Abraham Lincoln, like many great men, had almost no formal education. He also lacked both charisma and looks, as well as station, but somehow parlayed all those disadvantages into a stint as, perhaps, America's greatest president.
He was born in a one-room cabin to uneducated farmer parents, and offset the disadvantage of only receiving 18 months' formal education by reading any and every book he could find.
He left home at age 22, packing what few things he owned into a single canoe, and paddled off into the history books. He learned the Law from books. Enough of it to pass the bar in Illinois, where he became a successful lawyer and state legislator. In 1858 he campaigned for a senate seat in that state, but lost out to Stephen Douglas.
Undeterred, he would fight Douglas again, for the presidency, and this time he would win. This would be his great achievement, but also his downfall, as he would go on to lead America through her darkest internal conflict, one that would include his own death by an assassin's bullet.