Herndon’s Lincoln, volume 1 | William Herndon

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2018: Book #18

I’m always interested in learning more about Lincoln. Especially any stories I can pick up and use as leadership lessons.

William Herndon was Abraham Lincoln’s friend and law partner for 20 years. He wrote a three volume set called, “Herndon’s Lincoln.” It’s full of stories from the life of Lincoln. Herndon claims most of it to be a firsthand account. This is what historians call “source accounts” or “source documents.”

This book is a good read…a very good read.

If you want to learn about Abe, read this book.

How did this book help me as a leader?

1. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Lincoln would say one thing and Herndon would hear another. As a matter of fact, Herndon would interpret Lincoln’s words to be what he wanted them to be. What a great lesson…communicate. Say what you need to say. Ask the team to repeat it back to you so that everyone is clear.

2. You don’t have to be from Yale, a wealthy family or royal blood to change the world. Lincoln grew up dirt poor. The floor of the cabin where he grew up was dirt—literally, dirt. The Lincolns had no money. He had less than a year’s worth of formal education. Lesson: We can change. We can better ourselves. We are not confined to our past or current state.

3. Leaders are people too. Herndon idolized Lincoln. At one point, he even compares him to Jesus. Yet, Abe was just a guy. For instance, he loved dirty jokes. He was full of ambition. He was once in love with a girl. When she died, it caused him great grief. He got depressed. He also experienced great moments of joy. Lesson: Leaders are people just like everyone else. They’re not gods immune to feelings, joy or pain.

This is a stinking great book!

5 out of 5 stars.

That’s book #18 for 2018.
34 more to go.

Remember, all leaders are readers.
If you want to be a better leader…be a reader.
#52in2018

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