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5 standards for presidential leadership

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2. Understanding the issues of government

No one ever led by ignorance. Ably pointing the way arises out of a passion for learning, a single-minded determination to understand what makes people and things tick.

In his compelling study of Horatio Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar, Adam Nicolson noticed that in Admiral Nelson's Royal Navy, every senior officer had to begin as a lowly midshipman, learning every knot the same as any ordinary seaman. Nelson's French and Spanish adversaries, however, were aristocrats who acquired their rank through social standing and who couldn't have sailed a toy boat around a bathtub.

No wonder they were nearly annihilated.

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