Rumsfeld's Rules [For educational use only]
October 3, 2002 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Rumsfeld's Rules [For educational use only] Donald Rumsfeld's Management Rules. Once available via the DOD website; now all copies have been pulled from government servers. This is one of the only copies still online. Read it ... while you STILL can... Soon available for sale in a print edition. Does it contain Hidden War Strategies? Can a US offical make money on the sale of "management techniques" developed and revised while serving as a government agent? Is not everything Rumsfeld produced in his capacity as a government agent owned by the US public? Discuss.
posted by mfoight (28 comments total)
I was actually pretty impressed by this. I know the knee-jerk crowd will hoot and hollar, but this Democrat found the writing style effective, and many of the suggestions seem very practical and honorable.

But I'm a bit confused, where is the issue regarding sale? Is there some link we're missing? I guess I don't understand the post.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:41 AM on October 3, 2002

I think mfoight is hinting at an intellectual property issue with concepts developed by public officials on public time. Could Rumsfeld legally sell this for personal gain?
posted by dr_dank at 9:46 AM on October 3, 2002

dr_dank, yes, I guess I got that part. I guess my question is whether this is just an abstract issue, or whether Rumsfeld actuall intends to sell this, and whether others have said that was problematic.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:49 AM on October 3, 2002

Yup, I thought this was eminently practical stuff, and surprisingly non-partisan in tone. Good on Rummy.

I can't imagine why it's being pulled, it reflects well on him.
posted by MrBaliHai at 9:57 AM on October 3, 2002

My favorite: the last, which says, "If you develop rules, never make more than ten."

The scariest? Easily this: "If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it." - Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The amazing thing about this list is that it's completely contradictory (hence, perhaps, the inclusion of Fitzgerald's remark from "The Crack-Up"). Witness the additional inclusion, tangential, if not contradictory, to that of Eisenhower: "If a problem has no solution, it may not be a problem, but a fact, not to be solved, but to be coped with over time." - Shimon Perez

Which of the two seems to be the guiding precept of this administration? The former, by a scary distance.
posted by minnesotaj at 9:58 AM on October 3, 2002

How would selling this be any different from someone selling their autobiography which included chapters on their time in the Senate (or as President, or whatever)?
posted by jaek at 9:59 AM on October 3, 2002

UPDATE: It's gone, daddy, gone...
posted by tommyspoon at 10:00 AM on October 3, 2002

tommyspoon: No it isn't.

I have to agree with the admirers. This is a great set of extremely compact wisdom. Qute a lot of this applies to all of life.
posted by rusty at 10:08 AM on October 3, 2002

"In unanimity, there may well be either cowardice or uncritical thinking."

Good quote there.
posted by wanderingmind at 10:23 AM on October 3, 2002

Speaking of rules, here's New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson's seven principles of good government. I would love it we could get this man to run for president.
posted by BirdD0g at 10:26 AM on October 3, 2002

I tend to agree with "pardonyou?". These are intelligently written suggestions for how to get by in the high pressure world of the presidential administration. Most of them seem applicable regardless of party affiliation.

There was, however, one quote that irked me: "The oil can is mightier than the sword." - Senator Everett Dirksen, (R-IL).

While this may be an apt observation of how the world works, it takes on an unpleasant tone when considered in light of the current administrations penchant for petroleum.
posted by aladfar at 10:28 AM on October 3, 2002

Impressive writing, showing wisdom, decency, fairness, tinged through and through with "Type A" aggressiveness and intolerance for slacking. Very American even with its collection of diverse quotations. Does it change my perspective on Rumsfield in the Bush administration? No, though it makes me worry that the Dems will have a harder time unseating GWB in '04 when he has staff like this.
posted by mooncrow at 10:32 AM on October 3, 2002

Reader's Digest had a short article about this in a recent issue. I went to search their site to get a link and couldn't get a search to show anything on Rumsfield or "Rummy," as I believe the title of the article addressed him.
Can any of you Information Gods that hang out here do better?

Come to think of it, there's an earlier article in the Reader's Digest from a few years back that I'd really like to get a hold of. It was basically pro-Taliban, saying that they'd cleaned up Afghanistan's drug and drug trafficing (and other) problems with some no-nonsense zero-tolerance rules. It'd be a classic artifact demonstrating how perspective can change or warp a story.
posted by namespan at 10:32 AM on October 3, 2002

My favorite quote: The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind.

I see your behind...
posted by patrickje at 10:50 AM on October 3, 2002

No wonder he's a sex symbol.
posted by gsteff at 11:02 AM on October 3, 2002

Everyone should develop his own set of personal values, or rules to live by. I am in the process of doing it right now.

Man, I hate that whole 'Discuss' command at the end of a post. That should be filtered out of every front page post. It really just rubs me the wrong way.
posted by internook at 11:11 AM on October 3, 2002

"If you foul up, tell the President and correct it fast. Delay only compounds mistakes."

And with that, I apologize for my inaccurate update.
posted by tommyspoon at 11:34 AM on October 3, 2002

I wonder how he reconciles beating the war drum with

It's easier to get into something than get out of it.

posted by hari at 12:19 PM on October 3, 2002

I wish people would warn when linking to acrobat files. They have a tendancy to crash my computer.
posted by nyxxxx at 12:23 PM on October 3, 2002

This point of the post is indeed the ownership of Intellectual Property. These "rules" were distributed as part of Rummy's official duties as Sec. of Def. , and created over the years during his Federal Service, now he is making a buck on them. And they were available to the public and now they are not; they seem to have been pulled not for National Security but to make a creat a demand for a soon to be high profile Print edition. The Rules are set for a November Free Press release and a January Simon and Schuster release. One can Pre-order now on Amazon
posted by mfoight at 12:28 PM on October 3, 2002

My "I hate Rumsfeld" side wanted to be snarky and nasty about this, but I found them very level-headed. It's interesting to read, in that I do imagine he thinks he's living by these "rules." While to me, it seems like there's no way he possibly is with the way things are now.

I have no probelm with him publishing this. It's not like it's intellectual property of the DOD!
posted by aacheson at 12:57 PM on October 3, 2002

i was struck by the emphasis on short term rather than long term planning.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:03 PM on October 3, 2002

This list is actually quite widely circulated. You can find it in the back of Ronald Kessler's book "Inside the White House."
posted by MrAnonymous at 1:20 PM on October 3, 2002

aladfar: Would it have bothered you less if the phrase was "The schmooze is mightier than the sword." ?

I happen to think we could use more of this. Too many people (present administration included) want to draw a line in the sand and use threats to influence behavior.
posted by ?! at 2:39 PM on October 3, 2002

Yeah, mfoight, you have a point there. Definitely not available. Nope, they shut down free access to it. Sucks that all us MeFi'ers had to pay to read the rules, but I guess that's how it works.

In any case, I fail to see
a) why these rules aren't available, since they obviously are
b) that literature is protected through rules like libraries, so that you never have to "pay for it" directly unless you want to
c) why one can't write a book while working for the government - it's not like it was an official document, any more than Colin's rules (also great, are far more brief)
posted by Kevs at 2:40 PM on October 3, 2002

Being the Vice-President is difficult. Don't make it tougher.

How so?
posted by goethean at 3:21 PM on October 3, 2002

Al Gore continues to prove how difficult it is to be vice-president.
posted by paleocon at 7:04 PM on October 3, 2002

I like it... one of the best leadership booklets I have read and without stories of how the author made his cat a better leader.
posted by Coop at 12:56 PM on October 4, 2002

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