Book Review: Ronald Reagan’s Leadership Lessons

I’m really enjoying these little books from Amazon that they are making available for free through Kindle on occasion.  The formidable years of my childhood occurred during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.  Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign formed the basis of all my thoughts concerning drugs.  I cried when President Reagan died.  He will always be remembered as a great leader.  I really enjoyed reading Ronald Reagan’s Leadership Lessons and walked away with a lot to think about.

Here are the things that I highlighted as I read:

  • Known as The Great Communicator, Ronald didn’t rely solely on his likeability and communication skills and worked hard at being an effective leader. Like few presidents before him, he understood the power of symbolism, stagecraft, and the cutting, eloquent, or elegiac sound bite. Put it all together and here was a man who was able to unite Americans behind his agenda and recast a nation to fit his mental image. Simply put, here was a man who knew how to lead.
  • Ronald showed his deft touch when he looked into the camera and asked the American people a simple question: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
  • Though no one ever called Ronald an intellectual, even his most vociferous critics admit that he was a strong leader who united and inspired the American people. He had a clear and compelling vision of less government interference and a still-glowing future for America that he communicated with passion. It is ironic that a man whose political career was based on opposition to government was also the man who restored Americans’ faith in it. Ronald was a rare combination of ideologue and pragmatist who could compromise yet still be perceived as a man of unbending principle.
  • In an address at the 1992 GOP convention, Ronald uttered words that might serve as his epitaph: “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts.”
  • Develop and clearly enunciate a bold vision.
  • Keep your sunny side up.
  • Show a pleasing personality.
  • Know your strengths and your limitations.
  • Delegate, but don’t detach.
  • Build a narrative.
  • Never underestimate the power of language.
  • Employ stagecraft.

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