T.S. Eliot noted in Four Quartets: “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” Reading broadly helps us as lead from a a broader place of life, from a place of reality. The following are two short books that I read recently that helped place my life more accurately within “reality.”
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death is about about a French, 44-year old father and husband who was editor-in-chief of Elle magazine. He writes by blinking with his left eye as he lay dying in a hospital as a quadriplegic. Having suddenly lost everything through a rare disease, he finds himself trapped in a body that will not work. His final reflections on life are captured here in painful clarity as he finds himself utterly alone before he dies.
The Wave is written by a wife who loses her husband, two children, and parents in the cataclysmic tsunami of December 26th, 2004 while on vacation in Sri Lanka. Her paroxysm of grief is captured in this raw book written 8 years after the event. It reminded me of Job. It was named one of the NY Times Book Review top 10 books of the year for good reason.
What are one or two books you have read this past year that have help you “to bear reality” in your leadership?