Commentary by management consultant Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
Friday, February 09, 2018
The Myth of Marshall's Little Black Book
One of the most popular myths about George C. Marshall concerns a “little black book” that he was purported to keep. The story goes that as chief of staff of the United States Army Marshall kept a “little black book” in his desk that contained the names of officers that Marshall identified as capable leaders. The names supposedly spanned from classmates of Marshall’s when he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in 1906-1907 through students and instructors during the time he was vice commandant at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, to officers who performed well when he was observing maneuvers. The myth of the “little black book” has particular staying power because Marshall’s official biographer, Dr. Forrest C. Pogue, referenced it on page 95 of volume 2 of the biography.