The Fabric of Character

I read two or three nonfiction books each week. So, I’m rarely blown away by what I read. This book is an exception.

Especially one I stumbled on more or less by accident. I had been reading David Brooks, The Second Mountain, and he referred to this book. So, I took a break and immediately bought it. Only later did Brooks acknowledge that he and Snyder are married–they must be quite a team.

If you are interested in either social change or the divisions facing this country (let alone both), this is must reading.

In all, she lists sixteen characteristics of character (pun intended), four of which mesh with my own work all but perfectly:

  • Full engagement to the cause, task, or what have you
  • A focus on relationships
  • An emphasis on the grass roots or, in her terms, the particular
  • The transformational nature of the enterprise for all involved.

I’m not sure I would have put character at the top of my list of key issues before I read this book. I would now.

Even more important is the other noun in her title. Fabric.

As she argues in her core concepts and in her case studies, hopes for change lie in the networks of people of and with character who are getting things done on the ground out of a sense of commitment to something bigger than themselves.