Study any great leader, artist, athlete, or parent, and you’ll find that they had a hero, a mentor, or a model. Some were lucky enough to study directly under that person. But for most, this studying happened remotely—by reading books, watching documentaries, listening to interviews, and so on.
As the biographer Hermann Hagedorn wrote of his subject, “the story of Theodore Roosevelt is the story of a small boy who read about great men and decided he wanted to be like them.” Before Roosevelt, General William Henry Harrison sent three volumes of an ancient book to his 15 year old son, John. The book was Plutarch’s Lives, long a favorite of successful men and women throughout history. Indeed, the General would inscribe the first volume of the leatherbound set:
“William H. Harrison sent this set of Plutarch’s to his beloved son J.C. Symmes Harrison in the hope that he will diligently study the lives of great men contained in it and that if he is unable to rival their splendid achievements in their country, service he will at least imitate their private victories.”
When we study the great men and women who came before us, we can’t help but be more like them. That’s why we created The Daily Stoic Leadership Challenge: Ancient Wisdom For Modern Leaders.