The Power of Words

The new book—LINCOLN SPEAKS TO LEADERS—contains a Lincoln soliloquy from a one-man play that describes the impact words can have for good or evil.

(Some years ago I wrote this Lincoln soliloquy for the training film “Lincoln On Communication” and subsequently incorporated it into my one-man play “The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln.” It is included in Chapter 19 of LINCOLN SPEAKS TO LEADERS. ) 


“Words have been used to encourage and praise me. Words have been used to mock, attack, and wound me. But I have never lost faith in their power or their durability.

Words can reveal thoughts, conceal pain, paint dreams, correct errors, and pass along dearly bought lessons to the latest generation.

Words can transport knowledge from the past, interpret the present, and speak to the future. Words can erect walls between people, or build bridges.

Words can inflame passions or cool them, stir up the worst or find the best, pull down or build up, tarnish or cleanse, wound or heal.

The ability to use words can endear you to your fellows, win them to your side, and help you to rise to heights you may now only dream of. That happened to my father’s son.

Pursuing the mastery of words is worth the time, the money, and all the energy you can muster. What you invest will be repaid with interest compounded.


Build up your knowledge so that your words will be true. Nurture your spirit so that your words will be true, kind, and wise.

The world may little note nor long remember what you say here. And yet it may. For words, once released, take on a life of their own, and find lodging in places and hearts you may never know. And after many days, those words may return to haunt you, or to bless you.

Think carefully before you let them go.”

EXCERPT FROM THE NEW BOOK LINCOLN SPEAKS TO LEADERS: 20 POWERFUL LESSONS FOR TODAY’S LEADERS FROM AMERICA’S 16TH PRESIDENT by GENE GRIESSMAN, PAT WILLIAMS, and PEGGY MATTHEWS ROSE. The book is available at major bookstores and at the websites of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders and  “Lincoln on Communication” can be obtained at Amazon and at

Gene Griessman, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and Lincoln portrayer. He is author of The Words Lincoln Lived By and co-author of Lincoln Speaks To Leaders: 20 Powerful Lessons From America’s 16th President, with Pat Williams and Peggy Matthews Rose.   Griessman’s website is