Friday, September 23, 2016

Doris Kearns Goodwin interviews U.S. President Barack Obama

Vanity Fair ran a remarkable article on September 21, 2016, Doris Kearns Goodwin's interview of U.S. President Barack Obama. This is a must-read for anyone who seeks to understand leadership in the modern age. Beginning with President Obama's fascination with the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, moving through reflections on the personalities and impact of several other U.S. Presidents, and ending with reflections on his own accomplishments and unrealized aspirations, the interview reveals a lot about the internal struggles of a world leader. President Obama proposed that ambition is a driving force for many in their youth but that there is a moment of truth when something beyond one's self emerges that then becomes the source of motivation and endurance for difficult roles such as the president of a nation state. Adversity is often the source of awakening to "this is me." President Obama's youth presented challenges that shaped his early life but no one could question that he has faced many challenges during his two terms. With great humility, President Obama does not attempt to claim any uniqueness or profound impact but, instead, suggests that it is up to the American people and historians such as Goodwin to determine how he will be judged. Thank you, Mr. President and Dr. Goodwin for allowing us to sit with you in a profoundly revealing conversation!

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