Summary of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Leadership

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Martin Luther King, Jr. on Leadership book summary


7 Overall

6 Applicability

6 Innovation

8 Style


Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech was voted the most electrifying public address of the 20th century. It takes a special leader to give that kind of speech. In an overview of the history of the civil rights struggle, Donald T. Phillips presents the ideals of leadership that Martin Luther King Jr. followed. Phillips describes the techniques King used at various stages of the civil rights battle. He also shares King’s comments on leadership. Many of the principles will be quite familiar: listen to learn, lead by being led, awaken direct action, encourage creativity and involve the people. However, the book is especially interesting when it demonstrates how King put these principles into practice. This well-organized, well-written book is clear, direct and easy to read. While it is written for the general public (especially for black people and those interested in civil rights), getAbstract finds this book applicable for all managers and executives, particularly those who like to learn the lessons of history.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What strategies Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. used to help the civil rights movement succeed and to secure his own leadership position
  • Why committed leaders will march among their followers
  • Why good leaders learn equally powerful lessons from success and failure

About the Author

Donald T. Phillips, a widely recognized writer and speaker in the field of leadership, draws upon the lessons of history for the strategies of today. His previous books include Lincoln on Leadership and The Founding Fathers on Leadership.



Birth of a Leader
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership continues to inspire the United States’ civil rights movement, which is still building on his legacy. The movement developed as a reaction to centuries of slavery. After prolonged argument, the U.S. Founding Fathers chose not...

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