Friday, February 13, 2009

The Power of Negative Thinking

Last fall, The Spectator published an article on how blind optimism, related, of course, to happiness addiction, is partly responsible for our current economic mess. The piece explores the idea that pessimism, and maybe even melancholy, are essential for good leadership. It's quite possible that Abraham Lincoln's brilliance as a leader came from his chronic melancholy. While Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate states, was overly idealistic and quick to make decisions based on his optimism, Lincoln wasn't afraid to question long-standing assumptions, to deliberate over his many options, and to be sensitive to vagueness. Joshua Wolf Shenk's Lincoln's Melancholy examines this connection between Lincoln's gloom and his creative leadership. The Spectator article, in which my book is featured, offers some very interesting thoughts on this unexpected yet powerful connection between pessimism and wisdom. Here's a link to the article:

1 comment:

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