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Napoleon on Project Management, Jerry Manas

Napoleon on Project Management – Timeless Lessons in Planning, Execution and Leadership

“The ultimate case study in effective project management.”

– Kirkus Reviews

“A surprisingly effective guide for project management.”

– Soundview Executive Summaries

“Recommended reading for all owner, leaders, and managers.”

– Author’s Choice Reviews

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Available on Hardcover, eBook, Paperback, and Audiobook

To this day, Napoleon Bonaparte is motivating thought leaders to study his principles and quote his maxims. Rising from relative obscurity to rule all of Western Europe, Napoleon did in just a few short years what took the Romans centuries to accomplish. Creating order out of chaos, Napoleon earned the adoration of his troops and the admiration of his people – even the recognition of his archrival, The Duke of Wellington, as a timeless leader for “any age.”

Project management and leadership are inextricably linked. Recent studies show that project management excellence is key to organizational effectiveness. Napoleon on Project Management is not only the first, but a revealing account of a dynamic, historical figure with timeless lessons and value for both the project management and leadership communities.

Perhaps most remarkably, no one since has rivaled the world’s largest, most productive virtual team: Napoleon’s Grande Armée. In columns 7 miles apart across a one-hundred-mile front, a team 250,000 strong adapted quickly to sudden changes, while remaining highly motivated – all without e-mail, cell phones, etc. – phenomenal then, and all the more so today.

As with many successful, confident leaders, Napoleon favored simplicity, providing simple guidelines and principles while aiming for simple solutions. He also believed in clear goals and focused attention, not wanting the spread his troops across too many initiatives at once. Together, this enabled his people to leverage sound judgment, even in lieu of protocol,when necessary.

As Napoleon himself said, “The art of war does not require complicated maneuvers; the simplest are best, and common sense is fundamental. From which one might wonder how it is generals make blunders; it is because they try to be clever.”

Additional Praise for Napoleon on Project Management


“A certified Project Management Professional applies Napoleon’s strengths and weaknesses to the modern business world.

Napoleon’s rise to power was nothing short of astonishing—he took a country in a state of chaos and destitution and made it a force of global domination. Here, Manas evaluates how he did it and, more importantly, how we can learn from his inspired leadership style. Using the great leader as a guide, he helps readers create “A Compelling Vision,” guides them through diplomacy and networking and analyzes lessons that the general would likely have learned. In the second part of the book, he examines Napoleon’s “Six Winning Principles,” which include exactitude, speed, flexibility, simplicity, character and moral force. Finally, he explores Napoleon’s eventual downfall, showing how his weaknesses contributed to his exile and helping readers to understand how to protect their own projects from the same demise. Though the analogies may appear far-fetched at first glance, Manas does an excellent job of keeping his advice relevant. His historical research is impeccable, and he provides a coherent and practical body of knowledge to pass along to modern readers.

The ultimate case study in effective project management.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“There is no historical person more appropriate for a leadership or project management book than Napoleon Bonaparte. Project management consultant Jerry Manas has finally filled the void… The British interpretation of Napoleon is not only biased but also intentionally and grossly misleading. In addition to providing clear-cut lessons on leadership and management, Napoleon on Project Management also does a wonderful job of clearing up the record.

Napoleon’s success as a military leader alone would provide many key lessons for the business leader. However … Napoleon was much more than an effective general. Manas pulls scores of examples from Napoleon’s multi-faceted career to illustrate what he calls Napoleon’s Six Winning Principles: Exactitude, Speed, Flexibility, Simplicity, Character and Moral Force.

Manas ends his book with the downfall of Napoleon, which, as he demonstrates, is linked to four critical warning signs: power, overzealousness, unbalanced lifestyle and scarcity of effective leaders.

… A surprisingly effective guide for project management, Napoleon on Project Management is under consideration as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.”

—Soundview Executive Book Alert

By the time I finished this book, I had three pages of notes, of “good stuff” to keep and put into practice… The book explains in practical terms how to set goals, find and train effective leaders, accomplish goals and motivate employees. But there is so much more, including how not to sabotage your own organization. This should be recommended reading for all owners, managers and leaders.

— Author’s Choice Reviews

“As a U.S. Marine Corps officer for 30 years, I always looked on military operations as project—albeit of a more dangerous and uncertain variety. This book, which I found to be engaging and never dull, draws powerful practical relationships between Napoleon’s war planning, execution, control and leadership and modern project management principles. It is a bright light on the project management landscape!

—Bill Bahnmaier, Col, USMC (Ret), and retired Professor of Defense Acquisition Management, Defense Acquisition University

“……an insightful, well-done and much-too-rare examination of the value of revisiting the lessons of history. While others chase the “newest, latest, greatest”, Jerry Manas reminds us that we may be overlooking invaluable thought leadership that preceded us. He inevitably challenges us to apply these ageless lessons not only at work, but at home, in our community, in worship and in athletics as well.”

—Jerome Jewell, Productivity Improvement Consultant

“Don’t overlook this book! Comparing Napoleon and Project Management may be unique; but isn’t that what we’re looking for—new and fresh insights? This book has relevant content to all of us in the industry. Read it and see how helpful this text can be to your career in project management. You’ll learn a lot”

—Joan Knutson, author, lecturer and consultant, PM Guru Unlimited. Author of Succeeding in Project-Driven Organizations John Wiley and Sons

”Who can resist a book that highlights Mr. Manas’s clever integration of the awe-inspiring figure of Napoleon to the most important concepts that are the foundation of the science of project management? If you are looking for a deep yet easy read that brings alive the timeless events of 19th century Europe to splash color on a potentially dry subject like project management, this book is a must read. Managing a project is in many ways akin to fighting a war, and indeed sometimes seems more like the conquest of Europe or even Waterloo than it does like just another business initiative.”

—Gus Cicala, CEO, Project Assistants, Inc.

”Jerry Manas has somehow found a way to make the topic of project management exciting and entertaining. The parallels he draws between Napoleon’s career and the career of a project manager are right on the mark. Project managers who read this book will undoubtedly become better project managers.”

—Ira Brown, CTO and co-founder, Project Assistants, Inc.

“This book takes us on an inspirational tour of Napoleon’s life and works, bringing us insightful and valuable project management lessons. Jerry Manas’s academic and well-read understanding of both history and project management has provided us an excellent tool for learning. I urge all those interested in improving their ability to perform projects successfully to read and re-read this remarkable study.”

—Tom Vanderheiden, Chairman, PMI Aerospace & Defense SIG, Consultant to the Aerospace and Defense industry

”An intriguing perspective from which to view the concepts of project management. These concepts are as valid today as they were 200 years ago.”

—Peter Pacitti, Assistant Vice President/Project Manager, PNC Bank

“Jerry’s method of associating real-life historical events to modern-day project management methods is brilliant. This is a must read for anyone in the field of Project Management who has grown weary of the repetitive nature of currently published material. I was engaged and simultaneously entertained. As a past President of a very large component of the Project Management Institute, I have read many articles and books in this field. No author has taken the fresh approach that Jerry has in correlating real project management examples to a previously unconsidered and unrelated field, military tactics. It should also be noted that Jerry’s material has been researched extensively and depicts a very accurate account of the actual events. It’s great to see someone doing something different that presents Project Management in the perspective and relative importance that it deserves.”

—Phillip Long, Chief Solutions Architect, LogicaCMG


  • Publisher: HarperCollins Leadership

  • Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Kindle

  • ISBN: 978-1595552433

  • Published: October 12, 2008

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