Friday, December 6, 2013

Humility: An Important Characteristic of Leadership

The character of our founding fathers and leaders like Abraham Lincoln is what made the United States great. This book is a cautionary tale for today.

The founding fathers, particularly George Washington and James Madison, recognized that it's not the arrogant individual who can make a country. It's the man who sees greatness in himself, but uses that greatness in service of the greater good of the country. The chapters on George Washington and James Madison were well done. Bobb clearly know the history of the country and has chosen his quotations from Washington and Madison well.

I was delighted that Bobb included a chapter on Abigail Adams. Too often women are overlooked in the making of the country. I've read several biographies of Abigail Adams. She was more than a helpmeet to John Adams she was a political thinker in her own right. I thought
Bobb did a good job portraying the contribution of a woman to the political thinking of the revolutionary period.

My favorite chapter was the one on Lincoln. He faced challenges worse than what we face today and rather than treating them with personal arrogance, he put his trust in God. Bobb has collected an excellent selection of Lincoln's writings. I highly recommend reading this chapter.

The chapter on Frederick Douglass was equally enlightening. He was someone who suffered extreme hardship under slavery, but was able to turn his experience to the common good rather than being embittered.

I highly recommend this book. It's a good historical overview of several people who were instrumental in the formation of the United States, but it's also a look at the problem of arrogance versus humility. All these people were extremely able, articulate people. They had pride and ambition, but they used it in the service of the greater good for their fellow man. It's a lesson for our leaders today.

I reviewed this book for the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze Program.