July 7, 2024


by: tguerry


Categories: Current Culture



The Zig
If you saw the recent movie, The Boys in the Boat, you have my apology in advance because the analogies I take from the book (not the movie) may make no sense at all to you. Like everything else Hollywood touches, they bastardized the book to the point of eliminating the very foundational theme.

If you haven’t read the book, I cannot recommend it highly enough, but I pray that your exposure to the movie will not serve as an inoculation against Daniel James Brown’s deeper and more significant message.

The overarching message of The Boys in the Boat is not about the Americans besting the Germans on their own turf. Nor is it just about the grit, determination, and dedication required to become a master oarsman — though those are all excelent messages within this great story.

The real story is one of Joe Rantz, an outsider, evolving into an integral part of a team whose members differed from him in every single facet of their existence. It’s a story of the positive influences that guided the uniting of those eight young men, as well as a story of their overcoming the natural deterrents distracting them from their goal.

And, it’s a story about the “Swing”, that almost supernatural synchronization and fluidity that happens only when everyone in the boat is perfectly attuned and rowing in absolute harmony with everyone else in the boat. Yeah, I recommend you spend the time to read the book, maybe more than once.

The Zag
If you know me, you know I didn’t just set out to write a review of a great book. What I really want to talk about is “singularity of purpose”, that precursor to “swing”.

Achieving a disciplined individual thinking style is the forerunner to any unified thinking that facilitates successful teamwork. Besides great books like The Boys in the Boat, I’m addicted to books on Neuroscience, and in his book The Power of Neuroplasticity, Dr. Shad Helmstetter recommends one mental exercise above all others — meditation.

I’m not talking about meditation in the meta-physical sense. I’m talking about meditation in terms of holding a single thought in your mind, exclusive of all other thoughts, for as long as possible. It requires isolation and silence. It requires concentration. And in the beginning, it seems impossible. My best time is about twenty seconds, but the goal is somewhere around twenty minutes.

The reward of meditation is learning to overcome the ADHD that pollutes our contemporary brains — the constant bombardment of worries, irritations, work and social demands, and personal insecurities. Imagine if you will, being able to focus your brain singularly on a critical issue for more than a minute or two. Imagine the clarity that results from those neurological isometrics. Imagine the implications of applying that newfound capability to any challenge.

Now, imagine if you will, the power of eight people, training their brains to overcome the outside barriers to collaboration — setting aside all social, political, and philosophical distractions — in order to jointly achieve a worthwhile goal. Imagine what eight people, four people, or even two people working in perfect harmony could achieve in any endeavor. You’ve just imagined the neural equivalent of “Swing”.

Let’s talk. I’d really like to hear what you have to say, and it might even give me something to write about. Email me at guy@lawsoncomm.com.
I’ll buy you coffee and we can compare notes. I promise not to steal your ideas without permission.


As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

— Proverbs 27:17


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The Boys in the Boat

— Daniel James Brown

Yeah, you pretty well knew that was coming, but if you haven’t read it yet, now would be a great time. If you have already read it, there’s nothing wrong with reading it a second time. It’s a great story with a great message. Once you read it, call me so we can discuss it. I’m anxious to hear what you notice in the book that I missed.

Why I Believe

— Henry Cloud

If you’ve ever read anything by Cloud, you know he’s a great writer as well as someone with tremendous insight. This book is the story of his life and his struggles to answer the big questions. Whether you end up agreeing with him or not, you will come away in awe of his compassion for his fellow human beings.

A meeting of great minds who think alike