A Higher Loyalty / Truth, Lies, and Leadership, by James Comey


"A Higher Loyalty, by James Comey", has three important questions listed on the inside front flap of the cover. What is ethical leadership? How do you do what is right instead of what is expedient? How do you maintain loyalty to the values of the institutions you have sworn to protect, the values you have dedicated your entire life to upholding, even if that loyalty comes at your own expense?

The answer to these questions are what this book is about. Of all the many books that have come out this year that take positions on the political climate this one stands unique. Say what you want about James Comey’s motives, and everyone seems to do just that, he can’t win and has found himself, with this book, on truly unusual ground, where all sides can find reasons for concern. That hard place is the real power of this book. 

The book is very well written, easy to read, and his life story could have been a very good book even if he had he never mentioned Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. His story is a testimony to a person who sincerely cares about the three questions raised on the inside cover. 

It would be easy to drift off into comments about the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. The strengths and weaknesses, manifested in the stories Comey presents are clearly invitations to jump into partisanship ranting, even or maybe especially, in a review. 

Comey seems to have measured everything in his career against a template of right and wrong, as he understood how is existed, at the time.  Some reviewers have used this to be critical of his motive. Political books are hard to review because, for many people, the answer is one they are seeking only to prove rather than find. It is assumed that good and evil has picked sides. It is easy to say, and especially sad that many feel a greater good is worth sacrificing a less important good for, because after all the other side is pure evil and for them it isn’t really good and evil it is taking sides.

Comey’s book is what happens when that normal approach of using a political vantage point is ignored and someone dares to state that good and evil exists on all sides. Sorting out good from evil requires a higher standard, which of course the book, "A Higher Loyalty" does.  

His Author’s Note, at the very beginning of the book, starts out saying. “WHO AM I TO TELL others what ethical leadership is? Anyone claiming to write a book about ethical leadership can come across as presumptuous, even sanctimonious.”

James Comey’s book presented us with good answers to his three questions and his choices show us that evil is no respecter of political parties. Thank You James Comey. Thank you for showing us real leadership and consistent respect for values. Thank you for this very special book.