My plan to go and see Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln on 12th February, Lincoln’s birthday, has been overturned by the landing in my diary of a flock of meetings that day. At least I can now find an earlier date. I’m a bit of a Lincoln groupie and the film has had fantastic reviews. If there’s anybody out there who hasn’t yet read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 

, an important inspiration for Tony Kushner’s screenplay, now you really have no excuse. It’s a fascinating book – and there is a
. The main lesson I took from it concerns Lincoln’s ability to think strategically, by which I really mean keeping focused on the ultimate outcome and having the patience to stitch together meanwhile the many actions and conversations it takes to achieve a difficult goal. That ability to be strategic, to be anything other than ultra-short term, has vanished from modern public life and I suppose was rare in the 19th century too.

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