March 23, 2009
I’m reading Waller “Randy” Newell’s new book, The Soul of a Leader: Character, Conviction, and Ten Lessons in Political Greatness (New York: Harper Collins, 2009). It’s a wise and thoughtful study of leaders from Pericles to Obama (up through the election). Newell has the erudition of a professor, which he is, but he writes with a conciseness and understated elegance that draws the reader in.
After thumbing through a page or two each of my favorite historical characters, I went to the ten secrets of leadership in the book’s last chapter. They struck some of my favorite chords, such as common sense over glamour, limited goals over grand ambition, the need for both moral conviction and pragmatism, and the role of plain, old luck. I found myself, wondering, as you might guess, how Spartacus stacks up.