Over the years, I have read countless newspapers, magazines, books, blogs, and postings. I have been inspired, confused, dismayed, educated, informed, outraged, misled, disappointed, relieved, encouraged, assured, influenced, stimulated, transported, convinced, and energized in one way or another by everything I have come across for the past 60 years. And still standing at the top of my favorite books is Will Durant’s Mansions of Philosophy.
But at the top of my list of newspaper articles sits Janan Ganesh’s The Devil and Roger Federer. Published in 2017 in London’s Financial Times, Janan exquisitely elucidates what I agree are the essentials of preparing for the world we are living in.
“To prosper in life, or just to withstand its vicissitudes, a person has to possess some dark traits in controlled doses: aggression, swagger, ruthlessness verging on chicanery, an ability to block out other people and their judgments.” – Janan Ganesh
Admittedly, I had a hard time writing after reading this article. What fascinated me most was that it was a throw-away article by Janan. No Pulitzer Prize ambitions here, no scoops, and certainly not front-page news – just everyday journalism with terrific insight, written in a cadence that challenges my writing rhythm every time I have a go at the keyboard. It is this kind of brilliance I admire most. It’s not only having the intuition, but, more importantly, the ability to transport it succinctly and convincingly while entertaining and enthralling with every phrase – and to do it all so effortlessly.
I continue to read the Devil and Roger Federer on occasion and I recommend it often.
“There is such a thing as the optimal amount of devil in a person, and it is not zero. Call it the Federer Quotient.” Janan Ganesh