The Power of Four: Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse

The Power of Four: Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse

What makes a good and true leader—brute power and force? The ability to persuade? Simply holding an influential position? Joseph M. Marshall III, the renowned author of the bestselling The Lakota Way, says no. Reminding us that those who hold public office are first and foremost politicians, and that corporate bigwigs serve the bottom line, Marshall presents us with a different idea of leadership, one drawn from his own Lakota Sioux culture. “True leadership,” he informs us, “is only possible when character is more important than authority.”
Marshall III draws inspiration from three names that have resonated powerfully throughout history to develop his unique concept of leadership: Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and, especially Crazy Horse, whose fascinating life Marshall already chronicled in a biography that Publishers Weekly praised as “vivid and haunting.” Crazy Horse did not teach leadership; he simply demonstrated it, effectively and with compassion. Four factors stand out when looking at him as a leader, and they were the basis of his success:

Know yourself. Know your friends. Know the enemy. Lead the way.
The Power of Four shows how and why these maxims—and this Native American philosophy of leadership—is not only applicable to today’s world, but desperately needed: why leadership by example is more powerful than authority; and why the selection of leaders also becomes one way of controlling those very same leaders. Marshall will open readers’ eyes and help them discover how to apply a new set of principles and actions to their own lives.



  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; 1 edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402748817
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402748813
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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  1. I love this small book of four powerful leadership teachings. While “Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse” may seem, initially, as less than appropriate, read on. Yes, Crazy Horse was one of the Indian military leaders that helped defeat Custer at Little Bighorn in 1876. But he was also an “inspirational and effective leader.” What is surprising is that his lessons are just as useful today. The author does a masterful job of using Crazy Horse’s examples and stories from Native Americans to illustrate his points.

    Lesson One: Know Yourself
    Knowing his strengths and weaknesses helped Crazy Horse be an effective leader. One of his strongest assets was being steady under pressure, and this steadiness developed after years of assuming responsibility for his tribe. What is amazing is that he only lived into his mid-thirties and he was a tribal leader for more than 15 of those years.

    Lesson Two: Know Your Friends
    No leader can lead alone. That requires a trust in the ability of others. Being clear about others’ abilities, however, is the key. In his early years, Crazy Horse was a scout for his tribe. He trusted the ability of his fellow scouts, and “those whose character he knew he trusted implicitly.” “When people know they can depend on one another, they are powerful.”

    Lesson Three: Know Your Enemies
    Crazy Horse taught the importance of knowing, understanding and respecting his enemy. The history of the Lakotas clash with the newly-arrived white men in America may lead to a renewed acceptance of our role in decimating the Native American culture. But his comments provide insight into the enemies we face in the world today.Read more ›

  2. This book is a great lesson in leadership. Our society, especially the US Army, has perverted the word leadership and confused it with authority. We forget that authority does not necessarily denote leadership. This book straightens this out. I believe the author did a very good job in his descriptions of our present day society and the lessons we can learn from Crazy House and the Lakota culture in becoming real leaders in every walk of life.

  3. Everyone should read this book. The lessons learned from Crazy Horse would help anyone in life, in any time period or situation. He was a well-disciplined person who excelled in all areas and cared deeply for his family and his tribe. He would probably be able to give any college-educated person today a run for their money. I have deep respect for the way Native Americans taught their families how to survive and looked out for one another. I am so glad to own this book. Know yourself, Know your Friends, Know the enemy, and Lead the way!

  4. This book is amazing. It is timely in the election year and political climate that is using up our year. REAL leaders should read this book. Not surprising that once again Native Americans had it right and understood what character and honor truly meant and should still mean.
    In addition, the seller was great!

  5. This book is very good the author knows the culture of the people he writes on.. he has great insight as he is Lakota. I recommend this book 100 %
    Also this book arrived on time in great condition.

  6. I read all that Joseph Marshall III produces as he is one of the true Elder Statesman for our people. He is keeping the past alive, bringing awareness to this generation and leaving a legacy for future ones. For those who want to learn of a heritage that was almost wiped out, read Mr. Marshall and read all of his works. I use and recommend this book as a primer for Leadership Development.

    Bear Kaeck

  7. This book I have added to my reseach on religion around the world. It has very good indepth information and explained in an excellent mannor. Thank you.

  8. The CD that accompanies the book is full of ‘extra’ wisdom from the author! This is the way leadership should be – however, it’s not what our culture currently looks for and we are seeing the results in a not so good way. At least I can use this as a guide for my own life – hey, I can’t change anyone else can I?

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