Out on 13 October 2020

The Character Edge

Robert L. Caslen Jr.

Michael D. Matthews

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13 October 2020
480 minutes

The Character Edge is a groundbreaking leadership book that shows you how to win the right way. Based on real-life experiences and empirical research, it is co-authored by retired three-star General and former Superintendent of the US Military Academy at West Point, Robert Caslen, and Professor of Engineering Psychology at West Point, Dr. Michael Matthews.

From the battlefield to the classroom, General Caslen and Dr. Matthews have witnessed firsthand the vital link between strong character and strong leadership, and how the latter cannot exist without the former. Competence matters, but without character, leadership ultimately fails. And the co-authors are increasingly troubled by the prevalence of character failures in society today; dishonest politicians, CEOs committing fraud, disgraced military commanders, and cheating athletes are among many other “win at any cost” stories dominating the news.

While serving as head of West Point (the “Preeminent Leader Development Institution”), General Caslen personally oversaw the development of a plan to assess and foster character as a means of shaping tomorrow’s leaders, a focus supported by Dr. Matthews’s work. They now want to spread what they have learned to a much broader audience.

The Character Edge will weave stories from their own lives and myriad other leaders together with new research about how to classify, measure, and cultivate character. The book is the first of its kind in employing the insights of a decorated military leader together with the knowledge of a prominent positive psychologist. It provides a compelling case for the powerful role character plays in trust, culture, and leadership; and it offers readers tools to exercise and strengthen their own character.

The Character Edge is inspiring and practical in equal measure, drawing upon both scientific research and personal experience in how, and why, to develop strengths of heart, mind, and gut. Only Mike Matthews and Bob Caslen could have written it. This will surely be an instant classic!

Angela Duckworth, CEO of the Character Lab and bestselling author of Grit

General Caslen and Michael Matthews are absolutely the right people to write this book. Together, they form a Genius of AND ? the art of leadership AND the science of character, the crucible of hard experience AND the rigor of academic research, the searing lessons of decisive action AND the enduring insights of wise reflection. Few great leaders have charismatic personality, but all have character that inspires. Caslen and Matthews show how and why this fundamental inner architecture of leadership can ? and must ? be built.

Jim Collins, author Good to Great, co-author Built to Last

In The Character Edge, Caslen and Matthews offer the definitive guide to how individuals and organizations may build and utilize positive character to flourish and win. Corporations who ‘get’ this message excel, those that do not will fail in the long run.

Indra Nooyi, Former Chairman & CEO, PepsiCo