Book Review – Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership

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No President cut a broader swath through the federal government than Theodore Roosevelt. Having served in a number of public offices including governor of New York and under secretary of the Navy Roosevelt was experienced at public administration upon arriving at the White House in 1901 on the death of President McKinley.

Strock examines Roosevelt’;s unique approach to leadership through his life and especially as President. He identifies a dozen primary areas where Roosevelt demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills.

TR, as he was affectionately known, designated the role of leadership where ever he went. He knew no fear and betrayed every challenge with vigor and courage. Roosevelt was a lifelong student, reading all the time. In fact Roosevelt read on average a book or two every day! He maintained that pace while President. He was as a consequence able to converse on any subject with people of all nature of expertise.

He was a team builder. He knew how to build loyalty and maintain it. He always got the very best on his team. He also knew how to challenge and motivate men and would get the best out of them. In part he did this through his own incredible stamina and accomplishments. He set the standard and example for all who worked for or with him.

He was a great public speaker and writer. Long before President Reagan was elected TR was a great communicator.

He was a firm believer in personal responsibility and integrity and never wavered from his loyalty to country and family.

In this book Strock does a good job of studying the man and demonstrating through example how he mastered and used all these powerful leadership exercises to accomplish more than most Presidents before or since.

At the end of each chapter Strock summarizes the chief leadership principles that he has discussed. His summaries are often direct quotes from TR or are paraphrased. As an example, after the first chapter he lists seven important hits of a leader including focus of energy; seek leadership on one’;s own terms and avoid indebtedness to others; love their people; be committed to service; build a life based on service; do one’;s duty and seek to deserve success rather than seeking success.

This book is a little goldmine of Roosevelt’;s best leadership exercises and philosophy. At 238 pages it is a good read.

Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership
James Strock © 2001 by, Inc.
Published by Prima Publishing, Roseville, California, div. of Random House.