Book Review – Two Paths: American Divided or United by John Kasich

Author: John Kasich

Book Rating: 3.5 out of 5 head tilts

I’m not a fan of biographies; I prefer books that teach me things.  But I watched an interview with John Kasich on The Daily Show with Trever Noah, and I was so impressed by John’s comments that I felt compelled to explore things further.  When he spoke, he was saying things that I’ve vocalized to other’s before.  So naturally, my narcissism took over and thought I needed to read his book to validate my own beliefs.

Here’s what happened.  It worked.

To expand a bit deeper I think he’s onto some really great ideas.  He’s someone who isn’t loyal to his party, which is probably why he didn’t fare so well during the primary election.  In fact, in the book he says, “I hadn’t gotten into tpolitics to serve the Republican Party.  From the very beginning, I’ve told people the Republican Party was my vehicle, not my master….”

So if you are thinking you won’t read some “right-wing Republican wacko” book, I can assure you, he’s very centrist.  As I read about his story, he shared he was raised by Democrat parents.  Many times in the book, I kept saying, “This guy sounds like a Democrat!”  Perhaps this is why I was drawn to his book.  I’m a Democrat raised by Republicans.  Yep, there’s a special place in my heart for those “right-wing Republican wackos.”  (My brother actually has a Rush Limbaugh shrine in his basement.  True story.)

Here are some highlights from the book that impacted me:

“The days of neighbor helping neighbor seem to be gone.  Most of us go about our lives with our heads down, eyes to the ground and focused on the road ahead, instead of with our heads held high, eyes up and open to the world around us.”

“When you’re feeling desperate and isolated, it becomes easy to start throwing around blame; and when you start throwing around blame, it’s inevitable that we start to turn on one another.”

“If you have a good idea that’s not in favor at first, it pays to keep at it.  Conversely, if you’re opposed to a terrible idea, or one that’s built on a false premise, it pays to push back on it.  Over time, if you’re able to present your arguments in a sound, compelling way, you’ll begin to generate support.  You’ll win people over.”

One of the biggest premises in the book is that we don’t necessarily just have a leadership problem.  We also have something as dire – a followship problem.  We as a culture have gotten poor at following.  We just blindly accept a tweet or social media post as factual without using our common sense.  And this is a big issue.  Because, as Kasich say, “we now live in a world where we are not only consumers of news media, but participants in the dissemination of news and information as well.”  The book talks about the importance of questioning our leaders and embracing a healthy level of skepticism.

Overall, if everyone read this book in America, we might not be such partisan dick-heads.  I truly believe we can disagree with people’s views, but still respect them as a person.  John is someone I’d love to take out for a cup of coffee.  I’m guessing we have far more things that unite us than we do divide us, and we’d have a great time discussing those things that divide us without feeling the need to call each other names, or throw coffee in their face.



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