Not quite a year ago, I bought this book and yesterday, I finished reading it.
I first learned of General Olds through the Edward Sims book, "FIGHTER ACE", in the late 1970s, which mentioned only his Vietnam War service. But this autobiography gave me a fuller picture not only of the dedicated pilot/warrior and fighter ace (inclusive also of his Second World War service), but also of Robin Olds the man, warts and all.
Here was a man who was dedicated to his family, his country, and the men that he led throughout his military career.
Let me a cite a passage from the biography that deeply resonated with me ---
"Here's what I learned over the years. Know the mission, what is expected of you and your people. Get to know those people, their attitudes and expectations. Visit all the shops and sections. Ask questions. Don't be shy. Learn what each does, how the parts fit into the whole. Find out what supplies and equipment are lacking, what the workers need. To whom does each shop chief report? Does that officer really know the people under him, is he aware of their needs, their training? Does that NCO supervise or just make out reports without checking facts? Remember, those reports eventually come to you. Don't try to bullshit the troops, but make sure they know the buck stops with you, that you'll shoulder the blame when things go wrong. Correct without revenge or anger. Recognize accomplishment. Reward accordingly. Foster spirit through self-pride, not slogans, and never at the expense of another unit. It won't take long, but only your genuine interest and concern, plus follow-up on your promises, will earn you respect. Out of that you gain loyalty and obedience. Your outfit will be a standout. But for God's sake, don't ever try to be popular! That weakens your position, makes you vulnerable. Don't have favorites. That breeds resentment. Respect the talents of your people. Have the courage to delegate responsibility and give the authority to go with it. Again, make clear to your troops you are the one who'll take the heat."
For anyone who enjoys reading (auto)biographies and wants to learn about a person who lived his/her life to the full --- that is, a full, rich, principled and committed life --- THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU.