Business, Community & Government

Bonus: Advice for Future Presidents

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Lesson time 4:46 min

For anyone who dreams of running for president someday, Doris provides words of wisdom and encouragement.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Encouragement for Women


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I'll tell you what. If you want to become president, the best thing to do is read about other presidents. They're your colleagues. They were there right before you. And the presidents that I've studied-- they did read about the presidents in the past. That's what's so great. Teddy Roosevelt spent an entire summer during a terrible cold strike that was riveting the entire nation reading about nine volumes of Abraham Lincoln. And somehow, he found solace. He found perspective in seeing that Lincoln had gone through a really hard time that summer of the Emancipation Proclamation, people criticizing him from the right and the left, just as they were doing to Teddy. So at night, when he's in the middle of this terrible crisis, he sits down in bed, and there is Abraham Lincoln in front of him. And Harry Truman never went to college, and he loved history, and he would read history. So I think there's something about each one of these presidents finding a hero in the past. And I would say to you, look back to history. See, which ones are you most interested? Start reading about one of them, and maybe that one will lead you to another one. For example, Lyndon Johnson found a hero in Franklin Roosevelt. He called him "my political daddy." I've learned everything I can from him. Franklin Roosevelt's hero was Teddy Roosevelt, whose career he wanted to emulate. Teddy Roosevelt's hero was Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln's was George Washington. That's the whole history of our country. Isn't that incredible? So I would say, just start finding the one you like. And then if that person has something that reminds you of another one, start with them. And before you know it, you're learning from these people who have been in that White House before you. If you're going to want to be there, it's the best thing to do. I would say to young girls who might be a student in this class, go, girl, it's going to happen. I just hope that I can live long enough to see one of you become president of the United States. It's a time for women. It's a great time for women graduating more from college, from med school, from law school, entering public life more than ever before. And I'm so glad to be seeing it. I mean, I was there at an earlier time when there were more problems. I mean, when I was still in graduate school, one of the professors took the three of us women aside, and said, realize you're a PhD-program student, , and statistically you're not likely to finish because you're going to get married and have children. So you've taken the place of a man. Can you imagine? You couldn't possibly say that today. And it didn't matter to us. We went out and had a drink and said, we'll be fine. So we had each other. I mean, the camaraderie, I think, of women is really important. There is, no matter what, there's still a bond of sisterhood. And the extent to which women are breaking all the older ceremonial bonds that tied them ...

About the Instructor

For more than 50 years, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has studied great American presidents. Now the Pulitzer Prize winner teaches you leadership through the lens of U.S. presidential history. With timeless stories of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and LBJ, Doris shares practical wisdom and a template for honing leadership skills. Manage a crisis, craft a message, and guide a team like extraordinary leaders of the past.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin teaches you how to develop the leadership qualities of exceptional American presidents.

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