Listen now on
#156 Theodore Roosevelt
November 30th, 2020 | E156

What I learned from reading Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt


Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium  

Subscribers can: 

-ask me questions directly

-listen to Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes

-listen to every bonus episode


[0:20] He was scratched, bruised, and hungry, but gritty and determined as a bulldog. 

[2:44] Not the least extraordinary part of the story is that during these same six days after catching the thieves, Theodore in odd moments read the whole of Anna Karenina

[3:56] He impressed me and puzzled me. And when I went home I told my wife that I'd met the most peculiar, and at the same time, the most wonderful man I'd ever come to know. I could see that he was a man of brilliant ability and I could not understand why he was out there on the frontier.  

[4:35]  Roosevelt has been a supporting character in a lot of the biographies that I've read for this podcast:

#135 Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power 
#139 The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance
#142 The Hour of Fate: Theodore Roosevelt, J. P. Morgan, and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism
#145 The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst

That piqued my interest and I knew I had to read a biography of him. 

[7:53] The underlining theme would be the same as that of my earlier work—the creative effort, the testing, and the struggle, the elements of chance and inspiration involved in any great human achievements. 

[9:22] Teddy Roosevelt had a life motto: Get Action! 

[15:17] He is brimming full of mischief and has to be watched all the time. 

[16:15] I felt great admiration for men who were fearless and I had a great desire to be like them.  

[16:44] There runs a theme of the pleasure and pride in being the first to see or do something, an eagerness to set himself apart from the others, to distinguish himself, to get out ahead of them; or simply be alone, absorbed in private thoughts. 

[18:15] He has learned at an early age what a precarious, unpredictable thing life is—and how very vulnerable he is. He must be prepared always for the worst. But the chief lesson is that life is quite literally a battle. And the test is how he responds, whether he sees himself as a helpless victim or decides to fight back. 

[20:56] It was no good wishing to appear like the heroes he worshiped if he made no effort to be like them. 

[21:26] He would charge off ruthlessly in chase of whatever object he had in view.  

[24:48] Father was the shining example of the life he must aspire to; Father was the perfect example of all he himself was not. “Looking back on his life it seems as if mine must be such a weak, useless one in comparison.” He was engulfed by self-about. 

[27:08]  He’s not strong, but he’s all grit. He’ll kill himself before he’ll even say he’s tired

[30:01]  He was a rabid competitor in anything he attempted. He was constantly measuring his performance, measuring himself against others. Everybody was a rival, every activity a contest, a personal challenge. 

[34:13] Nothing seemed to intimidate him. Though all of twenty-three, unmistakably the youngest member of the Assembly, he plunged ahead, deferring to no one, making his presence felt.  

[35:33] Hunt and Theodore boarded in the same house. Hunt always knew when it was Theodore returning because Theodore would swing the front door open and be halfway up the stairs before the door swung shut with a bang. 

[41:35] Theodore stood up and in quiet, businesslike fashion flattened a drunken cowboy who, a gun in each hand, had decided to make a laughingstock of him because of his glasses. 

 [43:36] By acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid.


Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes 


I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — Gareth

Be like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast