A Higher Loyalty Book Summary - A Higher Loyalty Book explained in key points
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A Higher Loyalty summary

James Comey

Truth, Lies and Leadership

4 (29 ratings)
28 mins

Brief summary

A Higher Loyalty by James Comey is a memoir by the former FBI Director about leadership, ethics, and his experiences in government. He reflects on his career and the challenges he faced, including the 2016 election and his controversial firing by President Trump.

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    A Higher Loyalty
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    Formative events in James Comey’s childhood include being bullied and having a great boss.

    James Comey was born in 1960, in Yonkers, New York, where his family had lived for generations. His grandfather was once the chief of the Yonkers Police Department; so you could say Comey has law enforcement in his genes.

    But when his family moved from Yonkers to nearby Allendale, New Jersey, Comey went from being a popular kid to being the target of cruel bullies.

    The move happened when Comey was in the fifth grade. He was the scrawny new kid at school with a bad haircut, ill-fitting clothes and a habit of talking too much. To save money, Comey’s mom would patch up old clothes and give her son haircuts – putting a bullseye on him for the school bullies.

    Despite being repeatedly punched, slammed into lockers and treated to wedgies, being bullied taught Comey some formative lessons.

    For starters, it made him very attentive at reading people. If you’ve ever been bullied, you probably know how to pick up on the signs of aggression that bullies give off. But perhaps more importantly, being bullied instilled a lifelong desire to help the defenseless.

    Also helping to shape Comey was a man by the name of Harry Howell; owner of the local grocery store that Comey worked at when he was in school. Howell taught Comey some important lessons about being an effective leader.

    He showed Comey that you could be powerful yet compassionate and understanding at the same time. Howell was a tough boss with very high standards, and he took pride in having an immaculately clean and organized store.

    While Howell was often demanding, he also knew when to show mercy. One day, while the store was closed, Comey had overstacked the milk crates, causing them to tip over, creating a river of milk down one of the aisles.

    Comey was mortified, mopping it up as fast he could. But when Howell appeared, he didn’t angrily berate Comey. He simply asked, “Did you learn a lesson here?” Comey certainly had. “Good. Clean it up,” Howell replied. This mercy motivated him to work harder than any punishment would have.

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    What is A Higher Loyalty about?

    A Higher Loyalty (2018) is the revealing account of James Comey’s history as a respected public servant across multiple presidential administrations. Comey guides readers through many years of experience, including his fight against unlawful torture and surveillance policies during the second Bush administration, and his experience with the Trump presidency.

    A Higher Loyalty Review

    A Higher Loyalty (2018) by James Comey is a candid and thought-provoking account of the author's experiences as a former FBI director. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides insider insights into high-stakes decision-making and the inner workings of the FBI, offering a unique perspective.
    • Serve as an ethical guide, the book explores the tensions between loyalty and integrity within the context of leadership, leaving readers with valuable lessons.
    • Its compelling storytelling keeps readers engaged as they delve into Comey's personal anecdotes and reflections, making it an informative and captivating read.

    Best quote from A Higher Loyalty

    Put that way, the choice between a really bad option and a catastrophic option was not that hard a call. We had to tell Congress…

    —James Comey
    example alt text

    Who should read A Higher Loyalty?

    • News and political junkies
    • Students of law and ethics
    • Readers eager for a peek at Washington’s inner workings

    About the Author

    James Comey has decades of experience in law enforcement and leadership. His public service record extends from an Assistant United States Attorney in New York and Pennsylvania, the Deputy Attorney General in the Department of Justice to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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    A Higher Loyalty FAQs 

    What is the main message of A Higher Loyalty?

    The main message of A Higher Loyalty is the importance of ethical leadership and standing up for what is right.

    How long does it take to read A Higher Loyalty?

    The reading time for A Higher Loyalty varies depending on the reader's speed but can be completed in a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is A Higher Loyalty a good book? Is it worth reading?

    A Higher Loyalty is a compelling and thought-provoking book for those interested in leadership and the inner workings of the FBI.

    Who is the author of A Higher Loyalty?

    The author of A Higher Loyalty is James Comey.

    What to read after A Higher Loyalty?

    If you're wondering what to read next after A Higher Loyalty, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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