I have always been a huge fan of history in any form but specifically when it comes to books. Leadership and business books have been a choice I have made to add value to my life so when I can find a book or a genre of books that combines both categories I am all in. United States presidential biographies are a perfect marriage of two of my favorite categories.
Several years ago I found the personal growth idea 101 in 1,001 days lists. The idea behind it is coming up with a list of 101 goals in 1,001 days that you want to accomplish, experience, or remove from your life. One of my goals was read a biography on every president in chronological order. I started with George Washington obviously and have been slowly working on this goal. I am currently on Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
So the above books are my top five presidential biographies I have read from Washington to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
- His Excellency by Joseph J Ellis
- Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller
- Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
- The rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
The biographies you should read!!!
His Excellency by Joseph J Ellis
Joseph J. Ellis is one of my favorite history writers. I have read several of his books on the founding fathers and he is definitely, in my opinion, one of the authorities on the founding fathers. He is able to bring Washington alive and put humanity to him. Many biographies I have found deal a lot with accomplishments and the legend of the subject rather than bringing the person alive. Ellis does an incredible job if cutting through the legends and the accomplishments and bring you to see Washington in a human role.
The Rise of Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
This is a part of a trilogy of books Edmund Morris has written about Theodore Roosevelt. I have read two of the three and this was my favorite of them. I believe my assignment in life is to help others become the best version of themselves and so any book that focuses on the journey of someone from who they began to who they become automatically peaks my interest. Most people have a complexity about them and we usually only get to see one or two sides of them but in this book the author gives a view of many sides of who Roosevelt was.
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Godwin
So many quotes and leadership experts agree that you are the combination of the closest people in your life. The people you hang out with will have a huge impact on who you become. This book makes my list because it is a treatise on forming an inner circle for your life. I have found that a lot of people are not intentional on the people they allow in their life. Most people allow others in their life just because of convenience or need of being accepted. In this book you get to see a glimpse of the people Lincoln had surrounding him and the people who he choose to allow to have a voice in his life.
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
The reason I add this book to the top five is not only is it history, biographical in a sense, but it is also has the added depth of a true crime feel. Candice Miller takes you on a journey of emotions as you as Garfield rises to the presidency but then is shot but then the inner turmoil of failed medicinal practices. Garfield doesn’t ever rise to the top of presidential lists but he had a fascinating life.
The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller
If you have read this far it should be no surprise that the last book is also one that includes the intrigue of assassination. Assassination has always fascinated me because I find it hard to understand what can bring someone to the point that they decide that this person must die. This person is so wrong that they don’t deserve to live. This book explores in many ways not just the president but the assassin as well.