Wisdom From the Oval Office by Pierce Word is a compilation of quotes from all of the U.S. presidents on various topics like hope, leadership, America, freedom, and war. I am nothing if not a lover of quotes from influential people, and if you're the same, this book provides tenfold.
There are a lot of books about presidents, but Word was successfully able to capture the essence of each president, and combine it all into a slim, two-hundred and something page book. I'm not too familiar with some of the more detailed aspects of our U.S. history, but some of the quotes from the presidents in this book made me want to dig deeper into the context behind them. For instance, what made Harry Truman see the White House as a 'prison'? What made Thomas Jefferson so wise on topics like life, happiness, and friendship? What suffering and corruption did they see in their presidential terms?
Some of their quotes were so relatable to situations we face in life every single day it was scary. It made me want to plaster the quotes in a frame and post them on my bedroom wall so I could remember them forever. And because all of the quotes are divided up into various topics, it's easy to flip through and select what topic you want a bit of wisdom on and go from there.
But I divided up my favorite quotes by president, rather than topic. I found that some of my favorite ones came from Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and John Adams. Some of my favorites were:
"Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it." - John Adams
"When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion." - Abraham Lincoln
"Friendship is precious; not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine." - Thomas Jefferson
Of course, there were also some great one-liners by James Garfield, Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan too.
"The White House is the finest prison in the world." - Harry Truman
"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable." - James Garfield
"Trust, but verify." - Ronald Reagan
It may have taken me nearly two months to get through this book, but it has done me a serious service--it's provided me with the opportunity to reflect, the urge to learn, and an arsenal of wisdom. It's a great sidekick to have on hand when the ails and daily burdens of our precious existence come to play, and I'm not ashamed to admit it has mitigated my misery on more than one occasion.
We should end with my all time favorite quote by James Madison, about the best medicine in the world. And for me, this book has very much been just that.
"Let me recommend the best medicine in the world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant country, in easy stages."