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Benjamin Franklin was in his early twenties when he embarked on a bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection,” intending to master the virtues of temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility. He soon gave up on perfection but continued to believe that these virtues, coupled with a generous heart and a bemused acceptance of human frailty, laid the foundation for not only a good life but also a workable society.
Writer and visual artist Teresa Jordan wondered if Franklin’s perhaps antiquated notions of virtue might offer guidance to a nation increasingly divided by angry righteousness. She decided to try to live his list for a year, focusing on each virtue for a week at a time and taking weekends off to attend to the seven deadly sins.
The journal she kept became this collection of beautifully illustrated essays, weaving personal anecdotes with the views of theologians, philosophers, ethicists, evolutionary biologists, and a whole range of scholars and scientists within the emerging field of consciousness studies.
Teresa Jordan offers a wry and intimate journey into a year in midlife devoted to the challenge of trying to live authentically.
Teresa Jordan was raised as part of the fourth generation on a cattle ranch in the Iron Mountain country of southeast Wyoming and has written or edited seven books about Western rural life, culture, and the environment, including the memoir Riding the White Horse Home and the classic study of women on ranches and in the rodeo, Cowgirls: Women of the American West. The recipient of the Western Heritage Award from the Cowboy Hall of Fame for scriptwriting and a literary fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts as well as many other literary awards, her most recent book is Fieldnotes from Yosemite, the second volume in her series of Sketchbook Expeditions.