2020: Book #7
“More so than Churchill, Lincoln had early in life developed a vital leadership virtue – patient listening – often scarce among supreme political and military leaders…. The president knew when to listen carefully.”
Knowing he was not an expert,” wrote Craig Symonds, “Lincoln was conscientious in soliciting the views of those who were. He let them play the role of teacher while he adopted that of the student. In the end, he graduated with honors.”
“Though firm and often critical of his generals, Lincoln almost never treated them with contempt. He was a better listener, rarely emotional in their presence.”
“As they took office, there was widespread skepticism about the leadership capabilities of both. Lincoln was despised in the South for his antislavery views and doubted in the North as unready for the crisis. Churchill was thought too unsteady. “In May 1940, the mere thought of Churchill as Prime Minister sent a cold chill down the spines of the staff at 10 Downing Street,” recalled John Colville, who had worked there as an aide to Neville Chamberlain, “Churchill and Lincoln would lead governments in which key leaders of their parties had grave doubts about them, their past political experience, their judgment and their characters.”
“President Lincoln seldom indulged his anger. But his temper could be triggered by incompetence – such as the canal boat debacle in February 1862, when costly army boats were built too wide to permit passage through canals for which they were made. “Why in hell didn’t he measure first!” complained the president of General George B. McClellan. Lincoln went to great lengths to placate McClellan, his first general-in-chief, but occasionally Lincoln would lose his temper with him. When McClellan forwarded a report about the fatigue of the army’s horses a full month after the battle of Antietam, Lincoln became exasperated with the general’s inactivity: “I have just read your dispatch about sore-tongued and fatigued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigue anything?”
These are quotes from an amazing book by Lewis E. Lehrman, “Lincoln and Churchill: Statesmen at War.”
Lehrman puts the timelines of the two men’s lives as president and prime minister side by side.
You’re able to compare their temperament, decision making, patience, thickness of skin, education and so much more.
This is a book worthy to be read by any leader or history buff.
Lincoln came from poverty and Churchill came from wealth, but both grew to be historic leaders.
You can make of your life what you desire.
Buy this book.
Read this book.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
That’s book #7 for 2020.
45 more books to go to hit 52 for the year.
Leaders are readers.
Remember, if you want to be a better leader…be a reader.