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The Other Wes Moore

The Other Wes Moore

Author: Wes Moore
Rating: 7/10
Last Read: 2014

Quick Summary: A military officer analyzes the lives and actions of himself and an inmate sharing his name to try to determine what would have caused their lives to deviate in such a way.

Key Takeaways

Don't forget how much of an effect environment, family, and birth lottery have on your life.

It made me think deeply about the way privilege and preference work in the world, and how many kids who didn’t have “luck” like mine in this instance would find themselves forever outside the ring of power and prestige. So many opportunities in this country are apportioned in this arbitrary and miserly way, distributed to those who already have the benefit of a privileged legacy.

My Highlights

But even the worst decisions we make don’t necessarily remove us from the circle of humanity.

life and death, freedom and bondage, hang in the balance of every action we take.

Watende, a Shona word that means “revenge will not be sought,”

“I guess it’s hard sometimes to distinguish between second chances and last chances.”

I decided not to respond directly to this latest protest of his innocence. Instead, I asked a question: “Do you think we’re all just products of our environments?” His smile dissolved into a smirk, with the left side of his face resting at ease. “I think so, or maybe products of our expectations.” “Others’ expectations of us or our expectations for ourselves?” “I mean others’ expectations that you take on as your own.” I realized then how difficult it is to separate the two. The expectations that others place on us help us form our expectations of ourselves.

He also taught me an important lesson about leadership: it always comes with having to make tough decisions.

They believed that excuses were tools of the incompetent and forced every cadet to believe the same.

“When it is time for you to leave this school, leave your job, or even leave this earth, you make sure you have worked hard to make sure it mattered you were ever here.”

Life’s impermanence, I realized, is what makes every single day so precious. It’s what shapes our time here. It’s what makes it so important that not a single moment be wasted.

It made me think deeply about the way privilege and preference work in the world, and how many kids who didn’t have “luck” like mine in this instance would find themselves forever outside the ring of power and prestige. So many opportunities in this country are apportioned in this arbitrary and miserly way, distributed to those who already have the benefit of a privileged legacy.

The common bond of humanity and decency that we share is stronger than any conflict, any adversity, any challenge. Fighting for your convictions is important. But finding peace is paramount. Knowing when to fight and when to seek peace is wisdom.

“I hear you, but it’s not the process you should focus on; it’s the joy you will feel after you go through the process.”

... the incredible power of stories to change people’s lives. By establishing himself as the protagonist of his own story, he inspired me and countless other young people to see ourselves as capable of taking control of our own destinies, and to realize how each decision we make determines the course of our life stories.

The Trial

The Trial

A Sailor's Guide to Earth

A Sailor's Guide to Earth