There is no formula for becoming humble—not for individuals, and not for nations.
Benjamin Franklin’s dilemma—one he passed on to the young United States—was how to achieve both greatness and humility at once. The humility James Madison learned as a legislator helped him to mold a nation, despite his reputation as a meek, timid, and weak man. The humility of Abigail Adams fed her impossible resilience. Humility of all kinds is deeply ingrained in our American DNA. Our challenge today is to rediscover and reawaken this utterly indispensable, alarmingly dormant national virtue before it’s too late.
In Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue, Dr. David J. Bobb traces the “crooked line” that is the history of humility in political thought. From Socrates to Augustine to Machiavelli to Lincoln, passionate opinions about the humble ruler are literally all over the map. Having shown classical, medieval, and Christian ideas of humility to be irreconcilable, Dr. Bobb asserts that we as a nation are faced with a difficult choice. A choice we cannot put off any longer.
“The power promised by humility is power over oneself, in self-government,” says Dr. Bobb. “[But] humility’s strength is obscured by the age of arrogance in which we live.”
George Washington’s humility, as great as it was, cannot substitute for ours today. We must reintegrate this fundamental virtue if there is to be an American future. The rediscovery of humility’s strength awaits.
"Humility is essential to good character—and to our country. In this smart and lively book, David Bobb illustrates this virtue with the stories of five great Americans. And he reminds us that humility is at the core of our national creed of equality and liberty."
"Nothing defies political correctness and the prevailing zeitgeist as radically as the notion that humility remains an important virtue. Dr. Bobb not only makes the case for this dismissed and disregarded value but emphasizes its importance as part of the American national character."
—Michael Medved, syndicated talk radio host
"A lively and counterintuitive argument, spiced with witty prose and engaging vignettes of Franklin, Washington, Madison, Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Abigail Adams."
—Robert Faulkner, professor of Political Science, Boston College; author, The Case for Greatness
“Dr. David Bobb has written a timely and timeless book on a vital virtue absent from far too many leaders today. Humility should be required reading for leaders in the public and private sector as well as in our homes and communities. In an age of arrogance there is much to be learned and strength to be gained from returning to the principle, power and pattern of humility contained in this extraordinary book.”
--Mike Lee, U.S. Senator, Utah
|About the Contributor(s)||
David J. Bobb, Ph.D., is executive director of citizen education for Hillsdale College, and lecturer in politics. He is the founding director of two centers for Hillsdale, the Washington, D.C.-based Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, and the Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence. He has written widely for national publications including The Wall Street Journaland Fast Company.
|Release Date||Nov 5, 2013|