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055 Doris Kearns Goodwin: Team of Rivals

The book focuses on the political genius of Abraham Lincoln, specifically his ability to bring together a diverse group of individuals with competing ambitions and ideologies into his cabinet during the Civil War.

Doris Kearns Goodwin: Team of Rivals


Team of Rivals is a biography of Abraham Lincoln that explores his political leadership during the Civil War. The book examines how Lincoln assembled a cabinet made up of his political rivals and how he was able to effectively manage and leverage their diverse talents and perspectives. Through anecdotes and historical accounts, the book provides insights into Lincoln's leadership style, decision-making processes, and his ability to navigate complex political challenges.


Title: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin

Publishing Year: 2011

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Length in hours: 41 hours and 32 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Lincoln's ability to bring together a team of rivals allowed him to build a strong and effective cabinet during the Civil War.
  2. Lincoln was a master at managing interpersonal relationships and conflict, which was essential to his success as a leader.
  3. Lincoln's willingness to listen to and consider different viewpoints allowed him to make better decisions and to gain the support of his cabinet members.
  4. The book also explores the personal lives and political aspirations of Lincoln's cabinet members, providing a nuanced understanding of their motivations and perspectives.
  5. The lessons from Lincoln's leadership are applicable to modern-day organizations, particularly in terms of the importance of diversity and the ability to manage conflicting viewpoints and personalities.
Doris Kearns Goodwin: Team of Rivals

5 funny quotes

  1. "I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have."
  2. "I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot."
  3. "The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."
  4. "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
  5. "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
  2. "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
  3. "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go."
  4. "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right."
  5. "I am a slow walker, but I never walk back."

5 dilemmas

  1. How to unite the Republican Party and appeal to the majority of voters in the 1860 presidential election.
  2. Whether or not to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and how it would affect the outcome of the Civil War.
  3. How to deal with the outspoken and politically ambitious Salmon P. Chase, who was vying for the presidency.
  4. Whether or not to grant clemency to the soldiers who participated in the New York Draft Riots in 1863.
  5. How to manage the different personalities and political ideologies within Lincoln’s cabinet.

5 examples

  1. The formation of Lincoln’s cabinet consisting of William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Edwin M. Stanton.
  2. The confrontation between Lincoln and Douglas during the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858.
  3. The Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln during the Civil War.
  4. The 1864 presidential campaign featuring Lincoln against George B. McClellan.
  5. The Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, a turning point in the Civil War.

Referenced books

  1. "Lincoln: A Biography" by Benjamin P. Thomas
  2. "Lincoln's Virtues: An Ethical Biography" by William Lee Miller
  3. "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris
  4. "The Age of Jackson" by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
  5. "Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson" by Robert A. Caro

Share a quote

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Doris Kearns Goodwin: Team of Rivals
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