This is so sad. Zeitoun was a book I loved reading earlier this year and raved about to everyone.
Unfortunately, Mr Zeitoun hasn’t shown the same strength of character and goodness he displayed earlier in life and during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. His ex-wife, Kathy Zeitoun, says that while the Zeitoun family life portrayed in Dave Eggers’ book was accurate, in the last few years Abdulrahman Zeitoun has become violent, angry and “radicalised” as a Muslim.
My flatmate and me are really disappointed – the world needs more heroes. But we both feel we shouldn’t judge. We didn’t go through what Abdulrahman Zeitoun went through in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
And people do change, even people who shown heroism and courage, often for the worse. I remember thinking what a cool sort Lance Armstrong was after reading It’s Not About the Bike. But in later books he came across as arrogant and full of himself.
Our heroes also have clay-feet. Martin Luther-King, for all of courage and principle (and clear Christian faith) was a womaniser. My prayers are with Kathy Zeitoun and her children. And I hope Abdulrahman Zeitoun finds the path of righteousness and integrity again.
This is not a full review. Instead, it’s some thoughts on Jon Gordan’s The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work. You can find an excellent full review here at Goodreads (*Warning: Spoiler Alert*).
I found this an endearing and good-hearted business fable.
One lesson in The Seed has resonated with me. The main character learns that he won’t find his purpose in life by going around and looking for it. Rather, he finds it by planting himself where he is, serving others, and investing what he does now with purpose. By doing this, the main character’s purpose finds him. At this point in my life, this has been an encouraging lesson.
The Seed isn’t going to win any prizes as a great piece of literature. In places, it’s saccharine and cheesy, but I feel it’s heart is in the right place. This may not be a book for you if you cannot sympathise with the Evangelical theology of Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life (Jon Gordon tells his story of becoming a Christian here).
One aspect of the book that raised big questions for me is that its story promotes the idea that God regularly gives us “signs” to guide us and we should regularly look for them. I am not sure this is inherently healthy for anyone. I know many people where this idea has led to superstition and poor choices.
Writing as a believer in God, I believe that God can give us signs now and then, which give us assurance or guidance about a momentous decision, or a direction we should take in life. But when I read the book of Proverbs or Torah or epistle of James, I see that God is much more concerned with us developing the ability to make wise decisions for ourselves. Rather, than seeking signs, genuine faith seeks and cultivates the wisdom needed to make good decisions.
I’m beginning to read read Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun. I got it with book vouchers I received for my birthday last year.
I read two chapters over lunch and I think it’s going to one of those books I’m going to look forward to reading on the train to and from work.
One of my room-mates is doing her PhD in the area of literary journalism (beyond that, I find it hard to describe what she is doing and invariably get it wrong). She was excited to see that I bought the book and told me that Zeitoun is one of the most acclaimed and popular of the genre. My room-mate made sure she read it first!