Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief | James McPherson

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2018: Book #10

Today, I finished book #10 for 2018…

“Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief” by James McPherson.

Abraham Lincoln is a hero of mine.
He became a better leader…a better man…and his faith in God bloomed late in life.
He was flawed.
But he changed the world.
Due to the incompetence of his generals, Lincoln had to often run the war.
He would get military strategy books from the Library of Congress and study them.
He saw America as emerging to the national stage and knew slavery had to die.
He won the slavery battle.
He also won the war.

There are great leadership lessons that come from various scenes in the life of Lincoln, which makes him fascinating to read and write about.

How did this book help me as a leader?

  • Leaders can’t (or shouldn’t) react in the heat of the moment. Lincoln needed to fire generals at various times, but he didn’t do it. Why? Because the army was more committed to a general than it was to the President or the cause of the war. Had Lincoln reacted in the moment, he could have lost the army and the nation. That’s a lesson for me. Let cooler heads prevail. Step back and take a breath. Get some perspective before reacting.
  • Winning matters. There came a time during the war that a debate arose around Hard War. The northern generals were keeping the southern armies at bay. But they refused to take the fight to them. Lincoln wanted the fight. He wanted to ransack their army and destroy their land. The lesson: Win the fight. It isn’t enough to simply survive; you must win.
  • Stick to your moral convictions. Don’t give up what is right for an easy win. Even if staying true to your beliefs means prolonging the battle – keep to your beliefs. Win…but win with integrity.

Phenomenal book. Stellar read.
Five out of five stars.

That’s book #10 for 2018.
42 more to hit the goal of 52.

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

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