Last week in a private speech to congressional interns, presidential son-in-law (and, given his wide-ranging set of responsibilities, apparent superhuman) Jared Kushner was asked how he will fix the Israeli-Palestinian conflict despite decades of failures on the part of experienced diplomats.
His answer? “We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books.”
To which I say, “Uh, no you haven’t” and “who cares?”
Perhaps you’ve seen the New Yorker magazine cartoon that depicts a man standing before two doors, seemingly confused about which to go through. One door is labeled “Heaven” and the other is labeled “Books About Heaven.”
And while the religious example may not resonate with everyone, the metaphor is apt, our choices are clear. Knowledge is necessary. Doing is what counts.
Read the book. Or have the actual experience.
Stay in the stands, rendering judgment. Or be the person in the arena.
On the shore. Or in the boat.
Gathering knowledge. Or doing the work.