"... a leader must treat public opinion the way a sailor deals with the wind, using it to blow the ship in one direction or another, but never trying to go directly against it."
Gus Dewar in Ken Follett's Fall of Giants.
I was in elementary school when I read Jame's Michener's Hawaii. It made my top 10 reading list because a character explained to his youthful charge that it is unethical to take advantage of someone when they are down. The specific passage involved a real estate transaction. What I recall was the property could have been bought for not much more than what was owed, however the broad the virtue of fairness in dealing from a position of power left an indelible impression.
I have not yet finished The Fall of Giants. At this point in life- the quote at the top is not formative, it is illustrative. If our political leaders are to be wise, they would take counsel of the fictional diplomat. Effective leaders do not force their power upon the people. Instead they lead through the practice of active listening.
This book is a good example of why it is important to read. Master storytellers, like Ken Follett broaden the perspective and focus attention on great principals without our having to sacrifice to learn anew that it is better to be good than rich, famous or powerful.