Character Carved in Stone

The 12 Core Virtues of West Point That Build Leaders and Produce Success

Cover Art

Where to Purchase

More Options


Overlooking the Hudson River on the campus of the United States Military Academy at West Point are 12 granite benches, each inscribed with a word representing a key leadership virtue: compassion, courage, dedication, determination, dignity, discipline, integrity, loyalty, perseverance, responsibility, service, and trust. These benches remind cadets of the qualities that lead to victory and success, not just on the battlefield, but in all of life.

With his signature enthusiasm and insight, Pat Williams shares the incredible stories of West Point graduates who exemplified these traits, from the Civil War to the War on Terror. He shows readers of all backgrounds how to develop these 12 essential virtues in their lives, whether they are in the corporate world, the academic world, the military, the church, or in some other sphere.


"Character Carved in Stone vividly captures many of the life lessons I learned as a student and athlete at West Point. You'll find it well worthwhile to live in these stories and learn these principles! In his latest book, Pat Williams shows you, step by step, just how you can acquire the leadership skills and character traits that are the foundation of the United States Military Academy. This book is a difference maker!"

Brig. Gen. Pete Dawkins, US Army (Ret); distinguished graduate, US Military Academy at West Point, 2002

"The world needs leaders with strong character more than ever. Pat Williams's book on the twelve leadership values at West Point is right on target. These values have stood the test of time and produced some of this country's most outstanding leaders. This book is a must-read if we want people who can solve the big challenges we all face."

Gen. Richard B. Myers, US Air Force (Ret); 15th chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; president, Kansas State University

"Pat has written a splendid book about the virtues that define a West Point education and differentiate it from all other universities. I enjoyed his book and heartily recommend it."

Col. Frank Borman, US Air Force (Ret); commander, Apollo 8

"I love the fact that Pat Williams has taken the twelve core virtues of West Point and created this new and exciting book. I was taught those virtues and have used them in everything that I have done since my graduation."

Mike Krzyzewski, head men's basketball coach, Duke University

"Pat Williams has done a masterful job of reminding us that leaders are made--not born. Character Carved in Stone reminds me of the DNA of greatness as evidenced in the pages of this great read."

Gen. Tommy R. Franks, US Army (Ret); former commander in chief, United States Central Command

"Character used to mean something other than a funny person. Pat Williams reminds us of what true character looks like and where to find it."

Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist

"If you're looking for a great inspirational read with an American military history theme, look no further. In Character Carved in Stone, Pat Williams matches up the twelve leadership virtues of West Point with true stories from academy-trained heroes--every chapter is a lesson in character qualities expected of military officers. I have often said the world is in desperate need of a new leadership role model. Readers who apply these time-tested principles to their lives and work will be well on their way to fulfilling that need."

Ken Blanchard, coauthor, The New One Minute Manager and Servant Leadership in Action

"Every time I scouted a game at Army West Point my spirits were lifted sky high. I had the same reaction while going through Character Carved in Stone. Get ready for a memorable reading experience."

Ernie Accorsi, former general manager, New York Giants

"Today's leaders are hungry for the wisdom and inspiration they will find in Pat Williams's new book, Character Carved in Stone. His stories and principles will enable readers to apply his vision to their leadership lives today. West Point's first classes began inspiring the young men of our county in 1802 and its twelve core values continue to do so for our young men and women. Character Carved in Stone opens new doors for today's leaders."

Frances Hesselbein, chairman, the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum; former CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA; recipient, Presidential Medal of Freedom

"My character-building journey, which continues today, got a herculean jump with my four years as a cadet at West Point. As a career army officer, nothing contributed more to my success than being a leader of character based on the virtues described here. The marvelous stories that Pat captures bring to life powerful lessons that can be of value to any leader, in any business, at any level. You cannot possibly read this book and not feel compelled to raise the bar on how you lead--it is that good."

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey W. Foley, US Army (Ret); class of 1978, US Military Academy at West Point; coauthor, Rules and Tools for Leaders

"My time at West Point shaped me as an officer and as a leader, so I know it's a special place. Pat Williams's book Character Carved in Stone captures the essence and values of what I consider to be one of America's greatest leadership institutions. For anyone who wants to become the best leader they can be, I recommend you read this book immediately."

Matt Caldwell, president and CEO, Florida Panthers and Sunrise Sports & Entertainment

"By drawing vital leadership lessons from the grit, courage, and tenacity of United States Military Academy graduates such as Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, Buzz Aldrin, and Norman Schwarzkopf, Character Carved in Stone reminds us why there's nothing better than West Pointers at their best. By spotlighting the virtues and values that propelled these Americans to greatness, Pat Williams's inspiring new book invites readers to join their ranks."

Robert M. S. McDonald, professor of history, US Military Academy at West Point; editor, Thomas Jefferson's Military Academy: Founding West Point

"I love West Point and I know Pat Williams does too. His new book captures the essence of these hallowed grounds in a very special manner. Read and be inspired."

Jeff Monken, head football coach, US Military Academy at West Point

"Pat Williams seamlessly blends memories of great American heroes all with Army West Point ingrained in them. He does a masterful job of showing the reader how impactful the United States Military Academy is in nurturing leaders of character . . . what a terrific read this is!"

Dave Magarity, head women's basketball coach, US Military Academy at West Point

"This book truly captures the essence of West Point and its incredible history. Not only does it tell wonderful stories about the graduates but it gives us a blueprint to help us improve many aspects of our lives. Thank you, Pat, for this tremendous book and the life lessons!"

Jimmy Allen, head men's basketball coach, US Military Academy at West Point

"In Character Carved in Stone, Pat Williams makes the rich traditions of West Point come alive. You won't be content to merely read this book. You'll want to live it. The stories will inspire you, the principles will empower you, and the wisdom in these pages will challenge you to carve your own character in stone."

Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, Jr., US Army (Ret); 59th superintendent, US Military Academy at West Point

The Authors

  1. Pat Williams

    Pat Williams

    Pat Williams is senior vice president of the NBA's Orlando Magic. He has more than 50 years of professional sports experience, has written more than 100 books, including the popular Coach Wooden, Coach Wooden's Greatest Secret, and Character...

    Continue reading about Pat Williams

  2. Jim Denney

    Jim Denney

    Jim Denney is the author of Walt's Disneyland, Answers to Satisfy the Soul, Writing in Overdrive, and the Timebenders series for young readers. He has written many books with Pat Williams, including Coach Wooden, The...

    Continue reading about Jim Denney