The Society of Timid Souls: or, How To Be Brave

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The Society of Timid Souls: or, How To Be Brave
320 pages
The Gist: In 1942, a group of musicians banded together to face down their horrible stage fright. Inspired by this "Society of Timid Souls," writer Polly Morland decides to look at what she describes as our contemporary failure of the "collective nerve" in which the media has surrendered to "a taxonomy of terror: the planet warming, the bankers squandering, the terrorists bomb-making, the pedophile lying-in-wait." To combat it, she investigates the most ordinary and extraordinary of heroes: an elderly woman who threw herself into the path of an attacking Rottweiler to save a baby, a middle-age traveler whose hotel was leveled by an earthquake and who dug out her fellow guest, a mother who gives herself a Caesarean section in order to save her baby, as well as talks to whistle-blowers and free climbers. Are we born courageous or is it learned, she wonders. Her final conclusion, however, may just make you realize that you can always be what Morland calls a "Brave Soul."

Bullfighting Revelation We All Need to Have: "An injury is a medal."  

Advice From a Firefighter That We All Need to Follow: "Never run [to an emergency] because by the time you get there you won't have had the time to think what to do...Walk toward the problem and confront it."