What a special treat it was for me to have my first book party for THE IMAGINATIONS OF UNREASONABLE MEN at Boston’s Pucker Gallerty, which played such a critical role in the development of my thinking about the book. A year ago I was invited to speak there about the work of the artist and potter Brother Thomas. It was just at the time I thought I was struggling to finish the book. I was actually struggling to start it. I’d spent five years following a man named Steve Hoffman who was trying to invent a vaccine to eliminate malaria, which kills about one million kids in Africa every year. I wanted to write about how you solve problems that affect people so voiceless and marginalized that there are no markets for solving them. These are the toughest problems of all to solve.
I didn’t quite have a handle on what was so different about Steve, until, thanks to Bernie, I learned about Brother Thomas. And learned that he has broken 1100 of the first 1200 pots he threw. And understood that for Brother Thomas, good was not good enough. And that for Steve when it came to vaccines that protected 50% of the children immunized, but let the other 50% become gravely ill, good was not good enough. In the DNA of every great achievement is a gene encoded with the instruction that good is not good enough. It was in this that I saw such a strong connection to our work at Share Our Strength trying to end childhood hunger.