In this culmination of five decades of acclaimed studies in presidential history, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an illuminating exploration into 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 man make the times or do the times make the man?
In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon four of the presidents she has studied most closely—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)—to show how they first recognized leadership qualities within themselves, and were recognized by others as leaders.
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 adversity. 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.
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.
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.
I am a fan of Ms. Goodwin, and she had me hooked from the first page of "Leadership: In Turbulent Times" . While lengthy (as history often is ), it is not a difficult book. If you are familiar with her work I don’t need to explain that she makes complex history into simple joy. Her books read like novels. Her perfectly researched details are treasures that reveal themselves to you like gemstones in a quarry. They’ve always been there, but she has done all the excavating and leads you along to discover them. As you will read in other reviews, Ms. Kearns delves into the lives of four Presidents. You might also know that these Presidents have been covered beautifully in her stand-alone books of each. We’ve come to appreciate each of these men in our history classes, and have enjoyed some of the legends that go along with them. Even elementary school children know some of the Presidential trivia that made headlines in the day. But while we recognize their individual greatness, it was so compelling to read that as different as they were as individuals and the particular times and circumstances they lived in, how much of the leadership (which is essential in turbulent times) was exactly the same. This is done is a terrific way. Each President is reintroduced to us from the beginning, middle and end of their lives, with the sections of the book similarly divided. We can see how early challenges faced each and how circumstances including fate and luck helped to shape their abilities to lead. I really loved the format and was especially fond of the bold font used when indicating steps to leadership. I was so tempted to use a highlighter pen when I started the book, until I realized I would be marking up the whole book. The boldface was just what I needed to preserve my book. What I am most grateful for in this book was reintroduction of me to LBJ, with whom she worked and knew well. I was one who had forgotten how much respect we owe to him because our memories are clouded with the debacle known as the Vietnam War. She has given me a new appreciation of the leader who needed to step into the Oval Office at a time of incredible sorrow and strife, who, in six years, delivered a Great Society that still benefits us all today. No loss of life can ever be forgotten or diminished, but I came to understand that as much as I hated the Vietnam War (especially in my college years) every one of those lives lost and injured in Vietnam could almost be balanced by the huge effect his social changes made to millions in this country. He is still saving millions of lives today. And you will also come to appreciate how she understood him better than many as he depended on her for so much when she worked with him when he was President and then was only 27 years old when he died 4 years after leaving the White House. You will not be disappointed in this book. Read it and then recommend it to your school district where our future leaders are being born. Ms. Kearns has lived history and has an amazing gift for sharing it with us.