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  • Tom Ferree

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

By Edmund Morris

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

What an amazing man. Sickly as a youth. College educated, but more by hard knocks. Interested in politics at early age. Stuck to his beliefs and values, even when they were counter to his own party. Experienced lots of political and personal setbacks over the years. Wrote several books. Some sold ok, and others not very well.

Those of us in business world can learn lot from Roosevelt about the value, rewards, and importance of sticking to our goals…no matter what others are telling us. When something doesn’t fly, to re-think, then come back around for another try. Sometimes it took Roosevelt several tries. Sometimes even then he didn’t prevail.

Great sections about his love of the west, his ranch in Dakotas where he would go off hunting for days on end. Often alone. When hunting was good he ate well, other times it was lean. Slept on the ground, often very cold and wet. When price of cattle tumbled suffered financially and finally had to let that venture go. The west was his time for rejuvenation.

Today, most would say he was fool hardy with the Rough Riders in Cuba. He led from the front and was the example to his men. Decisive in battle as in everything he did. Willing to lead and take command when necessary, with or without formal directives and support.

Edmund Morris does phenomenal research for his books. This one has over 100 pages of notes from resources he read to put together the right picture of events. While long, this reads like a novel. Many times I found myself reading late into the night.

As divisive as our politics are today, they were equally divisive in early 1900’s. Roosevelt read extensively…and had remarkable memory for details. Right down to quoting passages from something he had read years ago. Having the facts often enabled him to win. Having the guts to change direction without changing course was another of his techniques to overcome obstacles.

As a business leader I have felt I was reasonably good at changing course and adapting to markets and circumstances. Reading about Roosevelt showed me that I could have done much more. Now I have an arsenal of ideas to try the next time our companies face adversity or challenges.

Great read, about leadership and not accepting adversity, and about the political shifts America experiences. One of the books I will re-read.

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