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Tuesday, 13 March 2007

M Scott Peck - the ideas or the life

I spent a lazy evening recently browsing through my local branch of 'Borders' bookshop. I came across a copy of a new biography about M Scott Peck. Written by Arthur Jones, it is a detailed description of Scott Peck's life.

Regular readers will recall that I wrote about Peck's death a while back, and was particularly unimpressed by obituaries which were around at the time. There was an undue focus on the way in which his life had failed to live up to the promise of 'The Road Less Travelled' and his other books. Now I don't think that an obituary is the place to tackle that kind of thing.

Doubtless, there is the fact that he left his wife of 40 years a few years before he died, remarried again. And he was reported to be estranged from his children.

It just feels to me that those who criticise are failing to understand the key message in Peck's writing. He wasn't putting himself up as a role model or guru. He was just offering advice on how to live a life. I found the advice incredibly useful at the stage I was at in my life when I first read it. For that I am grateful.

As for the biography, I'm as fascinated as anyone to read about the lives of others - that is how we learn. But we shouldn't be disappointed when we find a flawed and deeply human person rather than someone who is perfect.

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