2018: Book #19

At one o’clock in the afternoon on June 21, 1864, a “long, gaunt bony-looking man,” dressed in black and looking like a “professional undertaker,” passed through a hedge and scrambled up to General Grant’s tent at City Point, Virginia. A guard stopped him and told him to “keep out of here.”

“I think General Grant will allow me inside,” said the man in black.

“No…folks allowed inside!” said the guard sternly.

“Well, I am Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, seeking an interview with General Grant.”

With that, the guard saluted and motioned for him to pass.


Oh how that makes me laugh. I could have been that guard with my track record.

That story comes from the most recent book I read, “Lincoln on Leadership for Today” by Donald T. Phillips.

I bought it for this sole purpose: stories about Lincoln.

Phillips delivered. This book is full of so many good stories. But Phillips failed as well. Each chapter has two parts:

Part A – Stories of Lincoln. It’s gold!
Part B – Phillips takes those stories and tries to apply them to today’s politics and problems. He does this not in general terms, but in a very specific way.

Phillips inserts Lincoln into the Iraq War, immigration, welfare, social security, and so on. In my opinion, that’s unfair.

Lincoln didn’t know these problems. We don’t know how the man would have reacted specifically.

Mr. Phillips, use these stories to teach more general leadership principles than to try and sway readers to a certain political viewpoint.

The book is worth the read simply for the stories. There’s one particular story with Frederick Douglass that brought me to tears. It’s going to become a standard I use…it’s so stinking powerful.

3 out of 5 stars – simply because of how Phillips tries to manipulate Lincoln into today’s politics.

That’s book #19 for 2018.
33 more to go.

For those curious, I’m still reading the 1,000 page Ron Chernow book on Grant. So far, it’s amazing.  Each page is riveting, but the book is also heartbreaking.  More to come on that book later.

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

Interested in purchasing this book?