Plato’s Lemonade Stand

Stirring Change into Something Great
by Tom Morris | Wisdom/Works © 2019 · 334 pages

Tom Morris has a joint Ph.D. from Yale in Religious Studies and Philosophy and is one of the most popular teachers in Notre Dame’s history. He’s one of my favorite teachers. In this book, he distills decades of wisdom into the ultimate philosophical lemonade-making recipe. Big Ideas we explore include lemon alchemy (Antifragility for the win!), the Big 3 + 1 (Socrates + Aristotle + Ockham --> Self-knowledge + Ideals + Courage + Simplicity), Plato’s Ideals (and yours), “I’m Getting Nervous!” (--> “I’m getting ready!”), and The Alchemy of Life (fuel for the second mountain).

What is philosophy? Doesn’t it mean preparing to meet whatever will come our way?
Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
Winston Churchill

“This book will offer a practical philosophy for how to flex and innovate your way forward in the face of life’s irritations, shocks, defeats, disappointments, heartaches, and failures. The good news is that we’ve long had some profound advice on how to deal with the vast range of difficulties we face. It’s as succinct as it is vivid and memorable:

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

… In the face of a real tragedy, you may think it to be ridiculously trite, or even glib. But it’s not at all. Beneath the simple surface image of the advice, there are great depths to be explored and powerful insights to be used. It actually captures a profound philosophy of life.

And yet there’s a basic problem with the popular adage. Nearly everyone says it, but no one says how. Nobody tells us exactly, or even remotely, how to do what’s so vividly recommended. This book will solve that problem, providing guidance from some of the wisest people who have ever lived on the best ways to deal with the most difficult challenges that enter our lives, as well as the little everyday obstacles that cross our path. It’s about adversity in all its forms and how we can best respond to it wisely and well. It’s a personal guide for all of us, but it’s also a surprisingly powerful look at what leaders need to learn to do well and help their associates and partners accomplish on a regular basis.”

~ Tom V. Morris from Plato’s Lemonade Stand

This is our 5th Note on one of Tom Morris’s books.

As I’ve mentioned in the other Notes, Tom has a joint Ph.D. from Yale in Religious Studies and Philosophy and is one of the most popular teachers in Notre Dame's history. He’s one of my absolute (!) favorite teachers.

Side note: He’s also one of John Mackey’s favorite authors. I remembered that fact when reading this book as John (Founder/CEO of Whole Foods) is one of the antifragile lemonade-making exemplars Tom features. When I re-connected John and Tom years ago, John told me that he’d read EVERY single one of Tom’s books. So, yah. There’s that.

But what I love about Tom the most is his incredible, effervescent enthusiasm. Every time we’ve connected, I’ve been blown away by the depth of his wisdom and the joy with which he expresses it. It’s palpable.

So… When I saw that he had recently published this book, I immediately got it. It’s awesome—basically a distillation of a lifetime of practical philosophical wisdom all focused like a laser beam on dealing with life’s inevitable challenges. It’s powerful wisdom for ANY era. And, it’s ESPECIALLY powerful as I write this during the COVID-19 crisis. (Get a copy of the book here.)

It’s packed with wisdom and I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump straight in and squeeze some lemons!

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About the author


Tom Morris

One of the world's top motivators and pioneering business thinkers.