NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“After five decades of magisterial output, Doris Kearns Goodwin leads the league of presidential historians. Insight is her imprint.”—USA TODAY
“A book like Leadership should help us raise our expectations of our national leaders, our country and ourselves.”—The Washington Post
“We can only hope that a few of Goodwin’s many readers will find in her subjects’ examples a margin of inspiration and a resolve to steer the country to a better place.”—The New York Times Book Review
In this culmination of five decades of acclaimed studies in presidential history, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an illuminating exploration of the early development, growth, and exercise of leadership.
Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader?
In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon the four presidents she has studied most closely—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)—to show how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entries into public life, we encounter them at a time when their paths were filled with confusion, fear, and hope.
Leadership tells the story of how they all collided with dramatic reversals that disrupted their lives and threatened to shatter forever their ambitions. Nonetheless, they all emerged fitted to confront the contours and dilemmas of their times.
No common pattern describes the trajectory of leadership. Although set apart in background, abilities, and temperament, these men shared a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience that enabled them to surmount uncommon hardships. At their best, all four were guided by a sense of moral purpose. At moments of great challenge, they were able to summon their talents to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others.
This seminal work provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field. In today’s polarized world, these stories of authentic leadership in times of apprehension and fracture take on a singular urgency.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Doris Kearns Goodwin’s interest in leadership began more than half a century ago as a teacher at Harvard. Her experiences working for LBJ in the White House and later assisting him on his memoirs led to Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She followed up with the Pulitzer Prize–winning No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor: The Home Front in World War II. She earned the Lincoln Prize for the runaway bestseller Team of Rivals, the basis for Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award–winning film Lincoln, and the Carnegie Medal for The Bully Pulpit, the New York Times bestselling chronicle of the friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with her husband, the writer Richard N. Goodwin.
Date of Birth:January 4, 1943
Place of Birth:Brooklyn, NY
Education:B. A., Colby College; Ph.D., Harvard University
Table of Contents
I Ambition and the Recognition of Leadership
1 Abraham: "Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition" 3
2 Theodore: "I rose like a rocket" 21
3 Franklin: "No, call me Franklin" 39
4 Lyndon: "A steam engine in pants" 68
II Adversity and Growth
5 Abraham Lincoln: "I must die or be better" 97
6 Theodore Roosevelt: "The light has gone out of my life" 124
7 Franklin Roosevelt: "Above all, try something" 160
8 Lyndon Johnson: "The most miserable period of my life" 182
III The Leader and the Times: How They Led
9 Transformational Leadership: Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation 211
10 Crisis Management: Theodore Roosevelt and the Coal Strike 243
11 Turnaround Leadership: Franklin Roosevelt and the Hundred Days 273
12 Visionary Leadership: Lyndon Johnson and Civil Rights 306
Epilogue: Of Death and Remembrance 345
Business Books on Leadership Skills 383
Abbreviations Used in Notes 387
Illustration Credits 449
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Must read for all presidential scholars. Leadership begins and ends with keeping ones word.
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Inspiring. Educational. Entertaining. Changed my opinion of Lyndon Johnson and introduced me to four presidents who faced adversity with courage and conviction and patriotism. Beautifully crafted and obviously well-researched. I have seen and enjoyed the author’s presentations on the state of the presidency on cable news shows but her writing is stunning. Not a surprise she has won a Pulitzer for past offerings. This is likely to earn her another. With all the news about the lack of leadership by the current occupant of the White House, this book reminds of us what we have enjoyed in past leadership and what we can hope for in the future. Spoiler alert: If you judged LBJ simply by the failed leadership in Vietnam, as I had, you missed the remarkable courage and leadership that defines him as one of the most successful civil rights leaders of our time.
Doris Kearns Goodwin has for many years been my favorite political biographer from having read her books on Presidents Lincoln, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. She remains so after my reading this 2018 book of 414 pages comparing those four Presidents. Character can be defined by examining the mental or moral attitude of a person upon experiencing dramatic reversals. Lincoln suffered a blow to his public reputation and private sense of honor that led to near-suicidal depression as a young man in Illinois. Theodore Roosevelt lost his young wife and mother on the same day, and Franklin Roosevelt was left permanently paralyzed from the waist down by polio. Johnson lost an election to the US Senate and construed it as a repudiation of his deepest self. (Page 9). This book addresses how each man dealt with his crisis. All four learned when their ideas did not work out. Lincoln lost most of his elections before becoming President. Teddy’s dogmatic nature once prevented him from working with others he did not like; he learned that compromise with such people was necessary (54). FDR had been haughty as a young man, but his polio resulted in a new humility of spirit and concern for other afflicted patients, especially at the Warm Springs, Georgia resort that he opened for polio patients (194). LBJ learned from and about other politicians and accordingly adapted his efforts as Senate Majority Leader (230). Storytelling was important to all of them. Lincoln shared many when traveling as an attorney on the circuit when other attorneys would stay at the same place. Teddy shared his experiences as a North Dakota rancher to overcome depression after his wife died. FDR was a world-class small talker. A few years out of college, LBJ taught his San Antonio high school students that storytelling was the key to successful debating (99). Teddy learned that advancement did not come in projected steps. He came to assume that each job opportunity might be his last. By accepting jobs that seemed to be lower in status than what he deserved and doing those jobs well, he advanced to higher ones. He liked to say, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” (158). An acute sense of timing was a secret to Lincoln’s gifted leadership; he moved in conjunction with the circumstances. Pondering when to publish the Emancipation Proclamation caused him mental turmoil. Once his decision was made to issue it, a determined stillness descended upon him because of his confidence that the country would follow him. (267-8). Much more could be stated about this book but I should limit the length of this review.