No Greatness Without Goodness

The first thing that got my attention about this book was the title, “No Greatness Without Goodness”, the second thing was that it’s a story of a father’s love for his autistic son and how this love brought Greatness With Goodness!  The last thing, I have a nephew who is autistic, and this book resonated in me.  Lewis’s story teaches that we need to concentrate on what can be done, instead of what cannot be done.

Randy Lewis is a retired vice president of Walgreens and his book tells the story of how he introduced an inclusive model in Walgreens distribution centers that resulted in 10 percent of its workforce being staffed by people with disabilities.  Employees that despite having disabilities, are held to the same standards of those without disabilities.  What he accomplished, what all involved accomplished, has changed the lives of thousands and serves as the example that with great power comes great responsibility.

Lewis’s passion for hiring those with disabilities came from his love for his son Austin who was born with Autism.  Lewis and his wife Kay wondered what kind of life lay ahead for Austin.  Lewis writes, “Our dreams for our second child were of the ordinary kind – baseball, Cub Scouts, model airplanes – but we would soon learn that this was no ordinary child.  None of those childhood pleasures were to be his.  Instead, he was to be my catalyst, my inspiration, and my goad.  He would compel me toward action that I never would have thought possible.”

Lewis’s shares the sometimes painful, but also joyful experience of raising a child with autism.  It was Chapter 4, Finding Gold in Dark Places, that I could really relate to.  Lewis writes, “Our son has never spontaneously said he loves us.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t – he just communicates love in a different way.”  I can relate!  He also writes, “He (Austin) began to create new combinations of words to describe things, which we referred to as “Austinisms”.  Orange spring for fall. “Sky flowers” for fireworks.  “Walking rock” for turtle.  Others were more self-explanatory, such as “bottom sneeze.”  Lewis reminds us that we need to look deeper, even into the troubles.  There is gold to be found everywhere.

As I read this book, and how determined Lewis was to make a difference, to do good work, one of my favorite bible verses, in fact my life verse, kept coming to mind.  “I am doing a great work and I can not come down.” Nehemiah 6:3

Nothing, absolutely nothing kept Lewis from what he deemed his mission, hiring the disabled and giving them what we all desire, want and need, the sense of belonging, that we all have value, that sense of feeling that we are wanted, needed and that we each make a difference.

What Randy Lewis did is amazing.  Greatness is not measured by the result but in the attempt.  As writer Beryl Markham observed seventy years ago in her masterpiece West with the Night, “If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work.”  Lewis’s ledger is quite impressive.

5 out of 5 stars!  Get the book HERE!

You can read an excerpt of the book HERE

I am blessed to have received a copy of this book for free from Tyndale Publishers for review purposes.  I received no other compensation and the review is my own honest opinion of the book.


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