Read Remark Book Review - A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

Book Review: A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey
Published April 2018
Flatiron Books

James Comey is…

That sentence is actually difficult to finish. James Comey is many things, depending on who you ask. Devoted husband and father. Fearless attorney. Derailer of Hillary Clinton’s presidency. Enemy to Trump. Disgraced former FBI Director who leaks and sneaks around behind curtains. Misunderstood and righteous former FBI Director whose knowledge could be our salvation.

In his book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, James Comey doesn’t try to clear up any of these perceptions. He isn’t concerned with whether he’s admired or telling his side of the story. Ethics and honesty are the main players.

A Higher Loyalty doesn’t serve as the salacious tell-all that some make it out to be.

Rather, it’s more of an inside, private look at a man’s very public career. Comey talks through some of his biggest cases, including Sammy “The Bull” Gravano and Martha Stewart. Yes, we hear about Hillary’s emails. We also see his service to three different presidencies, from George W. Bush, to Obama, and finally to Trump.

“Speaking uphill takes courage. It takes overcoming a universal human affliction—the impostor complex. All of us labor, to one degree or another, under the belief that if other people really knew us, if they knew us the way we know ourselves, they would think less of us. That’s the impostor complex—the fear that by showing ourselves we will be exposed as the flawed person we are. If you don’t have this, in some measure, you are an incredible jerk and should stop reading immediately.”
― James B. Comey, A Higher Loyalty

Each president has strikingly different approaches. Some brow-furrowing, some refreshing. All highly interesting to see through Comey’s eyes. We see a headstrong, sometimes mean-spirited, but ultimately thoughtful President Bush. A President Obama on the opposite side politically from Comey, who’s willing to consider opposing views and knows when to set aside personal feelings in the interest of achieving what’s just. And then there’s Trump, whose well-known foibles are still unfolding daily on Twitter and with the recent release of Comey’s memos.

“Ethical leaders do not run from criticism, especially self-criticism, and they don’t hide from uncomfortable questions. They welcome them.”

― James B. Comey, A Higher Loyalty

This is riveting reading.

It’s the kind that reminds us once again that what we see publicly isn’t necessarily what happened behind the scenes. And the subject matter here is fitting; many of the brushes Comey has had with famous cases and people are ones that will surely make it to history books.

I’m still not sure what I think of the man personally, but that isn’t the point, is it? Comey isn’t here for redemption or validation. He’s here simply to champion the truth, regardless of historical consequences or personal fallout. To some, that’s admirable. To others, foolhardy. For the purposes of this book, it’s captivating.