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Colin Powell Describes What 'Worked' for Him

Former secretary of state offers advice for effective leadership

powell colin book memoir book review author general

Colin Powell provides leadership guidelines you should know. — Steven Senne/AP Photo

It would be hard to find a more respected authority on leadership than Gen. Colin Powell.

In his book It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff imparts wisdom gained throughout his life — from his days as a teenager mopping the floors at a New York soda factory to his four years of service as secretary of state under George W. Bush.

The 2012 memoir, Powell's follow-up to his best-selling 2003 autobiography My American Life, centers on his 13 rules that set the course for effective leadership.

One of the more surprising guidelines, Powell tells AARP Radio host Mike Cuthbert, is sufficient rest and the importance it can play in maintaining work-life balance.

"Effective leaders have to be rested, so don't work yourself to death and then when the battle comes you're exhausted and you can't think straight," he says. "Work hard, push your troops, do what you have to do but at the same time, make sure you're not wasting energy."

Listen to the interview above.

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