Herndon’s Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life, volume 2 | William Herndon

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2018: Book #25

For 20 years, William Herndon was the law partner of Abraham Lincoln. They were friends for even longer. After Lincoln’s death, Herndon wrote a three volume set called, “Herndon’s Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life.”

I read volume one a couple months back. This weekend I read volumes two and three.

Here are a few things that struck me from volume two:

  • Lincoln had a best friend named Joshua Speed. Their letters are full of candor and truth. They believed in making each other a better person and yet they were fiercely protective of each other. A leader needs a best friend to help and hear him. Lincoln had that in Speed.
  • Lincoln’s struggle with “melancholy” (depression) is so clearly evident in the letters he wrote. His brutal honesty about his struggle and outlook were both refreshing and heartbreaking.
  • Lincoln hated slavery. He didn’t always know how to solve it, but he hated it. He was passionate about the topic. He governed from what he felt was right.

Lincoln had a difficult marriage. Mary Todd Lincoln was a complaining, hateful woman who often resorted to screaming. As a result, he was cold and distant. The combination was not a good recipe for a warm home. Modern scholars and doctors would say she had a “condition.” It seems clear to me that she was extremely selfish, spoiled, and a person who demanded the world revolve around her. #sad

Excellent volume. Excellent series. If you’re a Lincoln fan, all three volumes are a must read. If you’re a leader, read them and look for the leadership lessons; they’re everywhere.

I give the series 5 out of 5 stars.

That’s book #25 for 2018.

27 more books 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.
#52in2018

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