In one of the final episodes of How I Met Your Mother, we learn that Ted Mosby became obsessed with Teddy Roosevelt after reading a biography. The scene is obviously meant to demonstrate how ridiculous and obsessive Ted can be about history, art, etc.
However, I began reading Edmund Morris’ epic biography of Theodore Roosevelt last week, and have been completely absorbed since. TR’s life is incredible, and seems to be the perfect storm of a very self-aware, motivated individual, mixed with an upwardly-mobile, opportunity-rich life: a perfect confluence of luck and skill.
It’s easy to see how one could become obsessed. I think we’re constantly in search of role models, and TR provides so many shining examples. Further, Morris’ biography goes to great lengths to humanize Roosevelt, so that he [TR] doesn’t seem superhuman, or unrealistic. In addition, Morris allows the readers to see little bits of Roosevelt in themselves. It makes the reader say, “If Roosevelt could do this, so can I.”
This, so far, is my big takeaway: Roosevelt is so inspiring because of, not in spite of, the fact that he is so much like you and me. This is a great lesson in leadership, or at least biography-writing.