FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Friday, May 13, 2011

It Happened on the Way to the Exchange: A Marine's Book Signing

This past Tuesday  a friend and I went to a book signing at the Henderson Hall Exchange with Rye Barcott, the author of It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine's Path to Peace.  We were the only two officers there amongst a squad from a corporals' class and so we were privileged to listen in to their discussion with the author about his books.  And as the son of a Marine, I am always pumped to be around the young men and women that comprise the backbone of the Corps.  

One can tell a lot about someone from the way in which they interact with their subordinates and Barcott was genuinely excited to be in the company of young Marines (Barcott served 4 years active duty and 4 years reserve in the Marine Corps).  He spoke about the peaks and valleys of his time in the Corps and in Kenya candidly and sincerely.  It was refreshing to hear such humility from such a gifted speaker and an individual who has done so much, who has given so much of himself.  As Barcott concluded, he prodded the Marines for questions and solicited their opinions.  Before their group left, he shook each of their hands and handed them his business card, asking if they would let him know what they thought of his book or if they just had questions for him.  

I am already about 30 pages into the book and I can tell you that the 9 years during which Barcott penned this memoir, during which he poured his heart and soul were well spent (Not to mention that it's been lauded by none other than Stephen Pressfield!  Stephen Pressfield! is one of my favorite writers, period...well except for Killing Rommel which I found hard to get through).

The premise of Barcott's work in Kibera is derived from the idea that "Talent is universal; opportunity is not."  I will update this blog periodically with my thoughts as I work through his book and see how this idea evolved.

For my West Coast readers, Barcott will be doing a book signing this Monday, 16 May at Warwick's in La Jolla, CA.  It's an event that will be well worth your time.  


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