The Council of Dads
A Story of Family, Friendship & Learning How to Live
May 2010 Indie Next List
— Susan Weis, Breathe Books, Baltimore, MD
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Soon to be a major NBC primetime drama
The inspiring story that touched people all over the world, The Council of Dads is the life-changing portrait of a group of friends who offer wisdom, humor, and guidance for how to live our lives with meaning and joy. Faced with one of life’s greatest challenges, New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler reached out to six men who helped shape him and asked each one for a piece of advice for his daughters: how to live, how to travel, how to question, how to dream.
Feiler gathered their life lessons, along with a few of his own—“Always Learn to Juggle on the Side of a Hill,” “Hug the Monster,” “Take a Walk with a Turtle”—into a heartwarming, deeply enriching book that has inspired readers everywhere to start their own Councils of Moms or Dads. Full of warmth and wisdom, The Council of Dads is a singular story that offers lessons for us all—helping us draw closer to our friends, be more resourceful as parents, and celebrate what’s important in our lives.
William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780061778773, 272pp.
Publication Date: May 17, 2011
About the Author
Bruce Feiler is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including Abraham, Where God Was Born, America's Prophet, The Council of Dads, and The Secrets of Happy Families. He is a columnist for the New York Times, a popular lecturer, and a frequent commentator on radio and television. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and twin daughters.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
When they decided to create The Council of Dads, Bruce Feiler and his wife, Linda, set down a few guidelines to help them choose a circle of dads. In reading their ideas, what appealed to you? What criteria might guide you?
What parts of yourself would your Council of Dads (or Moms) embody? What values and life lessons would you want imparted to your children?
If you were to compose a letter to your prospective Council of Dads, what would you say? What ideas would you include?
Feiler writes of the men who influenced his own life. Who has been important to you? Who shaped or changed your life and what lessons did they teach with you? How can you share that insight with your own children?
In addition to a council, what other tokens of yourself might you leave for your children so they can understand who you are, how you think, what you believe, what you hope for them?
Have you, or do you, tell the people closest to you how you feel about them and what they mean to you? If not, what has stopped you? If so, how often do you tell them?
One of the traditions the Feilers cherished with their daughters was airing “what happened bad” and “what happened good” each evening at dinnertime. Think about your day, even your week. Share the bad and good with your group, your family, your friends. What does examining the events of our daily lives offer us?
The author interweaves letters from his cancer year with vignettes of his council members and important people and events from his life. How do the three narrative elements enhance each other and the story itself?
What did you discover about the author from The Council of Dads? What kind of a man is he? What does he cherish? What is his outlook on life? What matters to him? How can you apply his feelings, thoughts, and insights into your own life?
If a child asked you the question, “how should I live?” how would you answer?
Why do Americans have trouble talking—even thinking—about mortality and death? Might our lives be richer if we talked more openly and more often about the subject?
How has the nature of fatherhood—and motherhood—changed from the author’s grandfather’s generation to his own? Supplement your answer with examples from your own life.
What did Bruce Feiler learn from this experience? What did you take away from it? What affected you most in reading The Council of Dads? What inspired you?