Geronimo: Leadership Strategies of an American Warrior by Mike Leach is now available for purchase both online and in stores. It is the Washington State football coach's second book, having published Swing Your Sword, an autobiography, in 2012.
His newest book is a biography of Geronimo, the Apache chieftain who fought against the Mexican and Texan governments for decades during the Apache Wars. I asked Leach about his writing process -- something I take particular interest in as someone who writes for a living myself -- and he said that book writing was a great way to explore a topic he has always had an interest in.
"You get to learn a lot more about it, even more about it, which is exciting, the research part is exciting, the first couple drafts are exciting. The last couple drafts where you view each word to essentially be written on a tombstone, so to speak, because once it's out it's out forever, then you're kind of picking and choosing this word, that word, this comma and the other comma," Leach said. "The last readings aren't quite as fun because you aren't reading a story you're obsessing over the little stuff and you're not going to get it perfect but you want to give the best effort you can."
When you write something it's very personal -- every word is your own. I often find that it's hard to go back to a long piece and reread it myself. So I asked Leach if he ever sits down and reads his own books.
"I probably will several years later. You move on from it," Leach said. "And then if you work on it something that long and that hard, going back to it's not appealing the first year or two. And then you get to go back to it every time you do a book signing or that type of thing."
The publisher's book description is after the jump.
Playing cowboys and Indians as a boy, legendary college football coach Mike Leach always chose to be the Indian—the underdog whose success turned on being a tough, resourceful, ingenious fighter. And the greatest Indian military leader of all was Geronimo, the Apache warrior whose name is so symbolic of courage that World War II paratroopers shouted it as they leaped from airplanes into battle.
Told in the style of The 48 Laws of Power, Leach’s compelling and inspiring book examines Geronimo’s leadership approach and the timeless strategies, decisions, and personal qualities that made him a success. Raised in an unforgiving landscape, Geronimo and his band faced enemies better armed, better equipped, and more numerous than they were. But somehow they won victories against all odds, beguiling the United States and Mexican governments and earning the respect and awe of those generals committed to hunting him down. While some believed that Geronimo had supernatural powers, much of his genius can be ascribed to old-fashioned values such as relentless training and preparation, leveraging resources, finding ways to turn defeats into victories, and being faster and more nimble than his enemy. The tactics of Geronimo would be studied and copied by the U.S. military for generations.
Drawing on his fascination and love for American Indian lore, Mike Leach explains how the tribe’s organizational structure helped Geronimo be successful. He chronicles specific battles and shows how Geronimo got the most out of his warriors and outthought his enemies. Leach also captures the mysterious nature of leadership itself.
Pain, pride, humility, family—many things shaped Geronimo’s life. In this remarkable book, Mike Leach illustrates how we too can use the forces and circumstances of our own lives to build true leadership today.