point.

via Once An Eagle – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I just finished the audio book described above.  It is one of the best books I have read in a long time.  One interesting thing is that the Wikipedia editors and the quotes they include all call it a war novel.  It is an anti-war novel in my mind.  It shows that the true soldier does not want war but would prefer to avoid it if possible but once committed to war will fight with honor.  It is on most of the reading lists of the various military services.  I strongly suggest you read it or listen to the audio book.  I did not want it to end.


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LMD Professional Development Series: Freedom at Work: New & Old Concepts on April 23

Join SLA’s Leadership and Management Division for our next Professional Development Webinar: Freedom at Work: New & Old Concepts

Date: April 23, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm EST

To register, go to:

Come and explore with John Lubans a variety of leadership and organizational theories and the concepts of effective followership, self-organization, teamwork, and the democratic workplace and the notion of “leading from the middle”. Drawing on his library work experiences with teams and teamwork, and his research, writing and teaching, John will explain how these concepts inter-relate and how a small but growing number of organizations are enhancing their productivity by applying these new organizational models. Take-aways will include specific strategies for introducing “freedom at work” concepts and practices.

Biographical information:
John Lubans Jr., holds degrees from the University of Michigan (library science) and the University of Houston (public administration).
As a librarian, he’s led public services and technical services teams with measurable successes at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Duke University. His book, "Leading from the Middle and Other Contrarian Essays on Library Leadership“ (ABC-Clio), was published in June 2010. Library Journal starred its review and declared the book, “highly recommended.” He blogs weekly at “Leading from the Middle”:

In 2011, John was a Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Information and Library Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Latvia in the capital city, Riga. Also, as a Fulbright Scholar, he gave presentations in Klaipeda and Vilnius, Lithuania and in Croatia. He is on the Fulbright Specialist Roster. Currently, he is a Visiting Professor at the University of Latvia and teaches the “Democratic Workplace”, an 8-week class for library practitioners and graduate students. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Posted in Current Events, LeadershipComments Off on LMD Professional Development Series: Freedom at Work: New & Old Concepts on April 23

Colin Powell’s Rules and Military Libraries

Sometimes small things make big impressions. About three years ago when I started my job at the National Defense University I picked up a bookmark printed with Powell’s Rules, 13 short leadership phrases written by Colin Powell. I taped it above my desk and set about trying to learn my new job.

Powell, a 1976 NDU graduate, is somewhat of a rockstar around here. His papers and artifacts from his career are housed in the library’s special collections and everywhere you go around campus you’re likely to see some reminder of him and his legacy. He developed his rules over the course of his military career but in his 2012 book It worked for me: in life and leadership he explains them in more detail. 

Sometimes when I’m looking for inspiration or I’m wondering how to approach something on my plate, I’ll glance up and review Powell’s Rules. They never get old and the more times I read them the more I see how these rules can apply to day-to-day life in the military library world.

Powell’s Rules:

1.  It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
2.  Get mad, then get over it.
3.  Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
4.  It can be done!
5.  Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6.  Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7.  You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
8.  Check small things.
9.  Share credit.
10.  Remain calm. Be kind.
11.  Have a vision. Be demanding.
12.  Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13.  Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.(in the military, one always looks for ways to increase or multiply your forces.)

Given the current state of budget cuts, technology hurdles, furloughs, staff shortages and hiring freezes, it certainly can’t hurt to take some of Powell’s Rules to heart and put them into practice whenever possible.

— Mike McNulty is the collection development librarian at the National Defense University Library in Washington, DC.

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