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There is no formula for becoming humble--not for individuals, and not for nations. Benjamin Franklin's dilemma--one he passed on to the young United States--was how to achieve both greatness and humility at once. The humility James Madison learned as a legislator helped him to mold a nation, despite his reputation as a meek, timid, and weak man. The humility of Abigail Ada There is no formula for becoming humble--not for individuals, and not for nations. Benjamin Franklin's dilemma--one he passed on to the young United States--was how to achieve both greatness and humility at once. The humility James Madison learned as a legislator helped him to mold a nation, despite his reputation as a meek, timid, and weak man. The humility of Abigail Adams fed her impossible resilience. Humility of all kinds is deeply ingrained in our American DNA. Our challenge today is to rediscover and reawaken this utterly indispensable, alarmingly dormant national virtue before it's too late. In Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue, Dr. David J. Bobb traces the "crooked line" that is the history of humility in political thought. From Socrates to Augustine to Machiavelli to Lincoln, passionate opinions about the humble ruler are literally all over the map. Having shown classical, medieval, and Christian ideas of humility to be irreconcilable, Dr. Bobb asserts that we as a nation are faced with a difficult choice. A choice we cannot put off any longer. "The power promised by humility is power over oneself, in self-government," says Dr. Bobb. "[But] humility's strength is obscured by the age of arrogance in which we live." George Washington's humility, as great as it was, cannot substitute for ours today. We must reintegrate this fundamental virtue if there is to be an American future. The rediscovery of humility's strength awaits. Humility is essential to good character--and to our country. In this smart and lively book, David Bobb illustrates this virtue with the stories of five great Americans. And he reminds us that humility is at the core of our national creed of equality and liberty. --Paul Ryan Nothing defies political correctness and the prevailing zeitgeist as radically as the notion that humility remains an important virtue. Dr. Bobb not only makes the case for this dismissed and disregarded value but emphasizes its importance as part of the American national character. --Michael Medved, syndicated talk radio host A lively and counterintuitive argument, spiced with witty prose and engaging vignettes of Franklin, Washington, Madison, Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Abigail Adams. --Robert Faulkner, professor of Political Science, Boston College; author, The Case for Greatness "Dr. David Bobb has written a timely and timeless book on a vital virtue absent from far too many leaders today. Humility should be required reading for leaders in the public and private sector as well as in our homes and communities. In an age of arrogance there is much to be learned and strength to be gained from returning to the principle, power and pattern of humility contained in this extraordinary book." --Mike Lee, U.S. Senator, Utah


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There is no formula for becoming humble--not for individuals, and not for nations. Benjamin Franklin's dilemma--one he passed on to the young United States--was how to achieve both greatness and humility at once. The humility James Madison learned as a legislator helped him to mold a nation, despite his reputation as a meek, timid, and weak man. The humility of Abigail Ada There is no formula for becoming humble--not for individuals, and not for nations. Benjamin Franklin's dilemma--one he passed on to the young United States--was how to achieve both greatness and humility at once. The humility James Madison learned as a legislator helped him to mold a nation, despite his reputation as a meek, timid, and weak man. The humility of Abigail Adams fed her impossible resilience. Humility of all kinds is deeply ingrained in our American DNA. Our challenge today is to rediscover and reawaken this utterly indispensable, alarmingly dormant national virtue before it's too late. In Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue, Dr. David J. Bobb traces the "crooked line" that is the history of humility in political thought. From Socrates to Augustine to Machiavelli to Lincoln, passionate opinions about the humble ruler are literally all over the map. Having shown classical, medieval, and Christian ideas of humility to be irreconcilable, Dr. Bobb asserts that we as a nation are faced with a difficult choice. A choice we cannot put off any longer. "The power promised by humility is power over oneself, in self-government," says Dr. Bobb. "[But] humility's strength is obscured by the age of arrogance in which we live." George Washington's humility, as great as it was, cannot substitute for ours today. We must reintegrate this fundamental virtue if there is to be an American future. The rediscovery of humility's strength awaits. Humility is essential to good character--and to our country. In this smart and lively book, David Bobb illustrates this virtue with the stories of five great Americans. And he reminds us that humility is at the core of our national creed of equality and liberty. --Paul Ryan Nothing defies political correctness and the prevailing zeitgeist as radically as the notion that humility remains an important virtue. Dr. Bobb not only makes the case for this dismissed and disregarded value but emphasizes its importance as part of the American national character. --Michael Medved, syndicated talk radio host A lively and counterintuitive argument, spiced with witty prose and engaging vignettes of Franklin, Washington, Madison, Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Abigail Adams. --Robert Faulkner, professor of Political Science, Boston College; author, The Case for Greatness "Dr. David Bobb has written a timely and timeless book on a vital virtue absent from far too many leaders today. Humility should be required reading for leaders in the public and private sector as well as in our homes and communities. In an age of arrogance there is much to be learned and strength to be gained from returning to the principle, power and pattern of humility contained in this extraordinary book." --Mike Lee, U.S. Senator, Utah

30 review for Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue

  1. 4 out of 5

    Harry Patrick

    A definition of humility is that of a state or quality of being humble; the absence of pride or self-assertion. From ancient Greece & the Roman Empire to our contemporary society, the author explores the role & value of humility in the lives of five individuals important to the creation of our country. Individuals profiled included George Washington, James Monroe, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and Fredrick Douglas. I found the profiles on Monroe, Lincoln & Douglas to be the most interesting. Th A definition of humility is that of a state or quality of being humble; the absence of pride or self-assertion. From ancient Greece & the Roman Empire to our contemporary society, the author explores the role & value of humility in the lives of five individuals important to the creation of our country. Individuals profiled included George Washington, James Monroe, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and Fredrick Douglas. I found the profiles on Monroe, Lincoln & Douglas to be the most interesting. The last paragraph certainly gave one something to think about: "There is no twelve- or thirteen step program to master humility. There is no formula for becoming humble. This is true for individuals as well as nations. George Washington's humility, as great as it was, cannot substitute for ours today. We cannot hold off on the hard work of humility, praying that a modern-day Washington, Madison, Adams, Lincoln, or Douglas will do it for us. Humility is a quality of the soul that cannot be perfected but it can be practiced. America is not Rome - yet. There is no guarantee of national greatness. The arrogance of our age supposes that prosperity is perpetual and success inevitable. America's history of hard-won humility tells us otherwise. As individuals and as a people, we must rediscover our greatest virtue."

  2. 5 out of 5

    John Kaufmann

    Solid. The book portrays five people who exemplified humility in their lives -- St. Augustine, James Madison, Abigail Adams, Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass. I learned more about several of those people than I did about humility per se -- but that's okay. It still made for an interesting read. Solid. The book portrays five people who exemplified humility in their lives -- St. Augustine, James Madison, Abigail Adams, Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass. I learned more about several of those people than I did about humility per se -- but that's okay. It still made for an interesting read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mazzou B

    Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue By David Bobb Humility,Thomas Aquinas wrote, is a 'praisworthy abasement'...''the role of humility is not to repress our appetite for high and difficult projects, but rather to keep a sense of proportion in our reckoning.'' ''For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.'' (Luke 9:48) This new year had hardly begun before I realized from various yet similar lessons in my daily life that these upcoming months will most probab Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue By David Bobb Humility,Thomas Aquinas wrote, is a 'praisworthy abasement'...''the role of humility is not to repress our appetite for high and difficult projects, but rather to keep a sense of proportion in our reckoning.'' ''For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.'' (Luke 9:48) This new year had hardly begun before I realized from various yet similar lessons in my daily life that these upcoming months will most probably be fundamental in teaching me the oh-so-difficult but necessary character quality of meekness and humility. How can one believe in God's kingship and be proud? Humility makes so much sense on paper. In the quiet moments, the times of ease or pleasure it seems absurd to indulge in proud or haughty sentiments. Yet when we are shaken, the deep-rooted sin or pride very speedily springs to the surface of our otherwise serene characters. Even the very actions and qualities we might maintain which resemble meekness and godliness often stem from pride. There are just too many ways that pride has a hold of people, young and old, rich or poor. In essence pride is the age-old sin problem of man questioning God's supreme rule. It is man putting himself up as something, when in truth he is nothing in himself. Only in Christ will we have true humility. Yet- God, in His mercy has given a degree of grace to all mankind. Especially in a nation founded on His principles, man is able to master a form of humility and meekness which is a great blessing and which, needless to say keeps civilization running in apparent smoothness. The falling away from the character quality of humility in politics is the problem which Mr. Bobb is trying to address in this book. Humility is a political view of the humble aspects of George Washington, James Madison, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. With the exception of Abigail Adams, the book doesn't give much insight as to the characters' ''home life'' or Spiritual life. At the moment, it is not my goal to criticize any of the characters the author chose to highlight, but if you read this book I do recommend that you do further research on each person presented in this book. I was disappointed with the finale of Humility. Although the book begins with a good foundation in the introductory chapters, the author failed to bring his vision through to the end and neglected to culminate with a practical application. Neither did he use Scripture or emphasize that only when America humbles herself and turns back to God will she be saved from the same end that Rome experienced. ''And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of man shall be brought low, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.'' (Isaiah 2:17) ''For You save a humble people, but the haughty eyes You bring down'' (Psalm 18:27) From the website: Benjamin Franklin’s dilemma—one he passed on to the young United States—was how to achieve both greatness and humility at once. The humility James Madison learned as a legislator helped him to mold a nation, despite his reputation as a meek, timid, and weak man. The humility of Abigail Adams fed her impossible resilience. Humility of all kinds is deeply ingrained in our American DNA. Our challenge today is to rediscover and reawaken this utterly indispensable, alarmingly dormant national virtue before it’s too late.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Johnson

    Title: Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue Author: David J. Bobb Pages: 228 (including index) Year: 2013 Publisher: Nelson Books Humility is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble. What do you think of or who might you think of when you hear the word humility? Is it a famous person, a celebrity, a politician or is it someone at your church, office or neighborhood? David Bob Title: Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue Author: David J. Bobb Pages: 228 (including index) Year: 2013 Publisher: Nelson Books Humility is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble. What do you think of or who might you think of when you hear the word humility? Is it a famous person, a celebrity, a politician or is it someone at your church, office or neighborhood? David Bobb has highlighted five famous, historical figures to demonstrate the characteristic of humility in their lives. Part I of this book uses Benjamin Franklin, Jesus and Socrates as humility is discussed and its opposite, pride. We see these traits portrayed in Part II as short biographies are presented of George Washington, James Madison, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Some show our human inclination to be prideful and how humility was gained through their life experiences. Some had humility as part of their lives from very early on. Part III brings readers to the modern “Age of Arrogance” where Bobb points out our lack of humility today regardless of political affiliation, people groups or nations. “Franklin’s dilemma—America’s dilemma at our founding—was how to be humble and achieve greatness. Our challenge today is how to rediscover humility.” I enjoyed taking a look at these great historical people. If you don’t like history, then this probably isn’t the book for you. This book serves as a wake-up call to our thinking today as a nation and as individual people. We all need to infuse more humility into our lives. It must be an intentional effort because most are just about looking out for themselves. This book shows what can happen when just one person shows humility and how it can benefit to everyone. Benjamin Franklin wrote as he strived to obtain humility that, “It (humility) would elude anyone, he concluded, for just as soon as someone thinks himself perfectly humble, he is likely to succumb to the temptation of pride.” How true! All-in-all, I found the book interesting. I did like the Christian worldview and the style of writing that made me slow down to read so I could take in what was presented and not just skim. For those wanting more in-depth information, readers can take advantage of the recommended readings provided. My rating is 4 stars. Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspo... . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Book Review: Humility by David J. Bobb Book Review-Humilty by David J. Bobb Political Science is not my favorite topic and I did not realize that this book is categorized (rightly) under that topic, so please keep that in mind as you read my review. This book is more about national humility, not personal humility, although it explores the personal humility of several leaders from the beginnings of our country. The author has separate chapters on George Washington, James Madison, Abigail Adams, Abra Book Review: Humility by David J. Bobb Book Review-Humilty by David J. Bobb Political Science is not my favorite topic and I did not realize that this book is categorized (rightly) under that topic, so please keep that in mind as you read my review. This book is more about national humility, not personal humility, although it explores the personal humility of several leaders from the beginnings of our country. The author has separate chapters on George Washington, James Madison, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass. The author’s definition of humility seems to be distilled from a myriad of sources, including some non-christian ones. In respect to what humility is, it is, Jesus and, not Jesus only, Jesus as one of many, equal in voice. That offended me. To me, true humility is so elusive and pride so pervasive, in part because that was the downfall of Satan, that the definition must come from God’s Word. Some of this author’s biographical information appears to be mere opinion to me. How can anyone know what another person was thinking and feeling and what their motivation was? The author does have an extensive bibliography but even if you have a person’s diary you still cannot know those things. That would be opinion and conjecture. This book was way outside of my comfort zone. It was not my style at all and too intellectual for me. The author is not a bad writer and not stupid by any stretch of the imagination but I did not enjoy reading this book nor did I glean any information useful to my current situations in life. If you enjoy political science and early American history you may have a much pleasanter experience than I did with this book. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from publisher through the Booksneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” (c) 2014 Cheryl Cope

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nikole Hahn

    Deeply thoughtful, Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue by David J. Bobb only raises a couple of questions, but otherwise completely satisfies this voracious reader. Humility is the subject of this biography. Bobb speaks about four characters in history that exemplified humility in their lives. First, he takes us on a tour of classical philosophy, including Aristotle, Socrates, and Augustine as he explored humility's roots. The only hiccup in this section was on page 14 wh Deeply thoughtful, Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue by David J. Bobb only raises a couple of questions, but otherwise completely satisfies this voracious reader. Humility is the subject of this biography. Bobb speaks about four characters in history that exemplified humility in their lives. First, he takes us on a tour of classical philosophy, including Aristotle, Socrates, and Augustine as he explored humility's roots. The only hiccup in this section was on page 14 when Bobb refers to Sirach 10:13 as Biblical. This is untrue. A pastor friend explained that Augustine considered this Biblical. Augustine was a great Christian thinker. But just to be clear to my unsaved friends, its best to ask your pastor about this for a deeper explanation. Otherwise, Bobb refreshed my mind with his view on classical philosophy. The book moves on to the four characters featured: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Abigail Adams. My only problem with George Washington's section came on page 56-57 where Bobb spoke about Washington's prideful reaction following the disaster of Fort Necessity. He claimed Washington was deprived of a British royal commission which, Bobb says, would have given him legitimacy as an American enlistee. According to The Real George Washington (American Classic Series) (National Center for Constitutional Studies, 1991, 2008), Governor Dinwiddie unfairly reorganized the entire Virginia militia to placate the British officers from England who chafed at having to serve under colonials. Washington chose not to accept it because he considered it unpatriotic. In my opinion, it would be like working for ten years at a job as a CEO, and being demoted for no reason other than to make a favorite employee happy, to secretary. Washington had always struggled between his love of his Mt. Vernon and being a soldier. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading from all of the biographies. Lots of quotable quotes and information. Humility is an unusual book. I gave it four stars. It made all four historical people quite relatable and down to earth. *book given by publisher to review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Humility: An Important Characteristic of Leadership The character of our founding fathers and leaders like Abraham Lincoln is what made the United States great. This book is a cautionary tale for today. The founding fathers, particularly George Washington and James Madison, recognized that it's not the arrogant individual who can make a country. It's the man who sees greatness in himself, but uses that greatness in service of the greater good of the country. The chapters on George Washington and Humility: An Important Characteristic of Leadership The character of our founding fathers and leaders like Abraham Lincoln is what made the United States great. This book is a cautionary tale for today. The founding fathers, particularly George Washington and James Madison, recognized that it's not the arrogant individual who can make a country. It's the man who sees greatness in himself, but uses that greatness in service of the greater good of the country. The chapters on George Washington and James Madison were well done. Bobb clearly know the history of the country and has chosen his quotations from Washington and Madison well. I was delighted that Bobb included a chapter on Abigail Adams. Too often women are overlooked in the making of the country. I've read several biographies of Abigail Adams. She was more than a helpmeet to John Adams she was a political thinker in her own right. I thought Bobb did a good job portraying the contribution of a woman to the political thinking of the revolutionary period. My favorite chapter was the one on Lincoln. He faced challenges worse than what we face today and rather than treating them with personal arrogance, he put his trust in God. Bobb has collected an excellent selection of Lincoln's writings. I highly recommend reading this chapter. The chapter on Frederick Douglass was equally enlightening. He was someone who suffered extreme hardship under slavery, but was able to turn his experience to the common good rather than being embittered. I highly recommend this book. It's a good historical overview of several people who were instrumental in the formation of the United States, but it's also a look at the problem of arrogance versus humility. All these people were extremely able, articulate people. They had pride and ambition, but they used it in the service of the greater good for their fellow man. It's a lesson for our leaders today. I reviewed this book for the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze Program.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ACS Book-finder

    When first handed this book to review, I was hesitant. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to tackle a book on the topic of humility. But then I quickly flipped open the book and saw this sentence: “Early Americans knew that for their enterprise to become great, humility would be necessary. They also knew that of all the virtues of the human heart, humility is the most hard won. No one is naturally humble, but pride comes as easily to us as sleeping or smiling.” I was hooked. Pride (or lack of humility) When first handed this book to review, I was hesitant. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to tackle a book on the topic of humility. But then I quickly flipped open the book and saw this sentence: “Early Americans knew that for their enterprise to become great, humility would be necessary. They also knew that of all the virtues of the human heart, humility is the most hard won. No one is naturally humble, but pride comes as easily to us as sleeping or smiling.” I was hooked. Pride (or lack of humility) has been the downfall of many a person. Scripture teaches that “pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit be a fall.” No doubt, volumes can, and have been, written on this topic of Humility. Highlighting just a select few people from our American History, Dr. David J. Bobb has done an excellent job in capturing “humility” in less than 200 pages. I was particularly interested in the chapter dedicated to Abigail Adams, although all the chapters were extremely interesting and informative. I thoroughly enjoyed “Humility” and found myself wanting to highlight sections throughout the whole book, but the actual book was not mine to keep. It will be going, hopefully, into our school library for our students to take advantage of. I most likely will be purchasing my own copy to highlight. Needless to say, “Humility” would be an excellent addition to any history class and is well worth the read. Careful though, if you are a person filled with pride, you will not enjoy “Humility,” but it outside of the Bible, it may be the very book you need. DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Humility was provided by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anam Cara

    My husband was given this book, read it and was going to pass it on to one of our children. I asked to read it first. It was very informative and inspirational. It contains stories of 5 great Americans and their struggle with the virtue of humility which does not come naturally to anyone. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, nd Fredrick Douglas. I have to admit that I found the first four the most interesting. After that, I felt that the book began t My husband was given this book, read it and was going to pass it on to one of our children. I asked to read it first. It was very informative and inspirational. It contains stories of 5 great Americans and their struggle with the virtue of humility which does not come naturally to anyone. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, nd Fredrick Douglas. I have to admit that I found the first four the most interesting. After that, I felt that the book began to drag somewhat, although it was still interesting. The last paragraph certainly gave one something to think about: There is no twelve- or thirteen step program to master humility. There is no formula for becoming humble. This is true for individuals as well as nations. George Washington's humility, as great as it was, cannot substitute for ours today. We cannot hold off on the hard work of humility, praying that a modern-day Washington, Madison, Adams, Lincoln, or Douglas will do it for us. Humility is a quality of the soul that cannot be perfected but it can be practiced. America is not Rome - yet. There is no guarantee of national greatness. The arrogance of our age supposes that prosperity is perpetual and success inevitable. America's history of hard-won humility tells us otherwise. A individuals and as a people, we must rediscover our greatest virtue.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jerilyn

    Ben Franklin, Jesus, Socrates, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinus, George Washington, James Madison, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass. From the Roman Empire to contemporary American culture, the author explores the virtue of humility and it's role and value in the lives of great men and women and great societies. Though the definition of humility and its value (or lack thereof) has varied through the ages and from the perspectives of the people studied by the author, a strong Ben Franklin, Jesus, Socrates, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinus, George Washington, James Madison, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass. From the Roman Empire to contemporary American culture, the author explores the virtue of humility and it's role and value in the lives of great men and women and great societies. Though the definition of humility and its value (or lack thereof) has varied through the ages and from the perspectives of the people studied by the author, a strong case is made to rediscover this virtue. How can a great person be humble? Wouldn't pride be natural and even appropriate? Author David Bobb demonstrates the difference between healthy pride and arrogance through the short biographies in this book. All of them fought the vices of pride and arrogance, as they rose to positions of influence and even power. All of these admirable individuals expended considerable effort striving to grow in the virtue of humility. Classified in the library's American History section, I would argue that this is really a book on leadership.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    I have a new appreciation for George Washington and Fredrick Douglas.

  12. 5 out of 5

    James

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jason Torfin

  14. 5 out of 5

    Wes Kelley

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ben C

  16. 5 out of 5

    Endy Bayuni

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Cuthbert

  18. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chesca Dizon

  20. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rod Hewlett

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brian Connelly

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hailey

  24. 4 out of 5

    Neezam

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wade Harris

  26. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mik Howe

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ray Foote

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Scott Mccready

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