The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo – And the Sacrifice that Forged a Nation by James Donovan should be required reading for anyone who would consider themselves a true Texan.
How I wept after I read this book. I mourned my birth taking place in Arkansas – even after being consoled by my father who promised I was concieved in Texas. The only solace I took in my foriegn birth was that the greatest men at the Alamo- Crockett, Travis, Bowie- weren’t born in Texas. These men died on this sacred land, and I can only wish for the same fate.
In all seriousness the men at the Alamo knew they were going to die, but they continued on until their last breath. When we are able to live for something much greater than ourselves our lives go from mediocre to extraordinary, because the success or failure of our efforts are felt beyond our own small circle. I have been searching for a book to read when my child turns 16 that will help them understand what it is to strive for greatness when everyone is against you, and I am ecstatic to have found this book.
I rate this Required Reading.
The Power of Habit explains how habits form and how we can change them. It’s a cycle that looks like this:
Cue – Routine – Reward,
For example: Stress – Coffee – Reward of caffeine high
The idea is that if you can identify the cue that is setting you to engage in the harmful routine you can replace that routine with something else that is healthy. The example above becomes:
Stress – run – reward of runner’s high
That is really the extent of the book, but it has some really interesting stories that are worth reading.
My wife Sara – lovin’ – Sara. That’s a habit I won’t quit – my wife’s a reward all in herself. Amen?
The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization by Peter F. Drucker and Friends
- What is our mission?
- Who is our customer?
- What does our customer value?
- What are our results?
- What is our plan?
I suggest buying this book and reading through it, because it provides such an easy framework to kill any interview you go into.
I’m reading David McCullough’s John Adams which I will review once I get through it all, but this was too good not to share immediately. From what I have read you can imagine Adams to have the same reputation and character as a Billy Graham, which makes this all the better. This is from his time in France negotiating the future of an alliance with the newly formed US:
“Mr. Adams,” she had said, “by your name I conclude you are descended from the first man and woman, and probably in your family may be preserved the tradition which may resolve a difficulty which I could never explain. I never could understand how the first couple found out the art of lying together?”
Assisted by an interpreter, Adams replied that his family resembled the first couple both in name and in their frailties and that no doubt “instinct” was the answer to her question. “For there was a physical quality in us resembling the power of electricity or of the magnet, by which when a pair approached within striking distance they flew together . . . like two objects in an electrical experiment.”
“Well,” she retorted. “I know not how it was, but this I know, it is a very happy shock.”
McCullough, David (2001-05-22). John Adams (p. 191). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
I was familiar with Isaacson after reading the Jobs biography, so when looking for a book chronicling the life of Franklin I landed on his. The narrative style of the author and the new information I gained about Franklin made for an incredible read. BOOK HERE.
One: Franklin could pass for a modern day millennial. He was non-confrontational and could put someone down while smiling at them.
Two: They struggled then – as we do now – with the need to treat people as individuals to ensure justice. This was his response to a gang of Presbyterians that were murdering all Indians they were coming in contact with:
“Should any man with a freckled face and red hair kill a wife or child of mine, [by this reasoning] it would be right for me to revenge it by killing all the freckled red-haired men, women and children I could afterwards anywhere meet.” Isaacson, Walter (2003-07-01). Benjamin Franklin (p. 212). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Three: Finally, if you need a pick-me-up to get excited about changing the world, the following quote is worth remembering:
“Rebellion to Tyrants is obedience to God.” Isaacson, Walter (2003-07-01). Benjamin Franklin (p. 316). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Use of this quote applies to the following situations:
- When the cop pulls you over for speeding,
- When the Subway sandwich artist charges you for a foot-long that is only 11”,
- When your mom makes you clean your room, and
- When the boss asks you to stay late.
It is in the interest of every American to revere and honor our founding fathers as fathers. A good father brings up his children to function successfully in society. A great father creates the circumstances which allow their children to go further than they themselves could ever dream of voyaging. The founding fathers would not want us to hold them up, but to stand on their shoulders and accomplish loftier ambitions than they were able to bring to fruition.
As millennials, we are beginning to create that world. To accomplish the lofty goals we have dreamed of since youth will require a major shift in popular political thought. It is time for a political renaissance. The tenets below are the starting point from which a new generation of citizens and servants will build to accomplish the necessary societal awakening that our parents, grandparents and ancestors prepared the way for:
We are Global Citizens: We are proud to be Americans, and we value our citizenship. We also know that we are Global Citizens. We must recognize that we are as much responsible for the oppression in foreign countries as we are for those on Main Street. Our response must be that of a gentle servant that is able to both stand strong in the face of adversity, but also act justly.
We honor our past by improving our future: We remember all of our history, and learn from its lessons. We cannot live in such a way that our grandchildren will ask why we weren’t on the forefront of stopping oppression in any of its forms. We take upon our backs the yoke of the minority because we know that a society’s integrity is shown through the way it treats those with the smallest voice.
We view making a difference as a responsibility: We believe that everything we need in order to change our world has been made readily available to us. It is both our joy and obligation to take seriously the responsibility that comes with this great blessing. At the same time, we don’t judge our progress by that of our peers, but by the work that has been accomplished by the greatest of our citizens. It is possible for the government to both step out of the way of individual success, but not treat every citizen the same.
Intellectual Flexibility: We can agree that someone changing their mind based on solid argument and reason is something to get excited about – not attack. Holding true to a belief in the face of failed application is not authenticity; it is absurdity.
Creation: We will be a nation known for passionate creation, devoted compassion, and solemn justice.
Service: Public service is paramount to the success of a society.
Leadership: We will look for leaders that challenge us, not representatives that are made in our collective image.
Above all, we will be a tolerant people who continually question while always making the hard decisions between tolerance and accountability by using common sense toward progress and compassion for those that are different.