A Higher Loyalty by James Comey

There’s this ad on Facebook of a Life Coach proudly displaying all the books he had read in a year. Speaking to those who know the power of reading personal development books, and want to read all the books they possible can (as though reading personal development books is like doing reps at the gym) but just don’t have the time to read all those books. He was offering them a solution to their predicament, He was selling the notes he had made from those books while reading so others didn’t have to spend so much time just to get to the good stuff. He was selling what he thought was a brilliant shortcut to personal development. He approached reading as though mining for gold, and all you have to do it sort out all the less meaningful sentences and just leaving the gems, tossing the excess into the mine cart to be hauled out and dumped into the talus pile.

How could someone who had immersed themselves in to so many thought provoking books miss the point so drastically? It feels absurd to suggest to another that they could learn what he had learned simply by buying and reading his notes from the books that he had read.

There is no shortcut to knowledge. You can’t just provide a list of the best quotes from a book and expect to have the same experience as reading the book. That would be like visiting Paris by looking at someone else’s photos that they took while they were there. The photos have the power to awaken the experience for the person who took the pictures while they were in Paris, but the person who has never been there is not going to have the same awakening by looking at the photos. You have to go there for yourself. It would be selfish for someone to suggest that they will travel the world for you and then they will sell to you their photo albums from all those travels so that you don’t have to go there and make all the arrangements and deal with the stress of navigating with language barriers and risking the possibility of getting sea sick on while traveling on the Mediterranean Sea and getting drenched from an unexpected downpour while in the amazon. You don’t have to travel, rather you can just buy my photos from my vacations. It will save you time and money.

It doesn’t feel right to experience something that awakens your mind and your heart and then rob another person of that journey. It doesn’t feel right to give someone the notes when you can give them the book.

I was so drawn to the ideas that were embedded in experiences and observations of James Comey in his book A Higher Loyalty. As soon as I finished the audio version of this book I bought a hardback copy and read it again highlighting phrases that were meaningful to me and making the page with a post it tab. I leave my notes (where really aren’t notes, but rather a collection of the phrases I marked in this book) here so that I have a place where I can easily find them again, not so that you don’t have to read this book. The phrases will mean more if you take the time to walk through the his experiences with him.

November 25, 2019

Writing time: 1 hour

Total time writing on this blog: 157 hours