"I Wish to Be Useful:
Book review by Peter Shepherd
A Guide to Living with Greater Significance"
By David DeFord
David DeFord's new book begins with the above quote. I think most of us hope that by the end of our lives we can look back and feel that the world is a better place because of our presence and the contributions we have made. Along the way, too, we want to feel that we are making a difference to the lives of people around us. How to go about "making a difference" is the crucial question and this book provides many of the answers.
David explains that the key to great achievement is finding a higher purpose, one that will give us the sense that what we are doing is so important it MUST be done. For those of us with families, our greatest significance comes from our actions at home. By raising our children well, we make our greatest contribution to society. We can also find wonderful significance through our work and our contributions to our communities. The book contains many practical tips and anecdotes to illustrate how we can move forward in these areas in a way that is true to our unique personality and goals in life.
This book will help you:
- Develop a sense of mission
- Find your higher purpose
- Believe in yourself
- Develop the characteristics of greatness
- Live a more active and purposeful life
- Learn what one person can do to influence the world
- Know how to make a difference in the world
- Expand your freedom
- Convert hard times into the good life
Get to know five excellent examples of people who live useful lives. Learn how three young men in the slums of Newark who made a pact with each other to rise above their desperate challenges and practice medicine. Inspire yourself as you read how a Dallas pathologist, at the very point of death, determined to see his family again. Read about the determination of a fourteen-year-old expectant mother who presses past failure after failure to live her dream as a nurse. You can develop similar characteristics of greatness. The seeds are in you.
David is an intelligent collector of quotes and each chapter is illustrated by a number of very apposite ones. Talking about making a contribution in life he recommends, “Do something right away. I have heard people say that they will first make their fortune, then perform some grand and exotic service to mankind. But I have found that we can do more good by serving in small ways throughout our lives—day after day. Samuel Johnson said, 'He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do anything.' ”
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