Fans of the 40th president who are also interested in developing their leadership skills might appreciate Margot Morrell’s new book, Reagan’s Journey: Lessons From a Remarkable Career.

You’ll find more comprehensive biographies of Ronald Reagan elsewhere, but Morrell adequately captures the high points of his life and career while highlighting the traits and strategies that helped a working-class boy from a small Midwestern town develop a successful career as a broadcaster, film and television actor, and politician.

Morrell devotes significant attention to the way in which Reagan honed the speaking skill that eventually earned him the nickname The Great Communicator. The author highlights his last Oval Office speech from January 1989:

Like a magnet drawn to true north, he returned to his most cherished themes. He summed up his eight years in office with “a small story about a big ship, and a refugee, and a sailor.” It was a story from the early 1980s, “at the height of the boat people” fleeing oppression in Indochina. A sailor scanning the horizon from the deck of the aircraft carrier Midway spotted a “leaky little boat” overloaded with refugees “hoping to get to America.” A motor launch was dispatched to bring the strugglers to the ship and safety. “As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck, and stood up, and called out to him. He yelled, ‘Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.’ America in the 1980s, Reagan said, “stood, again, for freedom.”

For him the “Reagan revolution” was simply a rediscovery of our values” and return to “common sense.” He said, “Common sense told us that when you put a big tax on something, the people will produce less of it. So we cut people’s tax rates, and the people produced more than ever before. The economy bloomed like a plant that had been cut back and could now grow quicker and stronger.” He continued, “Common sense also told us that to preserve the peace, we’d have to become strong again after years of weakness and confusion.”