What bravery means

February 28, 2011
Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese dissident kept under house arrest for 15 years, shows these traits of a leader: She has a vision, is fearless and keeps her enemies close.

Lesson in diplomacy

September 13, 2010
John Street learned something about leadership one day in 1981, when he was a member of the Philadelphia City Council. When the council president barred his bill aimed at helping the city’s financially troubled school district, Street seized the stenotype machine, setting off a melee that made national news. He said he learned a lesson that day about diplomacy:

Nixon’s final act of leadership

April 12, 2010

Richard Nixon suffered the stigma of being the only U.S. president forced to resign, and his leadership suffered greatly under the weight of Watergate. But the disgraced president did fire off one flare of good leadership as his administration crashed. Ironically, it ensured the end of his presidency.

Robert Kennedy, standing tall

April 12, 2010

On April 4, 1968, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy stepped to the microphone in a poor neighborhood in Indianapolis and stunned the crowd with the news that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot and killed. The sheriff had tried to persuade Kennedy to cancel his appearance, saying it was too dangerous to address an African-American crowd. Kennedy refused.

Washington dispatch

January 11, 2010

Here are some squibs from our “elected leaders.” For starters: Answer your own phone. Alan Simpson, former U.S. senator from Wyoming, picked up this call in 1980: “Where is that skinny bastard?” “Speaking,” Simpson replied.

Truman’s favorite words to live by

December 11, 2009

Harry Truman didn’t go to college but educated himself through reading widely, from Plutarch and Shakespeare to Dickens and the Koran. His favorite author was Mark Twain. Truman kept a framed copy of his most prized Twain quotation on his desk in the Oval Office: “Always do right! This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”