I’m… I am really striking out on books lately, guys.
This felt less like brooks had a cogent thesis he was working toward with examples citing his ideas, and more that he had read a lot about the historical figures involved and wanted to write a book about them whether or not they made sense together.
The unifying theme, such as it is, revolves around humility. These people, from Dwight Eisenhower to George Sand are exemplars I’d moral rectitude by virtue of their disciplined ego. Which is exactly as thrilling to read about as one would imagine.
It’s funny, but this book strongly reminded me of Hadley Freeman’s Life Moves Pretty Fast, the pop culture essay collection reviewed for cannonball nine’s book club, by way of the nerdier parts of NPR, if only because it was evident that Brooks had his research first and his idea later. There’s very little to hang this together as a book, and what is there just told me to get off its lawn.
As a series of historical essays, these are quite interesting. As a model for ethical behavior? I’ve seldom been more tempted to behave rebelliously out of sheer spite.