Freemason Wisdom: Harry S. Truman On Reading

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
R. W. B. Michael H. Shirley

Harry S. Truman reading on the White House balcony (1952)

“Readers of good books, particularly books of biography and history, are preparing themselves for Leadership. Not all readers become leaders, but all leaders must be readers.”

~Harry S. Truman

Leadership successes and failures, great and small, have existed as long as humans have lived in groups, and stories about those successes and failures have been written about as long as there’s been writing. Harry Truman said that Roman history taught him nearly everything he needed to know to be a successful president. Circumstances change, but human motivation doesn’t. If we would understand our contemporaries, we must read about their ancestors.


R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley is the Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master for the Eastern Area for the Grand Lodge of Illinois A.F. & A.M.  He is the Past Master of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and Leadership Development Chairman for the Grand Lodge of Illinois. He's also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. He's also a member of the newly-chartered, Illini High Twelve No. 768 in Urbana-Champaign. The author of several articles on British history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.

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