Leadership in Turbulent Times
Lessons from the Presidents
'A marvellous banquet with four leaders whose lives provide lessons for all. Pull up a chair' Warren Buffett
'It is a safe bet that Leadership will soon sit on the nightstand of every chief executive officer in the land and will be avidly read by the legion of ambitious young people who want their jobs' Niall Ferguson, Sunday Times
In this culmination of five decades of work, Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an illuminating exploration of the origin, growth and exercise of leadership through the lives of four US presidents
Are leaders born or made? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the man make the times or do the times make the man?
In Leadership, acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin looks at four presidents - Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson - to show how they first recognized leadership qualities within themselves, and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking at their entry into public life and how they confronted the dilemmas of their times, we can follow their development into leaders of their time.
These stories of leadership in fractured times take on a singular urgency in today's polarized world and provide a much-needed roadmap for aspiring and established leaders.
'Colourful, fun and illuminating . . . a master storyteller' Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
Goodwin (Team of Rivals) further burnishes her credentials as a popular historian with this thoughtful revisiting of the lives of four presidents to whom she has previously dedicated individual books Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson with the aim of obtaining answers to eternal questions about leadership, including what life experiences contribute to it and whether "the times make the leader" or vice versa. She toggles back and forth between her subjects in sections that trace their upbringings and ambitions, the adversities that tested them (such as personal tragedies and crippling illness), and their approach to the major challenges that confronted them as presidents. She notes commonalities each of the four was determined to outwork political opponents as well as differences, for example contrasting Lincoln's impoverished childhood with the privileged upbringing both Roosevelts had. The meat of the book is four chapters, one for each subject, about important episodes in their presidencies, with headings naming elements of their leadership styles ("Acknowledge when failed policies demand a change in direction"; "Don't hit unless you have to, but when you hit, hit hard"). Goodwin does not shy from criticism, especially of Johnson, whom she worked for in the White House and helped with his memoirs; she writes that he stumbled badly on Vietnam. But overall the tone is inspirational, setting forth examples of how to do leadership right.