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Write well, lead well

In a Guardian blog post today, writer Rob Woodard asks whether or not you can predict how well a president will lead based on how well he writes:

Attempting to predict the quality of an Obama presidency by his ability with the pen may seem a bit far-fetched to some. But in American politics there is a great deal of support for this. Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the most revered of all American leaders, was also one of his century’s greatest writers. Going back further in time, one cannot help but be struck by the literary talents of presidents such John Adams, James Madison, and especially Thomas Jefferson….

Woodard goes on to point out exceptions to this rule, namely Ulysses S. Grant, who wrote one of the most acclaimed presidential memoirs, but was one of the country’s worst presidents.

[But the] fact that Barack Obama’s eloquence carries over to his writing gives me hope. To write well demands not only ability, but also intelligence, intellectual curiosity, and often the ability to view life from more than one perspective at a time. These are qualities that have seemingly been absent in the U.S. presidency these last seven-plus years “ and it’s comforting to know that if Barack Obama’s literary accomplishments are an accurate indication, these traits may soon be back in the Oval Office in abundance.

To bolster Woodard’s theory, we’d just like to remind you of the outgoing president’s take on reading and writing, quoted in The U.S. News & World Report when he first took office:

“One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.”


November 5th, 2008

1:10 pm

Category: Book news

Tagged with: Politics