Should the American public read Jim Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty? If you care about the facts, truth, democracy and America, then YES! you need to read this book.
“What is happening now is not normal. It is not fake news. It is not okay.” – James Comey, p. 276.
This book is not about Trump or a disgruntled former government employee trying to get his 15 minutes of fame. This book is about ethics and leadership. Someone is ringing the liberty bell sounding the alert that something is very wrong. We need to pay attention to what is being said and what is happening.
Every fact in this book is being echoed and repeated again and again everywhere we turn. These very facts were even featured in the Democratic National Committee’s complaint in DNC vs. Russia, Trump, et al. that was filed in court on April 20, 2018. If you have not read the complaint, take time to read the facts. It details how the Russians interfered with our election and how the Trump Campaign worked with the Russians to commit treasonous illegal acts to get Donald Trump elected.
While those of you who may read this post are not Democrat and will dismiss the action because it is a lawsuit filed by the DNC, the point I want to make is that the DNC echoes what the former FBI Director mentions in his book and in his memos. The truth is being repeated again and again. It is up to you whether you want to take the politics out of it and focus on what is more important, the truth or the lies.
As Americans, we cannot dismiss what is happening. Take the politics out of of it. That is what Comey is doing here and has been doing ever since he first became a public servant. He serves America, not any political party. After reading this book, I think you will understand how stupid and nasty politics can be. There is no place for it in our justice system.
Before I begin my review of James Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty, I need to do a full disclosure.
I do not know Mr. Comey personally, but I do know former AUSAs (Assistant US Attorneys) that worked with him and for him. Two of them are actually his friends. I am proud to call all three of those former AUSAs “my guys.”
The characteristics I admire the most about Comey, I see in my guys. The ethics, professionalism and leadership are all things they learned from him. These are all traits I cherish greatly in my guys, so to see people challenge Mr. Comey, it is like a punch in the gut to me. People are saying the things I love the most about my guys are not worthy of praise…when they are.
With leaders like Comey, you can see how they inspire and challenge people to be better than they already are. One of my guys did that with me. His leadership skills are a direct result of what he learned from Comey. This is him in a nutshell:
“Effective leaders almost never need to yell. The leader will have created an environment where disappointing him causes his people to be disappointed in themselves. Guilt and affection are far more powerful motivators than fear.
They love this man, know he loves them, and will work tirelessly not to disappoint him. People are drawn to this kind of leader, as I draw on all those years ago to Harry Howell, the grocer. A leader who screams at his employees or belittles them will not attract and retain great talent over the long term.” – James Comey (p. 135)
That is why you should read this book, especially if you are in a leadership role, or want to one day be a leader. Comey’s leadership points are all the points I value in ethical leadership.
But we can’t talk about Comey without talking about the elephant in the room.
There is a consensus among us that Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails was ill handled. I would not have gone running to Congress or made an announcement that there was a ‘matter.’ He should have waited until the investigation was concluded before saying anything. Because in the end, they found nothing worth prosecuting her for.
Comey thought about this from every angle (after the fact), including what his colleagues would say. No surprise, they said those things. Imagine their surprise when I pointed to the exact passage in Comey’s book where their criticism of his handling of the emails was what he knew they would say about him.
He even thought about what someone else would have ultimately decided if they were in his place (concealing until the investigation was complete). He chose to speak, rather than to conceal. That is a decision he does not regret making. The only thing he regrets is that Clinton ever had a laptop to begin with. He wishes she never did this with her emails.
He presents all of the facts and all of the factors influencing him in this decision and asks if you would have done things differently. Or would you have done the same thing?
That being said, I do believe that as each and every one of us has a right to speak, you also need to let Comey speak. He has that same right, too. After all, he is one of us now…a private citizen.
I attended his first stop on his book tour. When my guys asked me how it went, they were shocked at my response, because I walked away from the event hurt and sad. Comey was okay. He is everything and more than I expected. It was what happened that night that bothered me.
When I arrived at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, I saw 30-40 NYPD officers out front. There were several manning the doors to the store. At first, I thought there was a bomb threat or a situation going on and I needed to evacuate. That’s when I saw them.
Sectioned off to the side were two groups of protesters with signs with Trump’s words about Comey on them. Trumpers.
When I realized that was why all the cops were there, I showed the cop my bracelet and he opened the door for me. As I made my way upstairs, the escalator leading to the event was blocked off. People were just standing around looking at security. So I asked security if the event was full. She started to say something and I showed her my bracelet. She waved me through, saying I was okay.
I took my seat in a room packed with people that not only bought the book, but support Comey. They were there to hear what he had to say, because really he’s not the bad guy. He is the good guy that Trump decided to make into his enemy.
Comey arrived and described what is in 11 of the 14 chapters of the book (you know, the part the media is not talking about). When he switched to answering pre-submitted questions, a protester spoke up and started shouting at him. The rest of the room tried to drown her out so that the microphone and cameras could not pick up what she was saying.
In that moment, I felt complete sadness and disappointment in the human race that our political climate has led us to irrational monsters like this. I looked at Comey as all of this transpired. Even though it was like they were throwing shit at his face, he did exactly what his childhood mentor, Harry Howell, would have done. He turned the other cheek and smiled.
Five minutes or so after the first protester was removed, another stood up holding up some flag about fascism. What that has to do with Comey, I don’t know. But as I felt that disappointment and sadness again, I looked to Comey. Once again, he stood there silent, waiting for the woman to be removed. He had turned the other cheek and smiled. This is what I call a man with good moral fiber.
As I left at the end of the event, I took the escalators down. On the next floor, a group of protesters waited. One woman saw me and pushed people aside and almost climbed onto the escalator. She started yelling at me and anyone that would listen: “Did he even apologize?”
Of course, I am thinking, “For what?” But I am not about to take the bait and argue with a woman acting bat shit crazy. I mean, she was trying to jump onto the side of the escalator to get to me. I just gave her a complete look of disgust because this is not normal. This is not how people act.
As I started to leave, a NYPD officer held the door open for me. I did not even have one foot out the door of Barnes & Noble when a Trumper yelled something so horrible at me, the cop reeled back in disgust.
I think I stopped, realizing something was amiss and turned in the direction the words came from. The cop quietly said to me, “Just ignore her and walk away.” I don’t even know what the person said. I just followed what the officer said because he was trying to protect me.
I crossed the street into Union Square and almost cried. Why? Because of how low humanity has become. I felt disappointed that people act this way. I was sad for humanity, but even sadder for Comey. Everyone deserves the right to speak, including him.
That is the purpose of this book. This is Comey trying to tell you about his life and career and what led him to making all of the decisions he made.
DO NOT, and I mean DO NOT go by what the media is telling you this book is about. Read it for yourself like I did. I bought four copies. I gave one to each of my guys.
And for that Trumper protester that said shit to me…and I know you are the same person who said you were banning Barnes & Noble when I first arrived. My only response to your ban is: So? You probably don’t read books anyway. You should try. That way you won’t be wasting your time outside of a bookstore yelling at it.
A Surprise For You
So I recorded the audio from the event. I didn’t get the first few minutes of it, because I wasn’t thinking. But I did get the majority of it, including the protesters. When the second protester came by talking about fascism, I covered the microphone on the phone.
While I believe that everyone should have their right to speak, there is a time and a place for it. If you are shouting something bat shit crazy that the world does not need to know, I am not giving you MY platform to continue your crazy.
So whether you, the reader of this post, think this is unfair, keep in mind that there are certain ideologies that should not be passed around. Those truths belong to that woman. I don’t need it and the world does not need it. She needs it.
This event was about Jim Comey, not her. You came here to read about Comey, not the ideologies of a deranged woman. Bearing that in mind, I am sharing with you the audio from the event.
The Review From Someone Who Actually Read the Book
“The credibility of the Department of Justice is its bedrock. The American people must see the administration of justice as independent of politics, race, class, religion, or any of the many other things that divide humans into tribes.” – James Comey
There are 14 chapters in this book. Only 3 chapters detail what happened with Trump. The rest is about Comey’s life and career. One surefire way to tell if the person of the book review actually read the book is one simple thing…did they find the bombshell Comey drops in the book? If there is no mention of the bombshell or that it even exists, then guess what? They didn’t read the book.
Comey even dropped the clue in the audio feed (see above). I was not that far into the book when he mentioned it, but now that I’ve read the book, I am like…WHOA! And guess what? I am not going to tell you what the bombshell is. You have to, I don’t know, read the book to find out.
I say that to be mean, because I know a lot of the reviews out there are based on people reading the last three chapters of his book. They skip over the first 11 chapters as if they are not relevant, when they are. I would call every single one of those book reviews FAKE NEWS. And each and every single media person that published their reviews as such should be ashamed of themselves. What happened to ethics and integrity?
Then there are also the plagiarizers. You know who you are. Read the book.
What you need to know…
Why You Need To Read the Book
When I first began reading Comey’s book, I did not know what to expect beyond the fact it was about ethics and professionalism (and something in there about Trump). And truthfully, I am glad I did not know what to expect, because it was a pleasant surprise. I wanted more and more of what Comey had to say about his life and career.
The Thursday before the book came out, I stood in my work husband’s office as he showed me framed collages of his work at the US Attorney’s Office SDNY taking down notorious criminals, including the mob. [After prosecutors successfully convict a notorious criminal, someone in the US DOJ compiles all of the newspaper headlines, shrinks them down and puts them into an artful collage to give to the prosecutor.] So imagine hearing those stories and then opening up Comey’s book and reading about those same stories from another, more in depth perspective.
From the mob stories to being on the edge of your seat as Comey races to save the day against agents from the White House who sought to take advantage of an incapacitated Attorney General to Comey’s discomfort, trying to hide from President Trump, almost to the point of jumping out the window, his book will intrigue you as you beg for even more. You will laugh, cry, feel heartbroken and proud that this man tried to stand up to do what he believed was right every single time.
More importantly, he tried his best to distance himself from politics so he could focus on the rule of law. Comey stresses how important it is for the DOJ to be separate from the White House and politics. They must be independent so that they can protect Americans and the US Constitution. The FBI does not protect the President. That’s what the Secret Service is for. The FBI protects Americans and the Constitution. It should never belong to any President or political party. It must be independent.
“We are fortunate some ethical leaders have chosen to serve and to stay at senior levels of government, but they cannot prevent all of the damage from the forest fire that is the Trump presidency. Their task is to try to contain it.” (p. 275)
When I mailed this book to one of my guys that decided to return to the senior levels of government to be one of the people Comey references above, I noted that everyone gets a little something different out of what they read in books. For me, it has a lot to do with things happening for a reason.
The part that stuck out to me as the main theme throughout is that he keeps repeating everything happens for a reason.
When he was a teen, the Ramsey Rapist paid a visit to his home. What happened that nightmarish night would later help him go down a path that would lead him to becoming the FBI Director, putting away criminals like the Ramsey Rapist.
When he was learning the ropes, fresh out of law school, he would watch as AUSAs prosecuted members of the mob. He would later become an AUSA prosecuting mobsters, to one day becoming the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
When they lost their infant son, Collin, to sepsis (a blood infection), his wife tried to find meaning in the loss. She never wanted what happened to her to happen to another mother. So she went on a mission to make sure the laws in America changed. And they did. Collin Edward Comey’s death is the reason why today, pregnant mothers are tested for the Strep B virus, and the babies are treated with penicillin when they are born.
“But sometimes it isn’t when we face death ourselves, but rather when death takes away those we love the most, that we really learn about just how short our time on earth is and why what we do with that time matters.” (p. 43)
It is in reading these stories from moments in his life that you can see how James Comey shaped his own fate. When bad things happened, he (and his wife) looked for the silver lining. They never let those moments deter them or destroy them, instead, they used those experiences to help guide them in their journey to becoming better versions of themselves.
It is in understanding the moments that shaped James Comey that will help you to understand the decisions he made with regards to Hillary Clinton’s emails and Trump.
Can We Trust Comey?
Someone asked me recently if Comey is credible. I am going to say, “Yes.”
It is not in his character to be the bad guy. He is not going to lie about the things that matter the most. Sure, he used to lie about playing basketball in school, but that is only because the lie did not matter. But the truth is the lie did matter. He regretted ever lying to begin with.
What tests your moral fiber of whether you are innately good or bad is when you do something bad like bully or lie. How did you feel afterward? Did you feel remorse? Did you hate that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you did something wrong? Or no? You felt nothing?
I think at some point, in order to test who we really are, we have to stand on both sides to understand our own moral compass. Comey talks about the years he was bullied (including the wedgies), and then the time he bullied someone else and regretted it. He also talks about the lies he told people about playing basketball, and then later regretted.
He uses himself as an example to compare the good/bad moral compass when he describes the bullying and lies coming from Trump. It is far different and allows you to see this presidency from a different perspective – his own.
You must keep in mind that Comey is a Republican. He donated to campaigns that ran against President Obama. But you will see his respect for Obama as a leader and what he learned from him on how to be a more effective leader.
You don’t have to be from the same political party to respect someone as a leader. When you take the politics out of it, things get done. You learn more from each other.
Working under Bush and then Obama, Comey learned many things about leadership. Knowing how a president is supposed to act, taking notes means that something is amiss and not right. In a way, everything that happened in his life up until that moment, prepared him for what was to come. It helped him to make the decisions he made, including legally releasing the unclassified memos as a private citizen, and writing this book.
In the End
With Comey’s firing, I wonder how this will shape the next part of his story. His book sold out within two days. He sold 2x more (600,000 copies) than Hillary Clinton’s book sold (300,000 copies) in the first week. That $18 signed first edition copy I got was worth $500 just six days later.
He may never return to government service. Maybe he’ll continue to write more books, sharing his stories from his mob days or his days as Deputy Attorney General or FBI Director. Or maybe he’ll continue teaching the world the importance of ethical leadership.
If you want to know what I really think…everyone who cares about what is going on today should read this book. I enjoyed this book immensely. When he described the White House encounter with Trump and how he was trying so hard to hide, I laughed hysterically. I cried when he described the note his mother kept in her drawer. My heart broke when they lost Collin. I sat on the edge of my seat as they sped down Pennsylvania Avenue to get to the Attorney General. And my head shook at the evil words Trump delivered to Andrew McCabe.
I want to leave with this quote from his book that goes perfectly with what Perfectionist Wannabe is about. This is an example of what one of my guys learned from Comey about leadership. He passed these qualities along to me and it helped shape me into who I am today.
“LeBron James…he is never satisfied he is good enough. I have read that he spends every off-season working on some part of his game to improve it. At first glance, that seems crazy; he’s already better than everybody else. But it makes complete sense when you consider his perspective: he isn’t measuring himself against the other players; he is measuring himself against himself. The best leaders don’t care much about “benchmarking,” comparing their organization to others. They know theirs is not good enough, and constantly push to get better.” (p. 135)