Reading List (Update): On Leader Lessons

By | June 24, 2018

June 24, 2018]  A common theme we find among great leaders in my Reading List is that they are quick to discover hard lessons of others and learn from them.  Personally, I’m always on the lookout for those lessons in the books I read and was pleasantly surprised to find a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Edward J. Larson that did just that.  And it doesn’t matter how old the lessons are because humans don’t change that much; we have similar wants and desires, as well as motivators, strengths, and weaknesses.  As always, my intent at is to get us to “think” and to use “reasoning” to solve the problems of leaders around the globe.  This book can help reinforce those lessons we know about and provide us with new ones.

The Return of George Washington, Edward J. Larson, 2014.

It should never be lost on any of us that great leaders live by the standard of influencing others; regardless of our position in any organization or society.  This book by Larson focuses on the years between George Washington’s generalship during the U.S. Revolutionary War and when he was President of the United States.  These years 1783-1789 are frequently overlooked in the biographies about GW and glossed over in the history of that time.  We are told, more important things are happening that we should pay closer attention to.  But those years are full of lessons that provide us with insight into the mind of one of the greatest leaders in human history.

During these years we see GW as an insightful businessman – also demanding, testy, and shrewd – and a visionary who wants to turn a disintegrating infant United States into a truly united country.  He wanted a stronger central government to replace the unruly confederation of states which was slowly devolving into an unworkable mess.  GW worked behind the scenes to encourage help to ensure the Constitutional Convention of 1787 solved the many problems the new nation was experiencing.  This is a story about the return of GW.  In truth, however, he was never really gone from public life but this book is full of those efforts to overcome the vast obstacles that governance is fraught within any nation.  Along the way, we are given a better idea of his vision as in his view of western expansion and economic growth, why the Electoral College came about, why the Bill of Rights was tacked on, and the intense infighting of the many leaders of the day against a stronger federal government.  It is hard to imagine, as one person put it, “without the popular, decent, and wise George Washington during those years.”

If you have a membership in Amazon Prime, you can download this book electronically for free.  Highly recommended.

To go to the full Professional Reading list, simply click on this direct link:

Side Note: Please remember and take a look at Tom Copeland’s reading blog.  His website, which I highly recommend, can be found here:

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

12 thoughts on “Reading List (Update): On Leader Lessons

  1. Eric Coda

    Looks like a lot of readers of Gen Satterfield’s blog have already read this book. I appreciate the feedback and recommendations on books like this and for that … thanks.

  2. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    This book on the “gap” between the US Revolutionary War and George Washington’s presidency is enlightening in many ways. It shows us, for example, that real leaders never give up the task of leading others and influencing people. G. Washington was a man all of can learn from. Those who argue that he was an “old white man” are outright stupid when they give up on someone as successful as Pres Washington.

  3. Wilson Cox

    Great book. I read it earlier this year and enjoyed each page.

  4. Shawn C. Stolarz

    Yes, more reviews are better. Thank you for taking into account our humble desires!

  5. Watson Bell

    Gen Satterfield, your monthly reading list (update) has been a valuable tool for me over the past few years and I want to thank you for it. If you could review MORE books, I and my acquaintances here in your leader forums would much appreciate it.

  6. Army Captain

    Another great book and this one by a well-known, respected author and historian. Edward Larson should be listened to carefully. Thanks Gen Satterfield for highlighting his book.

  7. Dennis Mathes

    I’m always on the lookout for books about great men (or women) who have been extraordinarily successful because there is always much we can learn from them.

  8. Ronny Fisher

    Haven’t read the book yet but I’ll get it on Amazon Prime for free. Thanks for the recommendation and insight.

  9. Max Foster

    I agree with Martin and Gen. Satterfield that this is indeed a good book to learn about lessons from the past. GW was a great man by any measure. Today he is ignored largely by the PC academic historians because he is seen as a “flawed man” who owned slaves and was an aggressive businessman. Measuring people in the past by standards of today (which are constantly changing, by the way) is dangerous territory and intellectually dishonest. For those of us who are good thinkers, we know that we can learn much from GW.

    1. Mr. T.J. Asper

      Good comment, Max. You are correct that G Washington was a great man and we should take the opportunities given to us to learn from him. Otherwise, we are just lazy intellectuals.

  10. Martin Shiell

    Truly an exceptional book. I read in last year while traveling to Arizona for a conference on leadership. I picked up the book on a whim because the title intrigued me. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in history or in leadership lessons.

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