On the Shoulders of Giants

Kevin Costner’s is one of the profiles that I enjoy the most in Tim Ferriss’ penultimate book, “Tools of Titans” (where he compiles the best parts of several years of interviews).

At less than two pages in length, it’s one of the shorter profiles, but I think the editing is masterful; the short text perfectly encapsulates one arc in the actor and director’s personal life.

In one of the first paragraphs, he tells us how he almost died in a car accident, but left the destroyed car in the middle of nowhere, and hitchhiked to the audition where he was due. He didn’t get the part, but he tells us that it was then he finally realized this was what he wanted, that it did not matter what the world and his family thought about his choices.

In one of the last paragraphs, the actor recounts an exchange he had with his father, many years later, after having already achieved the success of world stardom. His father laments, in a heartfelt way, that he had never taken any risks in his life. That he held the same job for all his life because he wanted to know that “there would always be food on the table.”

The only thing his son could tell him was: “And there was. And there was. “

Sometimes we avoid taking risks not because we are cowards, but so that those who follow us have the opportunity to take them.