It is probably the question I get asked most often by students: how did you achieve what you did? There is an urgency to the question and more than a little self-interest. If I can figure out how he made it, the student reasons, then maybe I will know how to chart my own path. It was always difficult to provide a simple answer to a long and complex journey. So I often leave the inquiring student with a pointer here or a caution there. Never enough to really account for lessons from learning and life…
Jonathan Jansen doesn’t regard the achievements he has made in academia and his contributions to public intellectual life as his own rather, he sees these accomplishments as a product of the hard work and sacrifices of family, friends, teachers, colleagues and mentors around him. Jansen recounts, in his indomitable way, how the people in his life invested love, direction, encouragement (and even money) to make his journey possible; in the hope that his story may give inspiration and direction to generations of young people taking their first steps in adult life.
Yet, cautions Jansen, this book is not a what-to-do’ checklist to leverage learning for success in life as every journey is different, every circumstance carries unique challenges, and every personality manages difficulty in various ways. What the book offers is the chance to learn from the moves and mistakes that others have made along their way to achieving great things in life.