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The Unread Perfection: A Glimpse Into the Meticulous Mind of Henry Kissinger

There once was a time when Henry Kissinger, known for his sharp wit and uncompromising standards, served as a challenging yet profoundly insightful mentor to his aides. Among the many tales of his demanding nature, one stands out for its blend of humor and lesson in diligence.

In the bustling corridors of power, an eager young aide was tasked with drafting a speech for Kissinger. With the weight of expectation, the aide meticulously crafted the speech, presenting it to Kissinger with a mix of anticipation and trepidation. Kissinger, after a cursory glance, handed back the draft with a simple instruction, “It’s not good enough. Try again.”

Determined to meet the high standards set by his boss, the aide reworked the entire speech, refining each argument and polishing every phrase. Yet, each revised version returned with the same disheartening feedback, “Still not good enough. Try again.”

This cycle continued multiple times, with the aide’s frustration growing and his options dwindling. Finally, after another late night of revisions, the aide presented what he believed to be the flawless version of the speech, declaring, “This is the best I can do. I can make it no better.”

To this, Kissinger, with a hint of a smirk, responded, “Good, now I’ll actually read it.”

This anecdote, perhaps apocryphal, perfectly encapsulates the essence of Kissinger’s leadership style. It wasn’t merely about pushing his staff to their limits; it was about instilling a sense of excellence and the relentless pursuit of perfection. Whether he had read the previous drafts or not, Kissinger’s approach ensured that the aide delivered nothing short of his absolute best, a lesson in dedication that extends far beyond the confines of politics.

So, before you submit your work to your boss, perhaps you should re-read it and ask yourself have I done a good enough job

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