A Highway Worth Traveling
Did you happen to read Amor Towles bestselling and wonderful book, A Gentleman in Moscow? Towles has a new book out called The Lincoln Highway. I noted a number of passages I found both gentle and provocative. Here are four of them with what sticks with me from each.
# 1: There is no kindness in latching the doors and turning out the lights, or in picking up the clothes from the bathroom floor in order to put them in the hamper…Nope, I said to myself while climbing into bed and switching off the light, there is no kindness in any of that. For kindness begins where necessity ends.
My takeaway: Kindness is an enduring attribute, not a response to circumstance. It is the opposite of habit.
#2: Sarah laughed, and it was good to see her do so. Because she was a great laugher. She was the absotively best laugher Woolly had ever known.
My takeaway: We often focus on the condition rather than the person. We speak of laughter as if it were a movement or at least a shared action. Laughter boils down to those individuals who do it. They are laughers. And some are far greater at it than others.
#3: After leaving Lewis, for the first one hundred and fifty miles we had seen more grain elevators than human beings. And most of the towns we passed through seemed to be limited to one of everything by local decree: one movie theater and one restaurant; one cemetery and one savings and loan; in all likelihood, one sense of right and wrong.
My takeaway: There is no choice without options. When I think I have chosen to do something, I at times cannot say what else I could have done. Choice without alternatives is the illusion of intentionality.
#4: Shaking his head, Billy said that such a watch was far too precious to be given away.
–But that’s not so, countered Woolly excitedly. It’s not a watch that’s too precious to be given away. It’s a watch that’s too precious for keeping.
My take-away: A divergent thought worth keeping. Preciousness increases when distributed and loses currency when hoarded.
I will take off next week and greet you on January 5 with a fascinating example I came across recently of how to scale projects that create strong human gain.
Have wonderful holidays. And take every step you can to unite rather than divide.