Over the holidays, I finally finished reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”. It is not a great book. But, it is a very good book. It’s not an easy read. Still, some parts will have you laughing out loud. While it’s dense, sometimes digressing for pages providing context and color, Goodwin provides a clear picture of Lincoln and his mastery of the political arena of his day. The author does an excellent job illustrating lessons Lincoln learned throughout his career that still matter today. For example:
- Your friends represent your greatest asset. Take care of those relationships.
- Those friends may not always represent the best talent around you. Choose your team based on the skills they bring to the table, not friendships alone.
- Give your team the freedom to do their jobs. If you’re worried they’re not right for the job, they’re not right for the job.
- Do well by others. It doesn’t guarantee they’ll work alongside you down the road, but it may prevent them working against you.
- Cherish every moment with your family. Life moves too fast to take it for granted.
If high school taught history as effectively as Ms. Goodwin does, we’d all have done a lot better in history. And who better to learn leadership from than one of the United States’ greatest presidents? Check it out.