Review: A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

A Higher Loyalty

I couldn’t wait to read the book written by the ex – FBI director, James Comey. His book, A Higher Loyalty, Truth, Lies, and Leadership published by Flat Iron Books is not a literary masterpiece. Perhaps I assumed a seasoned lawyer would have a better flair for writing, but Mr. Comey’s writing style is more like a writing assignment for a college creative writing class. And he often repeats phrases like “fully armored black suburban.” I can only imagine his memos he wrote on his interactions with President Trump were written in this same way as though he were writing in a journal.

A Higher Loyalty

If the reader can get past his writing style, the book is worth the time and effort because the reader will undoubtedly learn interesting facts as I did on government protocol and certainly about the atmosphere inside the White House and the justice department. And if the reader only read or watched recent television interviews with Mr. Comey from his book tour, the reader would believe this book is all about President Trump. Mr. Comey lays out his case as though preparing for a trial on how he came to make decisions throughout his life and those in which may have ultimately led to his being fired as Director of the FBI.

James Comey – The bullied and the bully

Mr. Comey talks about his childhood and what led him to becoming a lawyer. I found myself weaving in and out of feeling sorry for him and being irritated at the same time about his portrayal of being bullied. But if the reader just sticks with him as he plods along they will soon find insightful nuggets into Mr. Comey’s personality, and as in the book’s title, his perspective on loyalty, truth, lies and leadership.

“I was never going to surrender to a group again simply because it was easy. And I was going to make sure my life had some meaning, because I’d already seen how fleeting life could be.” P.39

Leadership

Throughout the book Mr. Comey shares with the reader the people in his life who he saw as the leaders he would try to emulate and what he believes a leader should be. Other readers may come away from reading this book and surmise that Mr. Comey believes he is an example of a good leader. Again, I too felt this push-pull of my sympathies being played. He takes the reader through an exhausting ride both literally and figuratively on his way to becoming the FBI Director. Time and time again the reader will hear Mr. Comey remind those around him in Washington that the FBI must remain totally independent entity from the White House.

Truth and Lies

My hope, as I read A Higher Loyalty, is that the average American like myself would read Mr. Comey’s book. In laying out his case, particularly when it comes to the Trump and Clinton campaigns for the presidency, Mr. Comey provides non-classified details of the Clinton email and private server debacle and what would later would become known as the Russian investigation. It is fascinating to read the ex-FBI Director’s account of a no-win situation for the him and the justice department.

I am neither a Republican or Democrat. I am an Independent but no matter what side of the aisle you sit, I found reading about the demeanor of politicians and the names everyone will recognize an eye-opener. I was not surprised by some of the revelations and it may not have been necessary to detail people’s personal apparel and appearances or even that President Trump looked orange with white circles under eyes or even whether his hair is real, but take it for what Mr. Comey now admits as simply “an author trying to make the narrative interesting” as he has stated in interviews.

Mr. Comey’s description of his interactions with President Trump is the same behavior the American public has seen on television and in the President’s tweets on Twitter. By the end of the book, the reader will decide whether there was any justification in his firing as FBI director.

A Higher Loyalty

I found Mr. Comey to be honest, forthcoming about his own frailties and failings. (There are humorous parts in the book, but at times it feels like an inside joke and only he is on the inside.) He is a man committed to his values and I do believe him when he writes,

“The core of our nation is our commitment to a set of shared values that began with George Washington – to restraint and integrity and balance and transparency and truth. If that slides away from us, only a fool would be consoled by a tax cut or a different immigration policy. But I choose to remain optimistic.”

The second to last sentence may sound like a fired employee’s bitterness but after reading the book, the reader may believe differently. I still have many questions for Mr. Comey on truth, lies and leadership. I would love to have him and his wife, Patrice for dinner (although I would probably pee a little if he called to confirm). Perhaps I can even help recommend a few things for his next book and also persuade Patrice to write a book too.

Hoot Rating

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction Politics & Social Sciences, Nonfiction
Politics & Social Sciences

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, A Higher Loyalty, Truth, Lies, and Leadershipwritten by James Comey earns a 4 hoot rating based on content and effort.

4 hoot rating

Happy Reading!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

Finding Joy – Honesty

Mike Swartz #1

Joy in Friendship

Whenever there is a major shift in one’s life, whether it is an unexpected loss of a job, a loved one, or a relationship, we count on our friends to listen, to make us laugh, and to love us. And last week when my employer announced they would dissolve, there was plenty of joy in friendship this past week.

There are those like my friend, Rick, who suggested, “find a way to make money while pursuing your passion. That’s the challenge.” And in that same Facebook interchange, my friend, Anita responded, “Well, in some cases it is possible. I sold far more $$ worth of beads and jewelry in the past 18 years than I ever made (totaled) during my whole teaching career. Of course, after deducting the money I spent on tools, equipment, and materials, it’s a much more modest amount. But it’s still been wonderful to make money from creating things.”

To which my friend, Rick responded, “Visualize yourself writing and checks arriving in the mail. You are happy, healthy, and prosperous. Hold that visualization. Don’t concern yourself with how it happens, just see it happening. Once you imprint on the end result, your subconscious mind will guide you. Trust your intuition, it is your higher consciousness talking.” And he continued, “Also, tell everyone you know about your dream. The more the better. Thoughts are prayers. Get your own prayer circle of friends working on this with you.”

Sally's Duck

Joy in Emotional Intelligence

Yet there always seems to be one or two in that circle of family and friends that want to seemingly suck all the joy out of you.

What’s all this finding joy shit?

Where is your faith talking getting you?

You would look better with longer hair, or you need to start thinking about your weight.

Why does this keep happening to you?

It wasn’t the words in that last question, but it was in tone and delivery as though it was an indictment of some irresponsibility on my part that I am now without full-time employment.

And to all these people I responded silently in my head with a smile on my face, “Thank you. How is life going for you?”

Spirit of Faith

Joy in Life

The commitment to finding joy each day started before my sudden unemployment and it will continue in my search for a new career.

(An excerpt from my prayer journal 4/18)

Discouraged or disappointed? It’s my choice. God will place me where He needs me, and it is there I will joyfully serve.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5”

Not my job to judge

I don’t know how anyone gets through life without faith, but I am not here to judge. My job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. I found joy in helping a co-worker needing help in writing her resume. I’ll continue joyfully  helping others and in continued faith.

My definition

Joy in Honesty

As I have told many of my co-workers and others who are looking for jobs or even something more in their life like love, know your worth. God paid a heavy price for me (and for you). It’s okay to speak your mind, however, I am going to remain speaking and writing from my heart.

Finding joy is important. We cannot thrive nor help others thrive without joy. Finding joy each day may be difficult. We must be intentional in finding it.

birds still sing in spring
snow, hail, sun, rain or rainbows
intentional joy
(c) 2018 SL Prielipp-Falzone

Peace,

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

World Beyond.jpg

The Joyful Journey is a blog series. This is the second post in the series. I will be blogging pages from my journal on where I have found joy. All blog posts will be stored in the category labeled #TheJoyfulJourney.

I hope you will join me on this expedition of finding joy. Not only finding it but sharing it with me and the followers of The Blogging Owl. Whether in posting a comment on The Blogging Owl page or have a guest blog spot on The Blogging Owl (email me at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com).

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved – The Blogging Owl – SL Prielipp-Falzone

Finding Joy – The Unexpected

As I lay here in bed at 4 a.m. Sunday morning listening to the freezing rain pelt the bedroom window. The end of the week news just like the weather in mid-April is not what I wanted to hear.

Last week started with putting Heaven’s Vineyard, our cottage in northern Michigan on the market. It was a bright sunny day, even though there was about two inches of snow on the ground. But the weather this time of year isn’t totally unexpected in northern Michigan and neither was putting our cottage up for sale. Our sons are grown and away at college. Vinny Sal and I are looking to enjoy life daily and not just on weekends with a three and half hour car ride with two pups in the backseat. We had plans with the proceeds from the sale of our cottage.

(an excerpt from my prayer journal 4/9)

joy is found
never can be sold
memories

Last Monday was my birthday. It was pleasant enough and I had taken the day off work to enjoy peace and quiet. The day was gray, dank and snowing but still relaxing with a delightful book in hand for a future book review for this blog. It is how anyone who knows me would expect me to enjoy my birthday.

(an excerpt from my prayer journal 4/10)

the sun shines
on the day after
my birthday

I found joy today in the office. Yes! The office! Because I work with fantastic people who decorated my little cubicle, a birthday card signed by all, and beautiful, delicious cake.

Last Wednesday was my first day at physical therapy. It was all around a difficult day in mind, body and spirit. More theory than answers to the diagnosis. It wasn’t unexpected and neither was my friend’s response.

(an excerpt from my prayer journal on 4/11)

You know where I found joy today?

I thought it was just the robin belting out a song this morning amid a slight snow shower in spring. Joy could have stopped right there but at the end of a long, difficult day there was more joy to be found.

Some days are difficult to get through for whatever reason. But I found joy today in a friendship I have had less than two years. She is in a ‘class’ of strong women in my life that know and when I need an encouraging word and sometimes when I need to be talked off the ledge, so to speak. We all need those types of friends and I am grateful for her today. And sometimes these friends don’t even know the joy they bring… but now they do… I at least I hope they do.

Last Thursday the last line in my prayer journal before heading out to the office was this:

(an excerpt from my prayer journal 4/12)

“Where will I find joy today?”

At lunch time, I took a short walk outside and in my prayer journal I wrote, “JOY! 69 degrees, balmy breeze and sunshine!”

In Michigan, the weather can be 69 degrees midday and by nightfall a blizzard. The drastic change in weather seemingly in hours is to be expected.

At 4 p.m. the unexpected did happen. As everyone at the office huddled into the conference training room, the company announced it would be ceasing operations nationally and we all had a job and a paycheck for at least the next 60 days.
I went through a similar scenario in the summer of 2009. While still shocking I did not shed a tear. I did not feel a sense of overwhelming panic like I did that July 9 years ago. What I did feel as I looked around the room at many faces of varying degrees of age and looks of disbelief was sorrow. I deeply understood the internal wave of panic, the many questions without answers, and the sense of failure although unwarranted by either company or individual.

Friday, the 13th. Where would joy be found?

Friday was the second day of physical therapy and no less daunting and exasperating.

(excerpts from my prayer journal 4/13 throughout the day)

It’s Friday the 13th. Many people find this to be a “bad” or an “unlucky” day. But for those who intentionally look for joy will find it even on today.”

no love lost
wishing time away
melting snow

Yes, it is Friday the 13th and then this happens… It is not the birthday present I had hoped for this week, but there is still JOY to be found in all the wonderful people I have met here. They are the BEST people I have been associated with in my career.

Then Saturday, time to think (and write)

(excerpt from my prayer journal 4/14)

There is joy today in the soothing sound of a steady albeit a cold rain. Spring will arrive eventually as well as the joy in mind, body and spirit. Joy always seems its’ purest when radiating from a bright yellow sun against the bluest hue of a cloudless sky. Yesterday is done. Today is beginning and tomorrow holds the joy of opportunity.

Where there is joy there is hope. And where there is hope, we thrive.

Back to today, Sunday, the start of a new week

As I continue to lay here like lead in the waning night time hours writhing in bodily pain with still unanswered questions of my own future, I know this one thing. In mind, body and spirit, I will find joy in each day.

Every day is like the weather in Michigan. The unexpected will happen. But there is joy to be found. I remember many years ago when I was going through my own job loss panic, one of my colleagues said to me, “Do you have your family?” Yes, replied. “Is everyone healthy?” Yes, I replied. “Then you have everything you need.”

I have a God and a family who loves me. I’m not dead. I’m alive. Yes, I have everything I  need for mind, body and spirit.

As for my colleagues who are my friends, I am reminded of Psalms 27:17:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Darkest Hour

 

I’ll write the question again. Why is joy so important?

Where there is joy there is hope.
Where there is hope, we thrive.
When we thrive, others thrive.

Peace,

IMG_0603

The Blogging Owl

 

The Joyful Journey is a blog series. This is the second post in the series. I will be blogging pages from my journal on where I have found joy. All blog posts will be stored in the category labeled #TheJoyfulJourney.

I hope you will join me on this expedition of finding joy. Not only finding it but sharing it with me and the followers of The Blogging Owl. Whether in posting a comment on The Blogging Owl page or have a guest blog spot on The Blogging Owl (email me at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com).

P.S. I will be back to posting book reviews and other stories of the nest soon!