Review: Ahoy Mates! Leadership Lessons from Successful Pirates

Rating: ★★★½☆
Ahoy Mates! Leadership Lessons from Successful Pirates
Robert G. Garrow

When I first spied this book, its cover adorned with the photo of author Robert G. Garrow dressed as a plastic-sword wielding bucanneer along with a title claiming it will teach me all about leadership as demonstrated by pirates, an obvious question formed in my head – namely, “he can’t be serious, can he?”

Surprisingly, although much of the book’s tone is light and humorous, Garrow does in fact seriously tackle the basics of leadership, from the very beginings of planning a mission statement to the more involved methods of inspiring your underlings to perform their best. And Garrow very much uses the themes of piracy throughout as readers observe the recruiting of crews, setting of ship’s articles, formation of strategies, implimentation of tactics – it’s all here, and it’s all plainly spelled out and then applied to the modern business world. Continue reading

Review: Captain Kidd

Rating: ★★★★☆
I didn’t exactly have high hopes for this film, partly because it features a rather robust, unintimidating looking actor as Captain Kidd, but mostly because I bought it at Walgreens for about three bucks. As it turns out, I was in for quite the unexpected treat.

Captain Kidd, as played by Charles Laughton, is rather atypical for a Hollywood pirate – more large and lazy than swashbuckling, he can nontheless fight when need be, and he conveys a brutishly scheming demeanor that makes his character surprisingly believable as a leader of cutthroats. Laughton really shines in this role, and I was delighted to learn that he portrays Kidd again in the film “Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd”, which I must rent immediately.

The story revolves around Captain Kidd and his two-timing efforts to move upward in polite society while at the same time betraying the English Crown in an effort to conive his way to wealth and nobility. Continue reading

Review: The Pirates Laffite

Rating: ★★★☆☆
The Pirates Laffite: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf
by William C. Davis

The world needs more pirate biographies. I’m not talking about “General History of Pirates” types of biographies that discuss every pirate under the sun (which can be both informative and interesting but at the end of the day leave you struggling to remember which pirate was famous for raiding what town.) No, what we need are more biographies that pick a pirate and follow them through from beginning to end. Which is precisely why I was so excited to learn of William C. Davis’ new book, The Pirates Laffite.

Following Jean and Pierre Laffite from their humble beginnings in France through their booming smuggling operations and eventually to their rise to fame and notariety, Davis carefully documents most every aspect of their lives imaginable. His incredibly thourogh account weighs in at a hefty 490 pages, with nearly another 200 set aside for notes and bibliography, and leaves absolutely no portion of the Laffite’s careers in the dark. Continue reading