All posts tagged: Doris Kearns Goodwin

Boldness in Leadership

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Leadership in Turbulent Times, is, as one would expect from the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, a thoughtful analysis that deserves to be taken seriously. At a time when the country has entered the public phase of Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry and as the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination—and perhaps the soul of the country—escalates during the twelve months before the 2020 election, there are lessons to be learned from the past. This 2018 work is a study of the life of four presidents and the ways in which they addressed major issues in fractured times: Abraham Lincoln (winning the war, ending slavery and saving the union); Theodore Roosevelt (responding to the sharp inequities and unfairness of the industrial revolution); Franklin D. Roosevelt (rebuilding a country out of the Great Depression); and Lyndon B. Johnson (the fight to ensure civil rights for all Americans). Kearns Goodwin observes that we have come through difficult periods before. In a more troubling sense, she also makes it clear that we have always had scoundrels in positions of …

Something More Significant

In her 2018 study Leadership in Turbulent Times, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin tackles a subject that could not be more relevant. Drawing on the life and lessons of four U.S. presidents, Goodwin holds up the achievements, foibles, and resilience of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson. She examines how each came to be known for leadership as they dealt with civil war, the inequalities of the Industrial Age, the twin crises of global economic depression and war, and, finally, the struggle for civil rights. Leadership, in other words, in times of crisis and transformation. Something like the times we are in at the moment. I’m in the midst of reading Goodwin’s study. However, her examination in the opening chapter of the young Abraham Lincoln, and one quality she calls out from that period, came to mind this week after hearing the hate speech of the current resident of the White House directed at Somali Americans in Minnesota. In contrast to the powerful having a sense that they can bully and hurt …

Scoring a Walk Off

Walk Offs.  The name is pretty descriptive.  One pitch and the game is over.  And last night, I had the chance to see one in person.  From my perspective, nothing in sports is so exciting.  You may ask, “What’s the difference in a walk off in baseball and a sudden death touchdown or field goal in football, when the last score wins it all?”  (I recall Curt Gowdy liked to rename these extra periods “Sudden Victory” in place of “Sudden Death.”)  What about the last second shot in basketball? Here’s why…in baseball, the walk off comes as part of the normal course of the game.  Baseball is famous for not having a clock.  This infuriates some when it is 11 p.m. and you have babysitters at home or an early morning alarm clock is on the horizon for work.  But there is no sudden death (or sudden victory) in baseball.  When you win with a walk off, it means that the home team has won in the course of the normal rules of the game.  It …