Global COVID-19 shelter-in-place mandates forced many people to reflect on their lives past and present. Some, like author Andrea T. Edwards, captured their thoughts in print. Uncommon Courage is a collection of Edwards’s insights that prompt readers to assess their lives. Such reflection, she writes, is a gift we give not only ourselves but also our loved ones, our communities, and the world at large.
Edwards shares what she learned from 30 years spent as an entrepreneur and working in a corporate setting, combined with her experiences as a wife, mother and friend. She crystallizes these learnings into seven sections. A series of 108 “wisdoms” in all, they are conveyed in brief passages, with topics running the gamut from self-empowerment (“Breath [sic] in love, breath [sic] out hate”), social justice (“Lead with compassion”), career assessment (“What do you really want from your career?”) and climate change (“How to deal with eco-anxiety”). Using hashtags for related ideas, she ties her wisdoms together to illustrate the bigger picture that they represent.
Edwards colors within the lines for most of her wisdoms (“Give yourself permission to dream”). But she offers some contrarian advice, too (“Let people be dicks sometimes”). There’s also an unusual and arresting section discussing those whose time dealing with struggles to survive poverty, immigration, war zones and other extreme challenges necessarily trumps self-reflection. She knows her book is not for them, and she reminds readers that the act of self-contemplation is truly a luxury for many people around the globe.
The author delivers short, snappy prose, and her good humor will endear readers to her. While many of Edwards’s ideas will sound familiar, her fresh voice gives them new life. Eye-catching, comic-book-style graphics complement each wisdom and add to the book’s appeal.
Overall, Uncommon Courage a pleasing read with enough variety to appeal to those of varying generations, social strata and sexual and gender orientations.
Also available as an ebook.