The Circles Around Us by Brad and Kristi Montague vs Circles by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently I read Brad and Kristi Montague’s new book Circles.

Then I went and read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s old essay, also called “Circles.”

I decided to review them both by making a compare/contrast chart. I couldn’t figure out how to make it a circle, so it’s going to be a rectangle, okay?

                             

CIRCLES

CIRCLES

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1841

Written by Brad and Kristi Montague in 2021

Is about circles

Is about circles

Written by a genius, probably performed a lot by him too I dunno I wasn’t there

Written by a genius, illustrated by a genius

Has no drawings or color

Has lots of drawings in color

Can be endured aloud for about 30 minutes

Can be read in 5 minutes

No circles. You’re just expected to picture them in your head. Which is cool. You do you, Ralph.

Has 355 circles (I counted them)

English only, no greeting

Includes greetings in 36 languages!

At times incomprehensible

Comprehensible for ages 3 and up

Author goes by all 3 names, like a boss

Just first and last name for the authors

Subject: philosophical implications of the circular shape in nature  applied as metaphor of limitation, growth, and the inevitability of change

Subject: individual identity and individual growth as defined by both boundaries against others and overlapping influence of others across boundaries

talks a lot about “men” and “man”

Depicts children, women, and men (plus a few animals)

References Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Cromwell

Has an astronaut

Takes no stance either way regarding persons with disabilities

Inclusive of persons in wheelchairs

Doughs not have any donuts

Has donuts

Assumes that we are the center of our own circle

Assumes that we are the center of our own circle

Suggests that good things can happen when our spheres of influence overlap

Suggests that good things can happen when our spheres of influence overlap

Emerson said that “the life of man is a self-evolving circle, which, from a ring imperceptibly small, rushes on all sides outward to new and larger circles, and that without end.” Brad and Kristi say pretty much the same thing. At first there’s “nobody in this circle but you.” But “there’s a difference we can make and a love we can all show…for the rest of our days.”

I mean, sometimes “our moods do not believe in each other,” and other times “a man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.”

And you gotta grow sometime, right? So read both the book and the essay if you have that kind of time, but if you have to pick one, definitely pick the colorful book.

The takeaway:

Draw a new circle.” “Let’s create bigger circles!”

Check out Brad and Kristi Montague’s new book on Amazon!

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