Book Review | Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country

Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country by Senator Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy was a blast to read. I felt like I was sitting across the table from Senator Scott and Congressman Gowdy for one of their regular weeknight dinners in DC when Congress was in session. I’ve heard a lot about Senator Scott in particular from folks who hope that he might one day run for President. Both Scott and Gowdy were so open and transparent with their own stories and how they arrived at realizing that they needed each other to learn and grow as men as well as leaders in South Carolina.

This was a great read and I highlighted several things while reading. I’ve posted those notes below:

  • One of the keys to overcoming problems in our society is finding common ground. Location: 532               
  • No matter what differences we may have with another person—social, racial, political, spiritual, ideological—if we will look for something we have in common, or something we can admire or emulate in the other person, we can always build on that. Location: 537               
  • We will change the nation only by changing the condition of the human heart. And that can only happen through love. True friendship is born out of acceptance and unconditional love—a love that is consistent and intentional.    Location: 542           
  • Pursuing unlikely friendships will require us to do things that seem uncomfortable at first. But what is hard becomes easier with practice. As we choose to do the hard things, we will soon reap the benefits.  Location: 546             
  • As a Christian, I have learned to balance my personal ambition against the things I cannot control, and to trust in God’s wisdom to guide my life.  Location: 582             
  • Through it all, our nascent friendship became an ironclad partnership tested by the fires of opportunity and success. For us, it is a partnership rooted in honesty, mutual respect, and fair dealing. It is rare, but possible, to be just as happy when something good happens to someone you care about as you would be if that something had happened to you. Location: 693               
  • Why does it take a calamity to lead us toward reconciliation? How long can reconciliation last when it is born of adversity? Why does it seem we’re wired to show the most kindness and the greatest compassion in the days following violence or disaster? Can we not capture this energy, this goodwill, this sense of inclusion, on good days as well?  Location: 966               
  • Sometimes in a friendship, we build credibility and trust not by what we say, but by what we’re willing to share. A friend can help shoulder the burden without dissecting it. Sometimes the gift of presence is worth more than a thousand words.  Location: 1,083             
  • Being there for each other is a cornerstone in any committed friendship. Imagine how much more powerful it could be across the nation if our presence, our support, and our desire to understand were applied at the very point of our differences.  Location: 1,150             
  • As we pursue mutually beneficial solutions and outcomes, honesty and candor pave the way.  Location: 1,491             
  • When I speak, the intention behind my words is important; but what the other person hears is even more important. The quality of any communication is always determined by the listener. Unless the other person understands and receives what we meant to say, we haven’t communicated effectively.               
  • If you will seek to establish an unlikely friendship with someone who differs from you, I promise you that one of two things will happen. Either you will see things from a new perspective that you’ve never considered before, and you will be changed; or you will become even more convinced, after careful reflection, that your approach to life is right and proper. Either way, you win. Location: 2,268

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