A Round of Golf with My Father

The New Psychology of Exploring Your Past to Make Peace with Your Present
by William Damon | Templeton Press © 2021 · 224 pages

This is our fourth note on one of William Damon's books. Professor Damon is one of the world’s leading scholars on human development across the lifespan. He’s also an incredibly good human being. In this book, William Damon helps us create a “coherent narrative” for our lives by, as per the sub-title, “Exploring Your Past to Make Peace with Your Present.” It’s FANTASTIC. We'll explore the three primary aspects of a 'life review' and a ton of other Big Ideas. Let’s jump straight in!


“The explorations in this book take place in a zone where psychological science, personal experience, and philosophical reflection meet. This is not the first time I’ve ventured into such territory. When I began the research that led to The Path to Purpose, the best-known treatments of purpose were found in philosophical and theological contemplations (such as Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life) or self-help books (such as Richard Leider’s Power of Purpose). By now, it’s fair to say, purpose has become a well-established subject of study and practice in fields such as education, business, medicine, and psychology. I believe that the feelings that prompted me to write the present book are ones people everywhere will recognize: a quest to better understand my past and present self, my sense of loss for a key family member who went missing from my life, my confusion over long-ago childhood mysteries, my need to heal past wounds and regrets, and my wish to reaffirm the life I’ve been given.

Everyone searches for life meaning in a unique and personal way. But the search itself is universal. For those who choose to join me on the journeys contained in these pages, I hope that my research, my reflections, and my discoveries provide useful insights about this most personal, and most universal, human quest.”

~ William Damon from A Round of Golf with My Father

William Damon is a professor at Stanford University. He is one of the world’s leading scholars on human development across the lifespan. He’s also an incredibly good human being.

We’ve created Notes on a number of his other books including The Power of Ideals, The Path to Purpose, and Noble Purpose. I have been blessed to have private conversations with Professor Damon and the wisdom he shared with me when I reached out for guidance after creating Heroic has deeply impacted me.

So, when I got back into creating PhilosophersNotes, I immediately got this book (and found another one we’ll be featuring soon called The Moral Advantage: How to Succeed in Business by Doing the Right Thing). As I read this book I was struck by his wisdom and goodness.

Michael Murphy (the cofounder of Esalen) captures the essence of the book perfectly in his review. The book is “[A] gripping detective story, a deeply touching personal memoir, a critique of developmental psychology, a compendium of life-giving maxims, and a celebration of a disciplined life review.”

Practically speaking, the book helps us create a “coherent narrative” for our lives by, as per the sub-title, “Exploring Your Past to Make Peace with Your Present.”

It’s FANTASTIC. I highly recommend it. Get a copy here.

Of course, it’s also packed with Big Ideas. Let’s jump straight in!

Unlock this PhilosophersNote (and over 600 more) for free!

The Optimize membership used to be $100/year. It’s now free. No credit card required. No strings attached. Just more wisdom in less time.

Sign Up for Free

About the author

Authors

William Damon

One of the world’s leading scholars of human development.