Over the course of decades in public service, David Gergen has seen it all. He has advised both Republican and Democratic presidents—Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Clinton—managing major crises. But Gergen, who recently turned 80, is unnerved by the current goings-on in American politics.
“We can’t continue on the path we’re on; it’s unsustainable,” Gergen told CBS News, discussing the state of American democracy. “It has the sense that we’re, like, in a car, at midnight, on the edge of a cliff, with rain falling, and no headlights.”
Gergen, who co-founded the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government, says today’s young generation could make the difference if they wanted to. He’s the author of Hearts Touched with Fire: How Great Leaders are Made (Simon & Schuster, May ’22), which urges the younger generation to step up and take over.
To uncover the fundamental elements of effective leadership, Gergen traces the journeys of iconic leaders past and present, from trailblazers like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Lewis, John McCain, and Harvey Milk to historic icons like Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, and Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, to contemporary game changers like Greta Thunberg, the Parkland students, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Leadership is a journey that starts from within, Gergen writes. A leader must become self-aware and then achieve self-mastery. You cannot lead others until you can lead yourself. As you start to leap into the world, you begin your outer journey, overcoming setbacks, persuading others, empowering them, and navigating crises—armed with a sense of history, humor, passion, and purpose.
“A clarion call for lives dedicated to service and leadership, offering sage lessons and a unique perspective borne of Gergen’s own heralded half-century career in the public arena. Now is the moment for this vital and compelling work,” observed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Join us for a compelling talk about the current state of democracy and leadership as Prof. Gergen shares the takeaways in a wide-ranging conversation.
Note: Please support authors who make time to talk to the Club by purchasing the book at your favorite bookstore or download.
Participants must register by Noon on June 22nd to receive details on joining the discussion. The Zoom link will be sent out 24 hours before the event.
Please note that no refunds will be issued.
Professor of Public Service at Harvard Kennedy School of Government
David Gergen has been a leader in the public arena for more than half a century. He has served as a White House adviser to four US presidents of both parties: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton. Gergen then served as the editor of US News & World Report. For the past two decades, he has served as a professor of public service and a founding director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also a senior political analyst for CNN where he is a respected voice in national and international affairs.
Partner, Oaklins DeSilva+Phillips
Joanna Stone Herman is a Partner at Oaklins DeSilva+Phillips and serves as the TMT Industry Group Co-Head for Oaklins International, our global investment bank with offices in 60 cities across 40 countries. Prior to joining Oaklins DeSilva+Phillips in 2011, Joanna worked in several senior executive roles including as SVP Global Strategy for LexisNexis, EVP of Corporate Development for Thomson Financial Corporate Group, VP of Strategy for Thomson Learning and Director of Strategy for Dow Jones. Joanna also served as CEO and co-Founder of Librify, a technology start-up that was the exclusive e-book platform for Target, sold to Scribd in 2015. Joanna has a B.S. and Masters degrees from MIT and an MBA from HBS.
1460 Broadway, New York, NY, 10036