Learning how to be a great leader is essential for us all. Whether you know it or not, we’re all leaders in our daily lives.
It might be your job – from CEO to teacher, politician to parent. Or you might just be the friend who likes to make the plans.
Leadership's already an essential skill, but becoming a great leader can unlock your potential and help you reach new heights.
And who better to teach leadership than President George W. Bush himself?
The incredible experience directly from the 43rd President of the United States, leader of a global superpower who confronted unprecedented challenges (and his fair share of controversies) certainly has something to teach you.
This George Bush MasterClass review will give you all the information you need to decide for yourself whether this course is right for you, plus my personal thoughts on what it’s offering, its content, and delivery.
I think you’ll find that it’s worth taking advantage of President Bush’s wealth of experience at the top level of leadership, which he makes applicable to our daily lives and aspirations.
In a rush? Here’s my review in brief.
You will learn:
- The importance of having a set of personal principles, and sticking to them
- Practical leadership tips, like building a strong team and making tough decisions
- President Bush’s personal values of humanity and humility
- How to use your life experiences to become a better leader
- The best way for a leader to relate to the people around them
- How to apply general lessons to specific situations in your role as leader
- Learn from an expert leader with impressive credentials
- Focus on promoting values both for high-profile leadership positions, and leadership in daily life
- Easy to use platform with excellent accompanying resources
- Well-organized, structured lessons for easy digestion of material
- Political focus, perhaps not applicable to all – though principles can be applied to a range of situations
- Very specific example-based teaching
- Some advice is repeated more than once (which does demonstrate consistent values and facilitates learning)
Length of course: 12 lessons, totalling 3 hours
Best for: Those who want to enhance their leadership skills, understand the driving principles of a President, or simply learn more about George W. Bush. Leaders of all kinds would find value in this class, from aspiring politicians who would benefit from the lesson on ‘entering public service’, to leaders in everyday life. What’s taught here are transferable skills that can be applied to a range of situations.
Overall: President Bush offers a thoughtful and accessible look into the life experiences and values that make him a great leader, and how you can develop your own skills to do the same. His advice is supported by anecdotal examples and insights into politics, business, and personal life. While the examples are often highly political (which may be controversial for some) Bush explains his motivations and suggests how you can apply leadership principles in your life.
In this George Bush MasterClass review, you’ll find out:
- More about George W. Bush and the platform, MasterClass
- A detailed look at what this course offers
- My personal pro and con list
- Who this course is for
- How much the course costs
- Alternative online leadership courses
- What others think about this course
- How long the course takes to complete
- Whether this course is unique
- Whether this course is worth it
- Frequently asked questions
About George W. Bush
The most impressive of George W. Bush’s credentials is self-evident: he served two terms as 43rd President of the United States. And in that time he dealt with unprecedented crises – including the terrorist threat of 9/11, US involvement in the Iraq War, the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, and the 2008 financial crisis.
But in addition to this unique experience, President Bush has also founded a small company, worked as managing partner of the Texas Rangers, served as Texas governor, and now has turned his hand to painting.
It’s clear that there’s no one better to learn how to lead authentically from.
Want to see for yourself? Check out his MasterClass trailer here:
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A look inside the George Bush MasterClass
This course consists of 12 lessons. Each deals with a different aspect of President Bush’s leadership style and is broken down into subsections for extra detail which is easy to follow. The course also includes a detailed downloadable PDF with further exercises to apply lessons to your own experiences.
The teaching style is mostly one-on-one lessons, with anecdotes to demonstrate good and bad examples, case studies which detail specific situations of leadership, and plenty of profound guidance from President Bush.
The twelve lessons cover every aspect of leadership, such as diplomacy, crisis management, and big-picture visions. Each one is distinct and valuable. I’ve sorted the twelve key learning points into themes so you can have a more detailed idea of what’s on offer.
Lessons 2, 4, and 8: Interpersonal relationships
“You can never have enough help”
In lesson two, you’ll learn about personal diplomacy. Putting others at ease, using empathy to understand different perspectives, and uniting rather than dividing are key points. Importantly, Bush stresses that trust and communication yield results.
A leader always needs other people. And in lesson four you’ll understand the importance of surrounding yourself with the best possible team, and how to lead them on terms of equality to center the mission, and not yourself.
Lesson eight teaches you how to communicate effectively. There's practical, down-to-earth advice on delivering speeches, helping yourself and others to relax, and dealing with a high-profile job and the press.
Lessons 3, 5, and 7: Learning to lead
“A leader has to be bold within reason, and daring in application”
These three lessons cover essential elements of leadership: looking at the big-picture, making tough decisions, and acting in a crisis.
Bush summarizes in lesson three that a leader’s job “is to project a vision: what is it you want to accomplish, and how will you get there?” Aligning authority and responsibility, sharing credit and taking blame, and knowing where you’re heading are three essential elements of this class.
Lesson five covers one of the trickiest aspects of leadership, which is making hard decisions. And importantly, Bush gives advice on taking the criticism that often follows.
One thing that the former President has unparalleled experience in is crisis management. Using examples from his time in office, he will guide you on the best way to remain calm and lead effectively in times of urgency, and even disaster.
Lessons 6, 9, and 10: The World of Politics
These classes focus on the political world. Bush provides essential guidance on accountability, strategy and successful policy in lesson six.
Then his personal career trajectory is outlined in the ninth video. Here he demonstrates that every step is a step in the right direction, and each one offers a new learning experience.
Lesson ten provides detailed and direct advice on entering a career in politics. Having made it to the top, there’s no one better to provide guidance on putting in hard work, dealing with setbacks, and balancing your personal and work lives.
Lessons 11 and 12: President Bush’s personal life and ethos
“So long as you’re guided by a cause greater than self, you can endure criticism – because it’s gonna come”
The final two lessons of this course give a glimpse of the man behind the Presidency, his personal values, goals, and priorities, and the humanity that goes into great leadership.
Lesson 12, especially, gives insight into the artistic side of Bush and his new hobby of painting.
What I liked about the George Bush MasterClass
Advice for life and leadership
I really enjoyed that a lot of President Bush’s advice can be applied both to high-profile leadership positions, and leadership situations in daily life. His stress on personal principles, acting with intention and integrity, and always aiming to improve is admirable.
Leadership is about humanity, and humility
A key misunderstanding about leadership is often that it centers the leader, and draws away from the mission those who work with you to achieve it. Buch challenges that view in his team-based and communicative approach.
Experience is the best teacher
And, boy, is George W. Bush experienced. The wisdom of the former President shines through in the nuanced, relevant examples from his life and career.
An expertly curated course
The structure, pacing, and flow of the course is excellent. Bush talks you through each aspect of the best kind of leader in steps, crafting the overall image of a leader which is aspirational, but attainable.
Bonus resource with detail and relevant exercises
A 56-page PDF is also available to anyone who takes the course, which not only provides great contextual information on your instructor, but also goes into details of Bush’s lessons and advice, and provides opportunities to apply your knowledge with practical exercises.
What I think could be improved
Sometimes, our expectations mean we don’t find exactly what we’re looking for in a course. And of course, nearly every course can improve in some way. Here are my thoughts on what I think MasterClass could have done differently, to try and give you the most realistic idea of what’s on offer.
Repetition (or, emphasis)
Some key concepts in the teaching are repeated across lessons, which could become monotonous for viewers. However, Bush’s engaging style and insightful comments make this repetition less obvious, and may in fact help you understand the core elements of his philosophy on leadership.
Unsurprisingly, Bush draws on his experience as President heavily in his MasterClass. Which makes sense, as this is the top level of leadership certainly in the country, and perhaps in the world. But some viewers may find this a little too distant from everyday life to be applicable.
In addition, Bush’s time in the White House was controversial. Those opposed to his political decisions may find this MasterClass provocative.
Very specific examples
Some examples used by the former President are extremely specific and unique to his specific leadership roles. These include introducing policies such as PEPFAR or responding to the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. However, these examples do emphasize the practical application of his lessons and can be adapted to different leadership situations.
Who is this course for?
This course is highly accessible, and relevant to a wide group of people. Here’s who I think would most enjoy and benefit from President Bush’s advice:
- People in leadership positions, aiming to fill their role to the best of their abilities
- Those aiming for a career in politics
- Anyone who has leadership responsibilities, in work, school, or day to day life
- Fans of President Bush who’d enjoy insight into his personal life and decision-making
- Someone who wants to understand the importance of personal values and integrity
- Leaders who want to maintain humility while achieving their mission
How much does the course cost?
MasterClass is a brilliantly diverse platform. You sign up on a subscription basis, giving you an all-access pass to its 150+ courses and incredible instructors.
At the time of writing, an individual, annual membership costs $15/month ($180/year). I think this is a fantastic price, considering the the range and quality of the courses on offer, and the global icons who teach its courses.
And it gets better – you can make a saving by purchasing your subscription with friends or family. Duo membership is $20/month, and family membership (for six people) is just $23/month.
This is an extremely competitive price for a leadership course, which is highly demanded online. The transferable skills and previously unseen advice from the former President makes this course a bargain. Additional courses on leadership are also available, to give you a real variety of guidance from the likes of Bill Clinton and Anna Wintour.
What’s more, is that MasterClass offers a 30 day refund policy, if you find that the plan isn’t for you. But from my experience, I think that once you get access to the fantastic classes offered on this unique platform, you won’t want to quit.
Alternatives to George W. Bush’s MasterClass on Authentic Leadership
Leadership is a broad category, with loads of different elements which can be taught and learnt about. I’ve searched online for courses which could either complement Authentic Leadership, or be an overall better fit for you.
On MasterClass itself there are several classes that would complement this one:
- Bill Clinton teaches inclusive leadership
- Bob Iger teaches business strategy and leadership
- Doris Kearns Goodwin teaches US Presidential leadership and History
- Anna Wintour teaches creativity and leadership
A popular online leadership course is “How to Use Leadership Styles Effectively: Matched Leadership”, taught by Markus Amanto on Udemy. This course offers a theoretical approach to different leadership styles and detailed information on how and when to apply them. This course could work well with Bush’s more anecdotal approach, to give you the best of both worlds in understanding leadership practices.
Alternatively, longer courses are also available. These might give you a more in-depth look into leading and new skills for your toolbox.
For example, Coursera offers a five month specialization course on “Leading People and Teams” with the University of Michigan. With highly qualified instructors, weekly practical projects, and the opportunity to earn an accredited certificate, this course is great for those who really want profound knowledge and qualifications.
However, this might be a little too specialized for those who simply want to brush up on some transferable leadership skills and practical advice.
Authentic Leadership: what others have said
It’s nothing new to say that Bush’s presidency was polemical. As a result, some viewers found his MasterClass difficult to digest due to their own political and personal opinions on the instructor and his decisions made while in office. On Reddit, for example, there was some backlash, but with any political figure this is to be expected.
Other reviewers, such as Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast, and AP News, have seen value in the course, with the latter mentioning the “intimate window” that we get into the goal of “life-long learning” that the class provides.
Overall, if you can get past personal politics and view the guidance more objectively, it’s clear that you’ll find some real insight and practical leadership advice in this course.
How long it took to complete
The course contains 12 videos which vary between 10 and 20 minutes, totalling 3 hours of material altogether. With additional information and exercises worked alongside these videos, this course took me about 3.5 hours to complete.
Is the course content unique?
While the leadership principles outlined in this course are not highly original, the insights and anecdotes that President Bush provides certainly are.
Addressing the most pivotal moments in his career, such as a play-by-play of his experience on 9/11, or the infamous ‘Bushisms’ that characterized his presidency, this course will illuminate the enigmatic figure of George W. Bush for anyone who is interested in what guides and motivates him.
So while there are certainly valuable learning points in Authentic Leadership which make it worthy in and of itself, the presence of its instructor elevates these lessons to make them a truly unique learning experience.
Is the George W. Bush MasterClass worth it?
In my opinion, this is an insightful course which is worth your time and money. Especially considering the additional benefits of subscribing to the MasterClass platform.
If you’re interested in politics then this course provides fantastic practical advice. Equally, if you’re curious about the enigmatic figure of President Bush, these classes will give a glimpse into his life both during and after his time in the White House. This course might not be suited to those who are strongly opposed to some of Bush’s political stances, but could give insight as to his motivations behind them.
Overall, Bush presents great leadership as a series of excellent, human qualities, something that we can all use, and achieve.
And with a subscription to MasterClass you can take your pick of 150+ courses taught by the political, social, and cultural leaders of our time. All with the insurance of a 30-day refund policy. Why not give it a go?
Frequently asked questions
Subscription to MasterClass costs $15/month ($180/annually) which gives you access to Authentic Leadership and 150+ other courses on the platform.
The course consists of 12 videos, totalling 3 hours.
Authentic Leadership is offered exclusively on MasterClass, which requires membership to access.
Yes. MasterClass offers a 30 day refund policy if you’re not satisfied with your membership, which you can get by cancelling your account.
Maddy is a current King’s College London student, going into her final year reading Spanish with English BA Hons. She loves to write, learn, and share knowledge.