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Scholars’ Library: Jonathan Shapiro on ‘How to be Abe Lincoln’

Is Abraham Lincoln Still Relevant? Join Jonathan Shapiro (1985) at The Rhodes Trust for a conversation on ‘How To Be Abe Lincoln: Seven Steps Toward Leading a Legendary Life’

About this event

This event is free and open to the public.

For The Rhodes Trust April event, in conversation with another Scholar, Jonathan Shapiro (1985) will discuss his newest book How to be Abe Lincoln: Seven Steps Toward Leading a Legendary Life. Amongst other topics, Jonathan will discuss questions such as: Does Lincoln still matter? Why is laughter the first step to being Lincoln? and how would Lincoln handle our current political climate?

How to Be Abe Lincoln shows us how to survive our dangerously fractious age, one that is too often unmoored from truth, ignorant of facts, and unwilling to do the hard work of becoming better. It is written for those who don’t just admire Lincoln but want to emulate his rational, practical approach to law, love, leadership, and life. It identifies the seven steps that made Abe Lincoln legendary and teaches you how to follow them.

You can purchase Jonathan’s book here.

Jonathan Shapiro (1985) for the last 24 years has written and produced a number of iconic legal dramas. He is the recipient of the Emmy, Peabody, Humanitas, and American Film Institute awards. Co-creator and executive producer of the Amazon Prime series Goliath (Golden Globe winner for Best Actor, Billy Bob Thornton), his work also includes HBO’s The Undoing (Emmy nominations for Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant), NBC’s The Blacklist (five seasons), Audience’s Mr. Mercedes, based on the novels of Stephen King, Life (starring Damien Lewis), and The Firm, also for NBC, as well as ABC’s Boston Legal and The Practice, among others.

In 2014, Shapiro wrote and produced his first film. Narrated by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, “Fair and Free” was made with support from the National Association of Women Judges. In 2018, Shapiro’s first play, Sisters in Law, about the lives of O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg premiered in Phoenix, Arizona, attended by two of O’Connor’s sons. It has since enjoyed seven successful, sold out runs throughout the U.S., including the upcoming New York production in April 2024.

Shapiro is the author of three books: How to Be Abe Lincoln: Seven Steps to Leading a Legendary Life (ABA Publishing, Oct. 2024), the novel Deadly Force (Ankerwycke Press, 2015) and the memoir Lawyers, Liars, and the Art of Storytelling (ABA Press, 2014). He taught for over 10 years as an adjunct law professor at the UCLA School of Law, U.S.C.’s Gould School of Law, and Loyola Law School.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer and producer, Shapiro spent a decade trying cases as a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division, Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. In the early 2000, Shapiro was appointed by Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court Ronald George to serve on the CJA’s Commission on Impartial Courts, as well as the state’s Bench, Bar and Media Committee. In 2006, Shapiro was appointed by the California State Senate to two four-year terms as a member and later chairman of the California Commission on Government Economy and Efficiency. He is also the founder and director of the Public Counsel Emergency for Torture Victims.

A graduate of Harvard University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Shapiro received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He is married to television writer/producer Betsy Borns (Roseanne, Friends, All of Us). Shapiro and Borns are currently creating an American version of the ITV series Vera. The couple have three children.


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