One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future
By Ben Carson, MD
Penguin Publishing Group, 2014
If you are looking for a true American success story, look no further than Dr. Ben Carson. Born into poverty in Detroit in 1951, he would become a world renowned neurosurgeon, and in 2013 came into the national spotlight for his political opinions after giving a moving and decidedly conservative address at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. At the time of the writing of this book (2014) Carson had not yet entered the political arena, though many had encouraged him to do so.
In this book he addresses a wide variety of topics that are points of concern in our nation today, such as disunity, political correctness, ignorance, and bigotry, to name just a few. His background, rising from an impoverished Detroit community to Yale University, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and beyond during a time when racism was an even bigger problem than it is today makes Dr. Carson singularly qualified to comment on these topics, because he has seen all of these issues from both sides of the fence. The advice he shares as a result of his personal journey can be applied to everyone, regardless of their background and worldview.
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A few points that particularly stood out to me are his stance on the importance of education and his philosophy on how to handle disagreements. He illustrates how our democracy was set up to be employed by an informed people, something we arguably are not anymore. He advocates for calm, respectful disagreements and gives suggestions for how one can accomplish this without falling prey to finger pointing, name calling and other childish behaviors that distract from the conversation.
At the end of each chapter is a set of Action Steps designed to help people see how they can have a positive impact on the problems laid out in each chapter. Carson states several times throughout the book that he doesn’t like to bring up problems without also giving ideas for solutions, so this fits in with that theme. The solutions he offers for the each of the problems he addresses are practical and fair, both on a personal and national level. I greatly admire his ability to calmly and articulately communicate his opinions, and I think that is a skill we should all work to acquire.
This book is very informative and stimulating. I actually had to stop and look up the definitions of five or six words, which is unusual for me. As an insatiable reader (one book per week, bare minimum; typically its two or three per week) vocabulary has always been something that comes easily for me, so it was nice to be challenged in that way. And even though it was written several years ago, the message is still encouraging and applicable in the current political season.
So, in conclusion, if you are looking for a practical, conservative set of solutions for our nation’s issues and appreciate being challenged, pick up a copy of One Nation.