This is my favorite biography of the 16th president and I'm happy to leave you with the impression that I've read them all. I haven't, but nevermmind.
What struck me from the start about the book was Lincoln's contention that he was merely a piece of driftwood in life, with no particular ambition or fixed goal, but merely a person who reacted to other things. "I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me," Lincoln wrote about himself in a letter discussing his views on slavery.
Politicians are all supposed to have a plan now and act quickly and control events. When things don't work out they're supposed to get going and act or at least send someone to the cable news stations to talk about how quickly the president is going to act. Lincoln is praised in this book for his "Negative Capability" as defined by Keats, "when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."
At this point I will stretch this idea beyond all measure and fit in Monk's advice to Steve Lacy
: "Don't play everything (or everytime); Let some things go by. Some music just imagined
. What you don't play can be more important than what you do
." (This detour does not completely work, but it might pass the late night dorm room test and that's our only goal here.)
I should note, it is this negative capability that people often apply to the 44th president as well. No Drama etc., but the Lincoln and Obama comparisons are so overdone and frequent I'm not going make the mistake of claiming too much of a man who has not been in office more than three weeks.