Who Inspires the Inspirers?


What inspires people who inspire others?

Here is an instance where one great mind took the time to answer that question.

In an excerpt from his book recently published here, India’s late past president and renowned missile scientist Abdul Kalam lists three of the most influential books in his life, which included:

∙ “Lights from Many Lamps” (by Lillian Eichler Watson)
∙ Thirukural (by Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar)
∙ Man the Unknown (by Nobel laureate and doctor-philosopher Alexis Carrel)

Mr. Kalam appeared to be influenced by a variety of sources, from all different places, times and cultures — and lived an exemplary life, not only as a scientist and politician but as a human being (e.g., thanking a guard for having to stand because of him).

While it is easy and tempting to limit your sources of inspiration to one person, one book, one culture, one religion, one what-have-you, great thinkers like Mr. Kalam serve to remind us of the importance of having many sources of inspiration and influence — discovering commonalities between them while cultivating a mind that is full of ideas that are all together diverse, complementary, and competing. A mind that is all at once broad, deep, fast, and high-thinking is an asset for for leaders in today’s world, which is in a stable state of constant change.

They say this about nature — the more diverse and complex an ecosystem is, the more resilient it becomes. Perhaps that is also true of the mind; and each of us should strive to be well-read, or at least knowledgable and seeking learning experiences from all sources.  Thank you for that insight, Mr. Kalam!

Books were always my friends
Last more than fifty years
Books gave me dreams
Dreams resulted in missions
Books helped me confidently take up the missions
Books gave me courage at the time of failures
Good books were for me angels
Touched my heart gently at the time
Hence I ask young friends to have books as friends
Books are your good friends.

– A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

May his soul rest in peace!


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