David Senra

May 29, 2023

Robert Caro on the relationship with your father, power, poverty, ruthlessness, obsession and running

robert caro.jpeg

My top 10 highlights from the book:

1. He was a guy you couldn't deny anymore.

2. I asked Tommy the Cork what had changed Lyndon Johnson's status in October, 1940, he said: "Money, kid, money."

3. Turn every page. Never assume anything. Turn every goddamned page.

4. Power doesn't always corrupt. But what power always does is reveal.

5. I hated being broke.

6. It is clear that he [Caro] values uninterrupted time at his desk above almost anything else.

7. Kennedy would understand. Lyndon Johnson wouldn't understand. He would refuse to understand. He would threaten you, would cajole you, bribe you or charm you, he would do whatever he had to. But he would get the vote.

8. What mattered to him was winning, because he knew what losing could be, what its consequences could be.

9. I wasn't fully understanding what these people were telling me about the depth of Lyndon Johnson's determination, about the frantic urgency, the desperation, to get ahead, and to get ahead fast. As if the passions, the ambitions that he brought to Washington, strong though they were, were somehow intensified by the fact that he was finally there, in the place where he had always wanted to be.

10. And as Lyndon Johnson came up Capitol Hill in the morning, he would be running.

The woman who worked with him, coming to work in the morning, would see the gangling figure running awkwardly, arms flapping, past the long row of columns on his way to the House Office Building.

At first, because it was winter and she knew that he owned only a thin topcoat, she thought he was running because he was cold.

But in Spring, the weather turned warm. And still, whenever she saw Lyndon Johnson coming up Capitol Hill, he would be running.

Well, of course he was running—from the land of dog-run cabins to this. Everything he had ever wanted, everything he had ever hoped for, was there.

Listen to the Founders episode on this book: Robert Caro on the relationship with your father, power, poverty, ruthlessness, obsession and running

About David Senra

Learn from history's greatest founders. Every week I read a biography of an entrepreneur and tell you what I learned on Founders podcast