Shortly after he became an officer in the Marines, John Kelly met
a captain who told him that he should approach his new position
as “a real professional.”
“A doctor who doesn’t read peer articles and stay attuned to the
developments in his field is not the kind of doctor you would
want to go to, and the same is true for officers in the Marine
Corps,” the captain told him.
“He got me going on reading, specifically focused on military
things, and I just never stopped,” Kelly said.
Kelly went on to become a four-star general, and President Donald
Trump appointed him to chief of staff on July 31 to replace
Reince Priebus. Previously, he led the Department of
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Kelly picked up
C.S. Forester’s 1936 novel “The
General” after accepting the role of chief of staff, just as
he did after accepting the role of DHS chief six months prior —
and just as he did every time he was promoted during and after
his military career, since he was 25 (he is now 67).
It’s essentially a parable about the dangers of patriotism and
duty unaccompanied by critical thinking. Kelly went through
it again to remind himself “of what to avoid as a leader,” the
“The General” tells the fictional story of General Sir Herbert
Curzon, a leader in the British Army during World War I. Curzon
is an unremarkable man who attained his position of power largely
through luck and the failings of the superiors who preceded him.
He is eventually put in…