Libro 7/52 :: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro






Power broker.















The Years of Lyndon Johnson :: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro is a brilliant account of LBJ’s rise to Senate Majority Leader. How LBJ delivered the first meaningful civil rights reform since Lincoln’s Proclamation was fascinating. How he did so after 20 years of staunch opposition to such an idea is a testament to his ability to influence.


But my primary takeaway, with all due respect to the office of the presidency, is man… what a bastard.


Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 12.47.47 PM




The belligerence towards fellow congressmen, senators, and staff was staggering. His cruelty towards his wife Lady Bird was heart-breaking. His disinterest in his two daughters was disappointing. His interest with other women (congresswomen, no less) was revealing. His consistent fawning and flattery of older senators like Dick Russell was embarrassing (yet impressive in its own right).



The truth is this: his tactics worked.




LBJ knew how to read men – their strengths, weakness, fears, and ambitions. He worked diligently to understand the men in the Senate. One on one. Seven days a week. Year round. No one worked harder.



Once he sufficiently understood the men in the Senate, he manipulated and cajoled, pleaded and intimidated to obtain power. With that power, he put it to good use. LBJ didn’t pursue power for its own sake. He was forever reaching for more power to get things done. To move things forward.



This lesson on power is important for all leaders.

Have you worked for a leader with plenty of power who failed to do anything with it?




It’s all too common.




LBJ amassed his power and then used it to make the Senate function efficently – something it hadn’t done previously. At least not very well. Master of the Senate quotes William S. White in characterizing the Senate prior to LBJ.



“The Senate was the only place in the country where the South did not lose the Civil War… the Senate was the South’s unending revenge upon the north for Gettysburg.”  



For 20 years LBJ backed the South in their unending revenge.

And then he ended it.

Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 12.55.19 PM


Bottom Line: Insightful look at LBJ and the inner workings of the Senate. Caro weaves together a tight story that made me want to keep reading. I suggest the abridged version of Master as I did. The real deal is 1200+ pages.



Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle ( He’s grinding out 52 books this year. So far he’s ahead of schedule. 


Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 12.54.15 PM

LIBRO 52 Challenge YTD

1. Kennedy/Nixon by Chris Matthews

2. Poke the Box by Seth Godin

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

NA. Buy-In by John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead

4. Education of an Accidental CEO by David Novak

5. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

6. Blood, Brains and Beer by David Ogilvy

7. Lyndon Johnson :: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

Categories: Libro 52 Challenge

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

32 replies


  1. Libro 8/52 :: 1776 by David McCullough « redanglespanish
  2. Libro 9/52 :: To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink | redanglespanish
  3. Libro NA/52 :: Profiles In Courage by JFK* | redanglespanish
  4. Libro 10/52 :: Write It When I’m Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford by Thomas DeFrank | redanglespanish
  5. Libro 11/52 :: FDR by Jean Edward Smith | redanglespanish
  6. Libro 12/52 :: The Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke, Searls, Weinberger + Levine | redanglespanish
  7. Libro 13/52 :: One Click by Richard Brandt | redanglespanish
  8. Libro 14/52 :: HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte | redanglespanish
  9. Libro NA/52 :: James K. Polk by Walter Borneman | redanglespanish
  10. Libro 15/52 :: The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw | redanglespanish
  11. Libro 16/52 :: The Illustrious Dead by Stephan Talty | redanglespanish
  12. Libro 17/52 :: The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk | redanglespanish
  13. Libro 18/52 :: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink « the red angle
  14. Libro 19 + 20/52 :: Thunderstruck by Erik Larson + In Cold Blood by Truman Capote « the red angle
  15. Libro 21/52 :: Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel « the red angle
  16. Libro 22 + 23/52 :: Down & Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind + Makers by Chris Anderson « the red angle
  17. Libro 24/52: Tales From Q School by John Feinstein « the red angle
  18. Libro 25/52: The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker « the red angle
  19. Libro 26/52: 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman « the red angle
  20. Libro 27/52: Drive by Dan Pink « the red angle
  21. Libro 28/52 :: Enough by John Bogle « the red angle
  22. Libro 29/52 :: Contagious by Jonah Berger « the red angle
  23. Libro 30/52 :: Lexicon by Max Barry « the red angle
  24. Libro 31 + 32/52 :: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman + A Very Short Tour of the Mind by Michael Corballis « the red angle
  25. Libro 33/52 :: The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton « the red angle
  26. Libro 34 + 35/52 :: Choose Yourself by James Altucher + The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzwieg. « the red angle
  27. Libro 36/52 :: Inside The Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg. « the red angle
  28. Libro 37 + 38/52 :: The Power of Less by Leo Babauta + Wild by Cheryl Strayed « the red angle
  29. Libro 39/52 :: Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier. « the red angle
  30. Libro 42/52 :: Black Irish by Stephan Talty « the red angle
  31. Libro 43/52 :: The Firm by Duff McDonald « the red angle
  32. Libros 44-50 :: The final chapter of the Libro 52* Challenge. « the red angle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: