2020: Book #25


At the time of the writing of the book, they were known as the Team of Five.

The five living ex-presidents are a fascinating study.

Kate Andersen Brower does a masterful job in capturing their lives and motivations for their post-presidencies.

You’ll learn who’s arrogant, humble, ambitious, laid back, power hungry and embraced retirement with ease.

Leaders should read “Team of Five”.
Americans should read “Team of Five”.
It gives you a glimpse into the lives of men who still long for significance and applause.

Here are some quotes that might raise an eyebrow…

“Jimmy Carter could not help but think he was right all the time, both as president and after…”

“Eisenhower, more than many presidents because of his high rank in the military, was used to being surrounded by aides who did everything for him, down to making simple phone calls. On the first night out of office, he decided to experiment and call his son John. He had grown accustomed to to picking up the phone and having a White House operator answer and quickly connect him to anyone, anywhere in the world. When he picked up the phone and heard a dial tone, he was livid. When an aide showed him how the phone worked, he exclaimed, “Oh, so that’s how you do it!” He never did get the hang of driving and kept an Army sergeant on staff to drive him around town.” (pg.95)

“But not long after leaving office, Barbara Bush said, her husband took his first trip to Sam’s Club and and “bought the world’s biggest jar of spaghetti sauce and some spaghetti” for dinner. While he sat down to watch the evening news, the former First Lady started to cook. She accidentally knocked the enormous jar of sauce off the counter, sending it crashing onto the kitchen floor. Their dinner plans ruined, they scrambled for an alternative. “That was the night George and I made an amazing discovery: You can call out for pizza!” (Pg.98)

“The day Bush approved the war, he walked out of the Situation Room and went up to the second-floor residence, where he sat down in the Treaty Room, which he used as a private office, and wrote a letter to his father in Texas. “Dear Dad,” he wrote, “In spite of the fact that I had decided a few months ago to use force if need be, to liberate Iraq and rid the country of WMD, the decision was an emotional one…I know I have to take the right action and do pray few will lose life. Iraq will be free; the world will be safer. The emotion of the moment has passed and now I wait word on the covert action that is taking place. I know what you went through,” a reference to his father’s decision to launch the Gulf War in 1991. Not long after he faxed the letter, he got a note back from his father, who used a sweet that was a favorite of the Bushes’ daughter Robin, who passed away from leukemia when she was a toddler:

Your handwritten note, just received, touched my heart…It is right to worry about the loss of innocent life be it Iraqi or American. But you have done that which you had to do. Maybe it helps a little bit as you face the toughest bunch of problem any president since Lincoln has faced. You carry the burden with strength and grace…Remember Robin’s word: I love you more than tongue can tell.
Well, I do.
Devotedly, Dad”

Brower isn’t just telling you facts.
She’s weaving a story.
One you should know.
Because it helps you understand great success and anguishing failure.

Read this book.
Devour it.

I give it 5 stars out of a possible 5.

That’s book #25 for 2020.

27 more to go.

Leaders are readers.

If you want to be a better leader…be a reader.