[October 7, 2017] Most people believe leadership just happens … that some are born with the ability and others not. Leadership, however, is something that is grown – like a tree – from a small seedling into something potentially gigantic. While I’m no fan of reading about others, one thing I do like is trying to figure out what was it in their past (as seedlings) that helped make them great leaders and also what were they thinking and doing that helped make them great. I opened a book on Winston Churchill because he stood out as one of the greatest men of the 20th century. Little did I know at the time that this three-part bibliography would be part of my reading for the next few weeks.
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volumes I, II, and III by William Manchester (Vol. I & II) and William Manchester and Paul Reid (Vol. III), 1983, 1988, & 2013.
Believing that we can learn sharp lessons from great leaders is one of my personal tenets to evolving our own leadership abilities. No one can, not even the best of leaders, ignore the insights that are possible from those who think and act differently from our own. The man, Winston S. Churchill is one of those great leaders of the 20th century and the authors in The Last Lion have given us a detailed account that helps those who are willing to work at improving their leadership skills. In this case we can see the background, thinking and acts of Churchill and how we can learn from arguably the greatest person of the century.
The Last Lion is the authors’ way of saying that Churchill was a man who was a fighter in the most incredible of ways and the last of his kind. Due to the times we live in since World War II, there has been no man or woman since who has been able to duplicate his feats because, in the Western world, they would not be allowed to do so. These three volumes are a biography, not a historical accounting of what happened, but provides profound insight into how one man was able to overcome the most desperate circumstances to guide the British Empire from near total annihilation to victory over the Nazi war machine.
Focusing on the man, the authors go to considerable lengths to discuss his successes and failures and what Churchill himself thought of them and more importantly what he learned from them. Today, we can judge Churchill by his thoughts and behavior but we must also remember the circumstances were different than we experience today. For example, many say he was a bigoted, imperialistic, pompous, vituperative windbag. Maybe so using today’s standards of relative morality but more importantly he was a brilliant, foresighted, creative, heroic, transformative leader whose ways were the reason England existed as a free nation and never fell under the yoke of the Nazis.
How did he make it so? That is what Manchester and Reid have developed in this extensive and detailed biography. Highly recommended for those who have the time to read nearly 2,000 pages of this acclaimed trilogy.
See my blogpost on Winston Spencer Churchill here (see link).
To go to the full Professional Reading list, simply click on this direct link: www.theleadermaker.com/reading-list/
Side Note: Please remember and take a look at Tom Copeland’s reading blog. His website, which I highly recommend, can be found here: https://militaryreadinglists.com/map
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