The former CIA director who worked with Clinton, Bush, and Obama breaks down the presidents' leadership styles

John Brennan had an inside look into the US presidency.

Brennan was the director of the CIA until January 2017; he worked with Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

In an episode of Business Insider’s podcast, “Success! How I Did It,” Brennan explained to Business Insider US Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell the differences in each president’s leadership style.

Here are Brennan’s thoughts on the last three US presidents:

Clinton remembered everything ‘like a computer’

“The thing about President Clinton is that he had a photographic memory. He would read something, or I’d brief him on something, and then two or three months later, when I’m briefing him on something else, he’d say, ‘Didn’t you tell me — ?’ and then he would recollect something that I had long since forgotten. You could see his brain was working like a computer.”

Bush was a ‘wise person’ who ‘wanted to do what was right’

“President George W. Bush, as I mentioned, he’s somebody who had tremendous, tremendous respect for CIA officers, the intelligence community. Obviously being there at 9/11 and the aftermath of that, he was somebody who, again, wanted to talk to the experts, and not just the directors of the CIA, whatever. I was heading up a multi-agency counterterrorism program at the time, so I had a lot of interaction with him, and I felt as though he was really trying to get to the bottom of things because he wanted to do what was right.

“And although I didn’t agree with a number of his decisions — and, quite frankly, I blame that not on President Bush but some of the people around him in the White House who had a rather dark view of the world, but I won’t mention Vice President Cheney. But President Bush really was a very hard worker, very diligent. He’s somebody who recognised he didn’t have all the knowledge that he needed, but I felt that he was a wise person because he tried to tap into the knowledge of others.”

Barack ObamaGetty ImagesBarack Obama.

Obama sought ‘other views and perspectives’

“President Obama, as somebody who I worked obviously most closely with, he would, you know, stay up into the early hours of the morning reading papers and absorbing it, and so any meeting he would go to, he had a lot of background already on it. But what I always found interesting, as well as I admired, he would always ask, ‘What do you think?’ He tried to draw out from people other views and perspectives.”

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