January 12, 2019

Many of us who grew up in the Boomer Era were afflicted with a sort of chronic angst. Something not quite identifiable was ever not quite right. In an earnest effort to rid ourselves of this malaise, we tried all manner of remedies, including taking the Road Less Traveled, nurturing our Inner Child, caring for our Soul, and running with the Wolves. 

Despite all these efforts, however, a general sense of things not being right, both in ourselves and in the nation at large, would seem only to have gotten worse. Why? How could such a wealth of remedies on the one hand lead to such dismal results on the other? 

According to author Tom Fitzgerald, one possible explanation—and the premise of his book—is that, instead of having been encouraged by the personal-growth and mental-health industries to aim the arrow of our concern a little more toward other people, we have been encouraged to keep it disproportionately aimed toward ourselves. 

To help us make a shift in this regard, Fitzgerald encourages us to take action on a series of “reminder messages,” and, for each message, to ponder a set of interrogatives designed to stimulate introspection.


Tom Fitzgerald led a Huckleberry Finn childhood along the St. Lawrence River before undertaking formal studies in physics, mathematics, law, industrial management, and English. Tom is the author of . According to Michael Zuckerman, Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, Poor Richard’s Lament “joins John Barth’s Sot-Weed Factor as the best historical fiction of early America ever written.” 

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