Q:The title of your book is Leadership: In Turbulent Times. Is it about today?
DKG: Yes, in a very real sense Leadership: In Turbulent Times is about today. Using history as my guide, I sought to shine a spotlight on the absence of leadership in our country today through the analysis and examples of leaders from the past whose actions and intentions established a standard by which to judge and emulate genuine leadership. The study and stories of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson setforth a template of shared purpose, collaboration, compromise, and civility—the best of our collective identity in times of trouble. We ignore history at our peril, for without heartening examples of leadership from the past we fall prey to accepting our current climate of uncivil, frenetic polarization as the norm.The great protection for our democratic system, Lincoln counseled, was to “read of and recount” the stories of our country’s history, to rededicate ourselves to the ideals of our founding fathers. Through Leadership: In Turbulent Times, I hope I’ve provided a touchstone, a roadmap, for leaders and citizens alike.
Q: How do those times compare to today?
DKG: I am often asked: “Are these the worst of times?” We are living in turbulent times, certainly, but the worst of times—no.
When Lincoln took office, the House was not only divided, it was on fire. The country had split in two. A Civil War that would leave 600,000 soldiers dead was about to begin.
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