2018: Book #38

“I have been too familiar with disappointment to be very much chagrinned.”

Those words were spoken by Lincoln in response to his loss in a local election. It shows his ability to roll with the punches and keep going. The quote comes from Douglas Wilson’s fabulous book, “Honor’s Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln.”

Wilson’s goal is to walk you through Lincoln’s early life and show what made Lincoln…Lincoln. Through each page you learn about Abe’s experiences: his wins, losses, successes, mistakes, friendships, women, dating and marriage.

Let me be clear; I’m a Lincoln fan. To me, he’s an A-1 leadership hero.  Even so, I do think Wilson, like all of us, makes a fatal flaw when it comes to Lincoln. We want to know who the real Lincoln was.

Was he the man who enjoyed dirty stories and jokes? Was he the guy, early in life, who was in love with Ann Rutledge and upon her death seemed to have a mental breakdown? Is it true that he even lay on her grave during storms? Was he ambitious? Was he driven to make a name for himself? Was he a doubter of Christianity?

Here’s my take. He’s all of those things.  In truth, none of us are defined by just one area. We’re all a gumbo of our experiences.

There were real lessons within these pages. Here’s how this book helped me as a leader:

1. Don’t underestimate the value of your pain and hurt. It makes you who you are. Look for lessons. Examine ways to grow. Instead of becoming bitter—a well reviewed life can help one grow. This is a major lesson from Lincoln. He wanted to improve himself and his leadership.

2. Don’t stop moving forward. Lincoln never lost sight of improving himself.  He kept moving forward.  Failure in business and losing elections did not stop him.  He kept his goal clearly in front and made strides toward it.

3. Own your mistakes. Lincoln’s father taught him, “When you make a bad deal, hug it all the tighter.” In other words, don’t avoid your mistakes, embrace them. Make the best of them. Learn to love uphill.

This is another great book; I highly recommend it.

Truly…5 out of 5 stars.

That’s book #38 for 2018.

14 more to go to reach 52 by the end of the year.

Remember, all leaders are readers.
If you want to be a better leader…be a reader.

Interested in purchasing this book?