The Kickstart Story Part 2: Debating

February 8, 2008

When Andrew first raised the issue of writing what eventually became Kickstart, we spoke of interviewing “successful” Canadians. The problem with the conversation that we had thereafter was the problem with most conversations that anyone ever has: because we all possess and work with different definitions of the words we use to converse with one another, people are rarely speaking about the same thing, even when they think they are.

Just as we’d disagreed about ‘Rock n’ Roll Star’, so too did we disagree with what “success” meant. Should we interview the richest people in Canada, the most famous people in Canada, the “best” (I think we were talking about humanitarians) people in Canada or the “most balanced” (again, what on earth does that mean?) people in Canada? Was someone who happily worked away at their modest job for forty years as “successful” as someone who made millions but hoarded it like Scrooge and ruined all sense of familial balance in the process?

It was tough going. We fought. And in the end, it became clear that the best way to proceed was to simply approach those we respected – people who, regardless of precisely how much money they made, had left what we saw as a positive mark on their communities.

As a result, there’s a very good chance that you won’t agree with the picks we made. You may hate them in fact. But do keep in mind that the three of us are very different people. Our politics and personal values diverge in places. Kickstart reflects this. It is nothing if not diverse. It contains those on both sides of the political spectrum (mainly because we, like many, think that old thing needs to be tossed out by the curb). It contains those who’ve been successful in business, humanitarian areas, the arts, sports, and politics. A dinner party featuring those contained in this book would be a remarkable thing, but one no doubt characterised by colourful and zealous debate on core issues.

In many ways, picking who to approach was one of the most enjoyable parts of working on Kickstart – it gave us each a chance to think long and hard about what values we believed in.

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