Former president Jimmy Carter is the author of 19 books, including a best-selling memoir, An Hour Before Daylight, and a novel, The Hornet's Nest. The former president talks about his latest, Sharing Good Times, which he calls a departure from his more serious non-fiction works. Carter, an evangelical Christian, also discusses the role of faith in the presidency and weighs in on the future of a struggling Democratic party.
Read an excerpt from Carter's new book Sharing Good Times:
In the past, I have written about history, political science, religion, the technique of negotiation, outdoor experiences, a novel about the Revolutionary War, a book of poetry, and a presidential memoir — all fairly serious subjects. This book is about the more challenging, relaxing, and enjoyable experiences that I have known — both at work and at play. I have described personal hobbies, excursions to exotic places, political campaigns, volunteer work, fishing, skiing, climbing mountains, baseball, family vacations, and simply relaxed days and nights with little to do except exchange memories and ideas with family and friends across the years and across generations.
Few of these adventures have been especially newsworthy, and I still enjoy some of them in solitude, but the main lesson I have struggled to learn is that the experiences are more deep and lasting sources of pleasure when they are shared with others.
It has not been easy for me to accept this fact. Perhaps like most other people, I have had to overcome a self-centered inclination to live on my own terms, sometimes obsessed with intense ambition, bringing others into the private recesses of my life only reluctantly. I've come to realize that even my loved ones and I could enjoy the same event without really sharing the essence of it, and that it takes a lot of effort to sense and accommodate the desires of others in a generous way. This lifetime of learning has paid rich dividends, for me and for those with whom I have learned to really share.
I hope that these personal experiences will prove to be a practical and inspirational guide to anyone desiring to stretch mind and heart, to combine work and pleasure, and to reach out to others.