The Millionaire Next Door

Elect Men and Women of Integrity

The current political environment is filled with statements containing half truths, exaggerations, and down right lies.  In light of this it may be  worthwhile to go back and reflect upon the number one factor that underlies success according to my survey of America’s most economically productive people: integrity.  According to Webster’s, integrity implies an incorruptible soundness of moral character, especially as displayed in fulfilling trusts.  Interestingly it uses the following example: “elect men of integrity.”

As I stated in The Millionaire Mind,

Most economically successful people don’t believe that integrity, or lack of it, can be averaged into one overall grade point average. . . .  . . . integrity is a different part of life’s curriculum.  It’s a pass/fail course.  If you lack integrity, most millionaires will tell you that you will not and should not graduate to economic success.

Nearly all self made millionaires in one way or another are leaders.  If you want to succeed as a leader, you must have integrity.  Integrity is important beyond the economic arena.  It’s a critical building block, a foundation stone for effective leadership in general.  An excellent example of this relates to one of America’s great military leaders, George C. Marshall, who “shaped World War II more than any other American in uniform.” See J.W. Jordan’s book review of Marshall and His Generals by Stephen R. Taaffe.

Marshall, in essence, was America’s CEO in charge of its military efforts in WWII.  Among his many tasks was to select the generals who headed up each and every theatre of operation. 

. . . Marshall’s record for picking winners was remarkable. . . .  . . . all met Marshall’s strict criteria: [#1 was] integrity. . . .

Notable were such names as MacArthur, Eisenhower, Stilwell, and Patton.  Marshall believed in what Patton often said: “wars may be fought with weapons but they are won by men.”  Those selected by Marshall were only men with integrity and other important attributes such as “initiative, a sense of duty, a can do attitude, aggressiveness and drive.”

As chief of staff, Marshall was all about objective criteria in selecting talent.  Patronage, politics and related rhetoric had no place in winning a world war.  As he once stated: “the man has to have it or he doesn’t stay and we will listen to no excuses of any kind.”

Our currernt political leaders and those vying for political office might benefit from studying Marshall’s #1 criterion for leadership.      

5 thoughts on “Elect Men and Women of Integrity”

  1. Integrity yes, but I would also like to add that we should also elect people who hold wise, well thought out positions on policy. I leave what those positions may be as an exercise to the reader.

  2. Integrity appears to be foreign to the majority of our current political leaders, very few exhibit it. However, of those that do, Dr. Ron Paul stands out and it’s time we acknowledge that and set the bar for the rest to follow.

  3. The only candidate that represents the values that our country needs is Dr. Ron Paul. No one has been as consistent and honest as he has and we should be looking paying more attention to him.

  4. Who, among us, has not been misquoted? Who, among us, has not been misunderstood? To say that none of our presidential candidates is a person of integrity would be erroneous. Political clamor always kicks up dust that we would be wise to let settle before we judge and choose.

  5. Mr. Stanley, this is a question which is off topic of your subject above, and I’m sure you’ve been asked this questions over and over again since the Millionaire Next Door was published, and maybe even more since our recession, but are there plans in place for another Millionaire Next Door to be wrttien based on our current economy, I know the principles don’t change but it would be interesting to see how some of the other factors have changed.

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