The Power of One lives on…

Bryce Courtenay died yesterday. He was the author of one of my favorite books: The Power of One.  The Guardian writes the following about Courtenay:  He was born into poverty in South Africa and studied journalism in London.  He started writing late in life after a 30-year career in advertising.  He was known for his dedication to work and prolific output, often writing for 12 hours a day and usually producing one new book at year.  This short < 1 minute clip was produced by Courtenay a few days ago before he died.  Take a moment and watch…it is inspiring and moving.

And here are two of my favorite passages from “The Power of One“:

Let me conclude by saying in my experience the glittering prizes in life come more to those who persevere despite setback and disappointment than they do to the exceptionally gifted who, with the confidence of the talents bestowed upon them, often pursue the tasks leading to success with less determination.” 

“Always in life an idea starts small, it is only a sapling idea, but the vines will come and they will try to choke your idea so it cannot grow and it will die and you will never know you had a big idea, an idea so big it could have grown thirty meters through the dark canopy of leaves and touched the face of the sky.’ He looked at me and continued. ‘The vines are people who are afraid of originality, of new thinking. Most people you encounter will be vines; when you are a young plant they are very dangerous.’ His piercing blue eyes looked into mine.’ Always listen to yourself, Peekay. It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. If you are wrong, no matter, you have learned something and you grow stronger. If you are right, you have taken another step toward a fulfilling life.”

Idea Source: Amanda Patterson

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  1. A good man, David, and a great writer…
    He shall be missed…

  2. David: One of my top 5 novelists of all time. Thanks for sharing and I suggest if your readers have a teenager, they should get them The Power of One for Christmas.

  3. I have to go back and re-read Power of One – it had a tremendous effect on me.

  4. Somehow, with all the reading I do, I have missed him….until now….Thank you and may his memory be eternal.

  5. I, too, have somehow missed this man, but will definitely be rectifying that, as these brief passages really resonate….

  6. Both my kids read the book Power of One as did I. It should be required reading in the schools. His message was nothing short of remarkable… lucky he was to be able to thank those he felt was necessary.

  7. The peace and acceptance of only a little time left and his heartfelt thanks brought tears to my eyes. Like some others, I have not read his books and have added The Power of One to my Christmas wish list. I imagine his message, which you shared in those two brief passages, will continue long beyond his short time on earth. What a beautiful legacy.

  8. Have not read any of his books but I will now from your comments and everyone else above. Seems like a good man from the video.

  9. Haven’t heard of him either – but I’ve got the book on hold at the public library now. Looking forward to it.

  10. passage from the book is very beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Very humble man.

  12. What inspiring passages you quote here, David. I’m now inspired to read the whole book.

  13. class and emotion – very powerful

  14. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are in the midst of a great Thanksgiving weekend!

  15. Putting this one on my Christmas list – thank you David!!

  16. Thanks you so much for sharing, despite my tears in watching it… What a talent, and a gentle_man.


  1. [...] I was introduced to Bryce Courtenay’s book The Power of One by David Kanigan, at Lead.Learn.Live.  Somehow, I missed that book and it is now on my Christmas shopping list.  In his blog, David [...]

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