Vail Daily Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: Reading up on the good life
Vail, CO Colorado
Among a small subset of disparate friends and acquaintances this question inevitably is asked: “So, what are you reading these days?”
If you’re asking (or not), right now I have “Eat Pray Love” and “Nicomachean Ethics” on the nightstand.
That is, an ancient classic by an extraordinarily rational man and a bestseller written by a female master of the craft who I both admire and find completely annoying.
Aristotle can be hard to follow, though I’m reading an accessible translation.
Elizabeth Gilbert seduced me with the perfect introduction ± and I mean perfect. I read it while waiting for my wife on a restroom break during a road trip and was sold on the book by the time she got back in the car.
Gilbert, wow. That lady can write. I burn with jealousy and pure awe.
But I’m also learning, again, why it’s so hard to read women’s memoirs.
The internal life of a fresh divorcee, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just too much information. I felt the same annoyance trying to read my daughter’s copy of “Twilight,” the adolescent vampire hit. Good God, this is how they really think? Just shoot me.
I’m early into both books. No special reason why I picked these two from the bookshelf. Turns out, though, that they both quest after what forms the good life.
For Aristotle, it’s the virtue of reason applied to the improvement of humanity in ways large and small.
For Gilbert, it’s far more … complicated. But I’m just in Italy with her; we have India and Indonesia to go. I’m doubting cool reason is on the itinerary, though.
I’m not contrasting brain power here. “Eat Pray Love” is a smart, smart book, full of spirit, wit and no small amount of wisdom. I just can’t quite shake the realization that maybe I’m not exactly the target audience.
“Nicomachean Ethics” will be slower going. You know how philosophical works go, all definition piled atop definition. And the definitions the author assigns to his or her concepts seldom are the same you find in a dictionary.
But I dig Aristotle. So far he’s making sense. I’m looking forward to where he goes, as well as thinking about the contrast between his cool reasoning vs. Gilbert’s witty if frantic questing.
Sandwiched in there was some assigned reading, “The Power of Purpose,” another outside the genre but in the family of thought of the other two. That’s by Richard Leider, an executive coach who believes in discovering and following your purpose in a disciplined way. Good stuff.
Sometimes I envy our dogs, who just live their purpose, charging into the day, ready for any thing any time.
That’s truly the good life.
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