I've had a delightful experience this past week reading Justice Sonia Sotomayor's recently published memoir. It is entitled My Beloved World.
She begins the book with these remarks in the Preface:
Since my appointment to the Supreme Court, I have spoken to a wide variety of groups in different settings, answering all sorts of questions. Many people, predictably, have asked about the law, the Court, and my journey as a judge. But many more, to my surprise, have asked about my personal story, curious to know how I had managed and been shaped by various circumstances in my early life, especially the ones that didn't naturally promise success.
The book is wonderfully insightful, extremely well written and will ring familiar notes for many of us. As an example, when discussing getting involved with certain groups at Princeton during her undergraduate years, she stated:
Quiet pragmatism, of course, lacks the romance of vocal militancy. But I felt myself more a mediator than a crusader. My strengths were reasoning, crafting compromises, finding the good and the good faith on both sides of an argument, and using that to build a bridge. Always, my first question was, what's the goal? And then, who must be persuaded if it is to be accomplished? A respectful dialogue with one's opponent almost invariably goes further than a harangue outside his or her window. If you want to change someone's mind, you must understand what need shapes his or her opinion. To prevail, you must first listen--that eternal lesson of Forensics Club!
Great advice for those in the courtroom, the conference room or the family room. Read it. I promise you you'll enjoy it.