Book Summary: Leadership in Turbulent Times

Is it true that leaders are born? Or are they made? Where does a person's desire for success originate from? Does the leader influence the times, or is the leader shaped by the times?

This overview looks at the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson to address some key leadership questions.

Ambition and the Recognition of Leadership

A male leader helping his team member and has a high ambition to make everyone reach the top.


When he sought a position in the Illinois state legislature, he was just twenty-three years old. He grew up in an extremely impoverished family. When he was nine years old, his mother died, and his father promptly remarried. Lincoln was a keen student who remembered a great deal of what he learned.

His father taught him how to tell excellent stories, and he spent a lot of time entertaining his friends with tales he plucked from preachers or the local courtroom.

At the age of twenty-one, he left his father's house and relocated to New Salem, where he worked at a general shop. He was defeated in his first election, but he remained optimistic. He ran again two years later and won.

Abraham Lincoln ascended to become a renowned leader in the state legislature, a leading figure in the struggle for internal reforms, a driving force behind establishing a new capital, and a practicing lawyer.


When Theodore Roosevelt first entered politics, he was also twenty-three years old.

Roosevelt was a sickly, frail youngster who suffered from bronchial asthma episodes regularly. He immersed himself into his intellectual and spiritual growth as a result of his deteriorating physical condition.

Roosevelt liked nature as a youngster and aspired to be an ornithologist, a bird specialist. He began to strengthen and exercise his physical physique.

Roosevelt attended Harvard University for college, where he widened his horizons and sharpened his social abilities. Theodore Roosevelt's father died when he was in college, hurting the young Roosevelt. Despite his upbringing in luxury, he had a strong desire to succeed.

He quickly abandoned his naturalist vocation in favor of a political career to advocate for the common good. He knew he'd found his calling as soon as he got started.


Franklin Roosevelt entered politics later in life, at the age of twenty-eight. Franklin had a rather secure childhood, and as a result, his personality blossomed. Franklin was kind, pleasant, and cheerful.

He was an only kid who felt he was the center of the universe, but when he went to boarding school at the age of fourteen, he learned to adjust to changing conditions. Franklin's father died of a heart attack in his first semester at Harvard, and then he became the family's man.

He put in a lot of effort for the campus newspaper in college and gained a lot of leadership experience. Franklin went to law school with the intention of one day becoming President of the United States. He succeeded as a result of his long-envisioned desire and focused energy.


Lyndon has been associated with his father's political goals since he was a tiny child. As a child, his family was often stressed due to his parents' unhappy marriage. As a result, he spent a lot of time at his grandfather's house listening to cowboy stories and honing his storytelling abilities.

He attended Southwest Texas State Teachers College and began working for Cecil Evans, the college president.

In a year off from college, he became the principal of an elementary school, where he put all of his leadership skills to use. He was the first to come in the morning and the last to go. He enjoyed contributing to something bigger than himself. Lyndon thought that the secret to effective arguing and public speaking was narrative. Lyndon was a driven, energetic, and passionate individual.

Lyndon was named head of the Texas National Youth Administration by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935. He ran for and won the House of Representatives a couple of years later. He was President Roosevelt's protege, and his interest in and support for the young congressman grew over time.

Adversity and Growth

A male leader achieving success after he goes through adversities that lead to growth.


According to research on the formation of leaders, resilience, or the ability to maintain ambition in the face of adversity, lies at the heart of future leadership development.

Abraham Lincoln suffered from serious depression in 1840, and his friends worried he might commit himself. Prairie State was in its third year of recession, and Lincoln was the one who had to bear the brunt of the blame.

He resigned from the legislature and broke off his engagement to Mary, his fiancée. He rebuilt both his private and public lives over the following 10 years. He renewed his relationship with Mary and returned to politics when he was actually ready.

In 1848, Lincoln entered the presidential election and rose to prominence on the topic of slavery.

He lost the race and was re-elected to Congress, later retiring from politics and concentrating on the law. When the Kansas-Nebraska Act was approved, he jumped into the arguments, seeking repeal. The anti-slavery movement reintroduced him to public life, and he was elected president in 1861.


Theodore's mother and wife died on the same day when he was twenty-six years old. Theodore was shattered, but he went back to work two days after the double burial, using work to distract himself from his grief.

But his sadness overtook him, and he went to a cattle ranch in Dakota to recover, grow, and write.

He came back stronger and more energized two years later. He ran for mayor of New York shortly after returning home but lost. Instead, he spent the following six years as a member of the Civil Service Commission.

He started working as a police commissioner in 1894, frequently traveling undercover to patrol the patrolmen. In the fight against corruption, Roosevelt became an icon and a leader.

Afterward, he joined the Navy, then the Army, where he garnered even more fame. In 1898, he ran for governor and was elected.

"Speak quietly and carry a hefty stick," he lived by the African saying. He eventually rose to Vice President, and when McKinley was slain in 1901, he became the nation's youngest president.


Franklin Roosevelt was incapacitated for six weeks in 1921 when a virus affected his nerves. Doctors agreed that he would never be able to walk or stand on his own again. But, his unquenchable optimism supplied the grit that sustained him through this painful ordeal.

He spent the following two years slowly and painstakingly regaining control of his body's muscles. Eventually, the patience and tenacity he developed helped him deal with the challenges that plagued his administration.

Without Eleanor Roosevelt, Louis Howe, and Missy LeHand, he would not have been able to regain his physical and mental vigor.

Roosevelt was persuaded to run for governor of New York by Al Smith in 1928. Roosevelt won the governor election, while Smith was defeated by Herbert Hoover for the White House.

As the Depression hit, he worked tirelessly. New York's extensive relief program became a model for other states, elevating Governor Roosevelt as the prominent voice of the Democratic Party's progressive side.

He defeated Herbert Hoover when he ran for president in 1932.


After failing to obtain a Senate seat in 1941, Lyndon Johnson's goal shifted, falling into despair.

He returned to his House position, dejected and humiliated. Still, when a Senate seat became available in 1948, he vowed to give it one more go. Lyndon won the seat by just eighty-seven votes in a close race.

Shortly after, he had a heart attack, and physicians advised him not to do any business for several months.

He went into profound despair after realizing his career was finished. However, in the hospital, he got almost 4,000 messages of worry, condolence, and affection, which inspired him to get back on his feet.

When he returned to the Senate in 1957, he introduced a civil rights measure that gave the federal government more power to safeguard black persons' civil rights, particularly voting rights.

When John F. Kennedy decided to run for president some few years later, he picked Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate. Lyndon Johnson took Kennedy's position when he was slain.

The Leader and the Times: How They Led

A male leader sitting on top of a king chess and leading the way.


When Abraham Lincoln was elected, seven states in the South had approved resolutions to separate from the Union and create the Confederate States of America as a government.

As a result, he assembled a cabinet of strong-willed, independent men. He called a special meeting of his cabinet in 1862 to present his draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Before asserting unilateral executive power, Lincoln admitted when failing policies necessitated a change of course and explored all options for agreement.

His whole cabinet eventually rallied behind him because of his compassion, humility, constancy, self-awareness, self-discipline, and generous spirit. He was aware of each member of his team's emotional requirements.

He never let old grudges grow. He managed his rage and established a tone of mutual respect and dignity. He kept his cool in the face of both praise and criticism, and he always managed to find a way to cope with pressure, stay balanced, and refuel his batteries.


Even though Roosevelt and McKinley campaigned on the same ticket, their political ideas were vastly different.

When Roosevelt was sworn in, it was evident that the country had a new leader who saw the country's problems in a far different light than his predecessor. His leadership approach was also unique.

His handling of the Great Coal Strike in 1902 exemplifies his pioneering crisis management. Theodore weighed the pros and cons of getting engaged. And he gained a solid grasp of the situation's facts, causes, and circumstances.

In the beginning, he remained indifferent. He reflected on the past to get perspective. He was prepared to deal with unexpected interruptions that jeopardized the plans.

He was well-known and garnered support from individuals who were directly touched by the crisis. He put together a crisis management team, framed the story, and kept his cool. He kept meticulous records of the proceedings and devised several methods. In the end, he left a legacy for future generations.


Roosevelt took office amid the Great Depression's last stages. Nonetheless, he was willing to go to any length to save the country. His first hundred days put in motion a shift in the relationship between the government and the people that would last a lifetime.

First and foremost, he established a clear line between what had come before and what was about to begin. By achieving the appropriate combination of reality and hope, he resurrected the people's spirit and morale.

He instilled in the group a feeling of common purpose and direction. He told individuals what they may anticipate and what they were required to do. He led by example and built a team that was committed to action and change. He established a timetable for himself and committed to stick to it.

With the press, he set clear ground rules. He tackled structural issues and implemented long-term improvements. He was willing to try new things and created adaptable agencies to cope with contemporary issues. He sparked discussion and competitiveness.

He pushed others to be more creative. He was prepared to make a swift course correction if required.

His ability to communicate was crucial to his effectiveness in building a single objective, clarifying issues, mobilizing action, and gaining trust.


There was anarchy following Kennedy's assassination.

Lyndon B. Johnson was well aware that he needed to seize power as soon as possible. Johnson took the initiative and played to his strengths. He boiled down the plan to just two items: a civil rights law aimed at ending segregation in the South and a tax reduction to stimulate the economy.

He devised the most successful war strategy. He kept his word and kept his promises. Because he recognized that people were more readily affected by stories, he mastered the power of stories.

He understood when to take chances and when to organize people around a strategic goal. He set aside his ego and discovered the path to success. He painted a vivid image of the future.

From the start, he provided stakeholders the opportunity to develop measures. He understood when to take a step back and when to take action forward. He rejoiced to pay tribute to the past while also gaining impetus for the future.

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