Happiness and the Good Life: An Introduction to Aristotle

As we exit the cave, we find ourselves asking the questions of life.

Who am I? What was I meant to do?

In the journey of our education, we might be fortunate enough to meet, become friends with, or perhaps a scholar of Aristotle. We have been students in search of a mentor and Aristotle is a perfect choice.

Aristotle (384-322 B.C) is considered to have been one of the greatest philosophers to have ever lived. His contributions to human understanding extended to science, logic and relationships as well. Aristotle was a pupil of Plato at the Academy and was said to have called him the intellect of the school. He was teacher and tutor to Alexander the Great and eventually established a school called the Lyceum. He is arguably the greatest written voice on Happiness and The Good Life.

In the world outside the cave, Aristotle is a worthy mentor indeed. One of the most powerful concepts he can teach us comes from his book Nicomachean Ethics. Here Aristotle asks, What is happiness or the good life? How will I know when I am happy? How do I define happiness or goodness?

Happiness comes from the Greek word eudaimonia which means having a good spirit or soul. Another way to describe this is to be in a state of flourishing or psychological well-being. Aristotle’s work led him to the conclusion that an excellent life (which would be akin to a virtuous life) is one that is lived well and beautifully. He taught that virtuous character is what makes happiness possible.

Often people will ask me, “What is the goal of education at your academy?” It is Aristotelean and I would summarize it as producing good citizens and great souls. We desire to inspire scholars to moral character and virtue. And what is virtue? “Moral goodness; the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice or a conformity of life and conversation to the moral law.” (Websters 1828 Dictionary)

Such an education produces people of virtue, thinkers, heroes, and statesmen/women. Regarding virtue, my son Joseph once said to me, “I just sharpened this knife. It now has virtue. Because it is sharp it can cut things well, and has virtue, which is what it was created for and meant to do.” So, what were you meant to do? Let’s allow Aristotle to guide us.

In his 1828 dictionary Noah Webster defined happiness this way, “The agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good.” And from the same source, the definition of good is “Having moral qualities best adapted to its design and use or the qualities which God’s law requires;……conformable to the moral law; virtuous as applied to actions.”

Aristotle says, the primary goal of life is “to aim as some good; and the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.” (Nicomachean Ethics Book I, Chapter I)

So what is that good and happiest life? Aristotle reviews some primary contenders for this definition which include pleasure, wealth, and honor. While these can be desirable and good, many are fleeting or temporary. He suggests these may contribute to happiness, but such conditions must be connected to moral virtue, character, and doing the good to bring a full measure and complete happiness.

And what are these virtues that can bring us the right outcome and lasting joy? These are known as “cardinal” virtues, or put another way, “kardinálios” which is the Greek word for “hinge.” These are the four primary virtues on which happiness may pivot: couragetemperancejustice, and prudence.

I have always enjoyed the insight by C.S. Lewis that all virtues begin with courage. “Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.” Or as Winston Churchill said, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.”

Aristotle encourages us to find the “golden mean” of our virtues, meaning the middle way. Too much courage can make us reckless, too little can make us cowards. Too much justice can make us unmerciful, too little can bring rampant disregard for law. Too little temperance produces a glutton, too much may produce callousness. And with prudence using too much or too little deliberation may affect the timeliness, fidelity and best outcome of an action. The “golden mean” is about balance in using all four virtues to make decisions and develop our character. The golden mean applies to each virtue. It teaches us that any virtue taken to extreme may become a vice. As we cultivate these gifts into habits and character we are deemed to possess them as virtues.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

―Ralph Waldo Emerson

Benjamin Franklin loved the acquisition of virtues so much he even made a chart to mark and track his progress. Each day of the week was on the horizontal axis and on the vertical axis were his desired thirteen virtues. He noted the difficulty of improvement and change with this story.

A man buying an ax wanted the speckled surface to be as bright as the edge. The smith consented to grind it bright if he would turn the wheel of the grinding stone. The grinding was grueling. Fatigue set in, and the man suggested he would keep the ax as it was. “No,” said the smith, “turn on, turn on; we shall have it bright by-and-by; as yet, it is only speckled.” Franklin observed, “this may have been the case with many, who having, for want of some such means as I employed, found the difficulty of obtaining good and breaking bad habits in other points of vice and virtue, have given up the struggle, and concluded a speckled ax was best.” (Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Harvard Classics pg. 78-82)

It is in the observation of others as mentors and heroes that we can desire to acquire the four cardinal or other moral virtues Franklin suggested.

Having left the cave and having met Aristotle you are ready for the wisdom of the ages. Consider reading Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics with 13 chapters (it is less than 20 pages). Another worthy text is The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin or Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American SlaveWatch for virtues and themes that liberate and bring happiness in these books.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

These are strange and even fairy tale-like times in which we live. Hans Christian Andersen was a 19th Century Danish author who shared many lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity through stories and fairy tales.

I have pondered a lot the last year and have wondered what will be the new “normal”? Will science and reason ever intersect and produce common sense again? Or are we relegated to aristocratic experts telling us what is truth enforced by an ever growing and powerful bureaucracy?

Does Anderson’s parable ring true to you at this moment? In what ways?




Written by Hans Christian Andersen

Translation by Jean Hersholt

Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared nothing about reviewing his soldiers, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The King’s in council,” here they always said. “The Emperor’s in his dressing room.”

In the great city where he lived, life was always happy. Every day many strangers came to town, and among them one day came two swindlers. They let it be known they were weavers, and they said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.

“Those would be just the clothes for me,” thought the Emperor. “If I wore them I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get some of the stuff woven for me right away.” He paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once.

They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing on the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread which they demanded went into their traveling bags, while they worked the empty looms far into the night.

“I’d like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth,” the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the fabric. It couldn’t have been that he doubted himself, yet he thought he’d rather send someone else to see how things were going. The whole town knew about the cloth’s peculiar power, and all were impatient to find out how stupid their neighbors were.

“I’ll send my honest old minister to the weavers,” the Emperor decided. “He’ll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he’s a sensible man and no one does his duty better.”

So the honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat working away at their empty looms.

“Heaven help me,” he thought as his eyes flew wide open, “I can’t see anything at all”. But he did not say so.

Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn’t see anything, because there was nothing to see. “Heaven have mercy,” he thought. “Can it be that I’m a fool? I’d have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would never do to let on that I can’t see the cloth.”

“Don’t hesitate to tell us what you think of it,” said one of the weavers.

“Oh, it’s beautiful -it’s enchanting.” The old minister peered through his spectacles. “Such a pattern, what colors!” I’ll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I am with it.”

“We’re pleased to hear that,” the swindlers said. They proceeded to name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The old minister paid the closest attention, so that he could tell it all to the Emperor. And so he did.

The swindlers at once asked for more money, more silk and gold thread, to get on with the weaving. But it all went into their pockets. Not a thread went into the looms, though they worked at their weaving as hard as ever.

The Emperor presently sent another trustworthy official to see how the work progressed and how soon it would be ready. The same thing happened to him that had happened to the minister. He looked and he looked, but as there was nothing to see in the looms he couldn’t see anything.

“Isn’t it a beautiful piece of goods?” the swindlers asked him, as they displayed and described their imaginary pattern.

“I know I’m not stupid,” the man thought, “so it must be that I’m unworthy of my good office. That’s strange. I mustn’t let anyone find it out, though.” So he praised the material he did not see. He declared he was delighted with the beautiful colors and the exquisite pattern. To the Emperor he said, “It held me spellbound.”

All the town was talking of this splendid cloth, and the Emperor wanted to see it for himself while it was still in the looms. Attended by a band of chosen men, among whom were his two old trusted officials-the ones who had been to the weavers-he set out to see the two swindlers. He found them weaving with might and main, but without a thread in their looms.

“Magnificent,” said the two officials already duped. “Just look, Your Majesty, what colors! What a design!” They pointed to the empty looms, each supposing that the others could see the stuff.

“What’s this?” thought the Emperor. “I can’t see anything. This is terrible!

Am I a fool? Am I unfit to be the Emperor? What a thing to happen to me of all people! – Oh! It’s very pretty,” he said. “It has my highest approval.” And he nodded approbation at the empty loom. Nothing could make him say that he couldn’t see anything.

His whole retinue stared and stared. One saw no more than another, but they all joined the Emperor in exclaiming, “Oh! It’s very pretty,” and they advised him to wear clothes made of this wonderful cloth especially for the great procession he was soon to lead. “Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!” were bandied from mouth to mouth, and everyone did his best to seem well pleased. The Emperor gave each of the swindlers a cross to wear in his buttonhole, and the title of “Sir Weaver.”

Before the procession the swindlers sat up all night and burned more than six candles, to show how busy they were finishing the Emperor’s new clothes. They pretended to take the cloth off the loom. They made cuts in the air with huge scissors. And at last they said, “Now the Emperor’s new clothes are ready for him.”

Then the Emperor himself came with his noblest noblemen, and the swindlers each raised an arm as if they were holding something. They said, “These are the trousers, here’s the coat, and this is the mantle,” naming each garment. “All of them are as light as a spider web. One would almost think he had nothing on, but that’s what makes them so fine.”

“Exactly,” all the noblemen agreed, though they could see nothing, for there was nothing to see.

“If Your Imperial Majesty will condescend to take your clothes off,” said the swindlers, “we will help you on with your new ones here in front of the long mirror.”

The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on him, one garment after another. They took him around the waist and seemed to be fastening something – that was his train-as the Emperor turned round and round before the looking glass.

“How well Your Majesty’s new clothes look. Aren’t they becoming!” He heard on all sides, “That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so suitable! It is a magnificent outfit.”

Then the minister of public processions announced: “Your Majesty’s canopy is waiting outside.”

“Well, I’m supposed to be ready,” the Emperor said, and turned again for one last look in the mirror. “It is a remarkable fit, isn’t it?” He seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest.

The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high. They didn’t dare admit they had nothing to hold.

So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, “Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s new clothes! Don’t they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

“But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said.

“Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.”

“But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last.

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.

Stepping Outside the Cave: Your Turn

Remember our big question last week? Have you decided to leave the cave? How did you respond?

Here is a quote that hit me squarely between the eyes several years ago.

All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education. —Sir Walter Scott

My wife Linda and I have been asked if we founded John Adams Academy to “fix” education. The answer is NO! The academy was inspired by a desire to remedy our own educational deficits and inspire virtue and character through education. In other words, to fix ourselves

If you were to step back in time twenty years, you would see that I had prestigious degrees from prominent universities. I also had numerous professional designations. But I did not have an education.

It was during a seminar entitled “Face to Face with Greatness” taught by Oliver DeMille, an inspiring and influential teacher in my life, that I realized I was undereducated. In the seminar, Dr. DeMille spoke  of the founding fathers, of the writings of great philosophers and of the exceptional education of Thomas Jefferson. While there, it struck me how selfless and publicly-minded the Founding Fathers  were. They left their homes and businesses to build on the principles of natural law: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and that all men are created equal. They felt so strongly about those principles that they freely pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Would I do the same? How could I? I didn’t have the depth or breadth of education to inspire others.  

One of the closely held personal beliefs I dispelled that day was that Dr. DeMille could educate me. But he could inspire me, and he did. From that point forward I decided to educate myself.

I embarked on this personal educational journey twenty years ago, and yet I have still only just begun. Great teachers inspire, scholars educate. Education happens when we get excited about what we are learning and then share it. 

My mentor Dr. DeMille put it this way:

There are two types of great teachers which consistently motivate scholar-driven education: Mentors and Classics. Mentors (parents and teachers) meet face-to-face with the student, inspiring through the transfer of knowledge, the force of personality, and individual attention. Classics were created by other great teachers to be experienced in books, art, music, and other media. Any system of education which attempts to separate the student from the teachers, classics and mentors, will be less inspiring and therefore less effective—fewer scholars will choose to seek an education and those who do will be less likely to follow through.

—Oliver DeMille, A Thomas Jefferson Education

The Classics 

From Aristotle to Montesquieu and Locke to Adams, great individuals studied other great individuals. A classic is a work that can be experienced many times over and give something new each time. A classic or great book has four essential qualities: a great theme, noble language, universality and they represent the greatest virtues of a given civilization at its apex.

Classics open our eyes to the true nature of our world and take us across the divide that separates one mind from another. They reveal to us our essential humanity, its beauty and its horror, and they hold a mirror up to our unknown selves. With a message of truth that echoes in our lives long after we’ve turned the final page, a true classic speaks to the heart and soul.

Classics teach us about human nature. They allow us to experience in an intimate way the greatest mistakes and successes of human history. Understanding how others think, feel and act allows us to predict behavior and helps us develop empathy, compassion, and wisdom in our relationships with others.

Classics bring us face-to-face with greatness. As we study the characters, real or fictional, we are inspired by their greatness, which is the first step to becoming great ourselves.

Reading gives us powerful insight into our fellow humans. In classics we can live inside the character. We experience his or her thoughts, feelings, motivations and consequences as they do. Classics force us to quietly study, ponder, analyze, ask, discover, cry, laugh, struggle, feel, and above all, become.

Because we are then better individuals, we are motivated to go out and serve others.

Great literature is miraculous because it makes available to us things that we cannot get in any other way. A classic gives us the personal wisdom to be better as an individual and a citizen of a free nation.

The Mentor 

Let’s look at Thomas Jefferson. How was Jefferson educated? We know he was orphaned at the age of 14. How could a young man in those circumstances leave the cave?

Despite his challenges he spoke of a day that changed his life May 29th, 1765. Jefferson attended a debate on the Stamp Act by Patrick Henry. He said of that day, “I attended the debate standing at the door of the lobby of the House of Burgesses and heard the splendid display of Mr. Henry’s talents as a popular orator. They were great indeed, such as I have never heard from any other man. He appeared to me to speak as Homer wrote.” (National Archive)

Jefferson later said that day kindled a flame in his soul that sent a surge of fervor for freedom and justice in him. That flame burned bright the rest of his days. Shortly thereafter, he found a mentor in law school by the name of George Wythe. So impactful is the role of mentor in an education, Jefferson would later say of him, “Mr. Wythe continued to be my faithful and beloved Mentor in youth, and my most affectionate friend through life.”(National Archive)

Jefferson placed a high value on his education calling it “my great good fortune, and what probably fixed the destinies of my life.” (National Archive)

The Outcome

Jefferson’s objective was to receive an education, not necessarily a degree. In fact, he thought degrees were pretentious. His was the scholar-driven education DeMille lauds. Jefferson was drawn to the classics and mentored by other committed scholars.

What was the outcome of this education? Later in Jefferson’s life he would be described as such:

When he spoke of the law I thought he was a lawyer, when he talked about mechanics I was sure he was an engineer, when he got into medicine it was evident he was a physician, when he discussed theology I was convinced he must be a clergyman, when he talked of literature I made up my mind I had run up against a college professor that knew everything.

— From The Making of America, Cleon Skousen

Questions to ponder: 

How valuable can an educated person be to the world, America and his fellow man?

Who is your mentor?

What are your classics?

Did you pick a classic and begin?

Have you begun your rendezvous with the classics?

Your journey should include your children or a mentor and read/discuss it with them. 

What are you learning? Find a mentor. Be a mentor to someone else. Pick a classic, read and discuss it with them. Anything less may not draw out the latent genius and excellence in yourself or others.


Stepping Outside the Cave: The Education of Frederick Douglass

“Some men know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.”

—Frederick Douglass, Blessings of Liberty and Education

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. In 1826, he was given to the Auld Family and moved to the city of Baltimore. It was here that young Frederick began reading and writing lessons taught by his mistress Sophia Auld. Sophia, young and unfamiliar with the culture of slave-ownership, didn’t even realize that she was breaking the law with her lessons.

Sophia’s husband, Hugh, forbade any further education to be given to the young Frederick, not just because it was against the law but for why it was against the law. An educated slave will become dissatisfied with his condition and desire to be free. Hugh scolded her, “if you teach a slave how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave…..and of no value to his master…..it would make him discontented and unhappy.”

Frederick overheard the exchange and recalled, “These words sank deep into my heart, stirred up sentiments within that lay slumbering, and called into existence an entirely new train of thought. It was a new and special revelation….I now understood what had been to me a most perplexing difficulty—to wit the white man’s power to enslave the black man. It was a grand achievement and I prized it highly. From that moment I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom….what he (my master) so warmly urged, against my learning to read, only served to inspire me with a desire and determination to learn.”

Douglass would later find his way to freedom and become a powerful voice in the abolitionist movement. But he did not stop there. He also used his vocabulary, voice and influence for the rights of others, including women and the poor. Douglass was guided by his experience, morals and values and he saw connection as the best way to affect change in the world and in his country. Later in life he would become an influential statesman. He valued the American system of government and the ways that it caused leaders with differing ideologies to come together under the US Constitution for the consideration and benefit of all its citizens. He insisted that America must live up to her ideals.

Douglass’ legacy in American history is firm. And to think it all started with a simple reading lesson. Literacy was Douglass’ way out of bondage, education was Douglass’ way out of the cave.

I invite you to use Douglass’ seminal autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave as a stepping stone out of your cave.


This month we are focusing on how learning frees us. We are excited to announce our first Revolution Study Group. On October 12th you can join us online to discuss excerpted sections from the powerful autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

Leading a Revolution in Education will be giving away copies in anticipation. We will be announcing the sections that we will cover in our group discussion and other pertinent details soon.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is an important piece of American literature. It will inspire gratitude for the teachers in your life who brought you where you are today. And it will compel you to interminable education.

Come read with us. Save the date of October 12, 2021 with more details to follow.

The Allegory of the Cave: An Introduction

Has your education taken you to where you want to be?

Years ago, one of my friends wrote the following regarding modern education: 

“We can take loving care to build a staircase. It can be a labor that absorbs us and is extremely satisfying to our soul. Our workmanship can be the finest possible. It can be admired far and wide for the quality of the design and the elegance of its structure. But when we ascend the staircase, does it take us where we want to go? Or did we build it to take us to a room we would not want to visit very often?”

The epiphany resulting from this question sent me on my own educational odyssey. I went looking for the answer. 


In the Spring of 2000, I attended a “Face to Face with Greatness” seminar where I was exposed to a new book, A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille. I read the book and immediately decided how inadequate my own education was. To overcome this deficit, I needed to change what I read and how I used my time. DeMille wrote something else that especially resonated with me. He said, “You will only be as free as what you know.”

I needed more education.

The Greeks knew and taught that education and virtue were the two things that would allow a people to self-govern.

“The Cave” is an allegory taught by Socrates and recounted by Plato in The Republic. Plato describes metaphorically the predicament in which mankind finds itself. Inherent in that predicament is the question of who should rule. He proposes a solution that entails discipline and rigorous education.


The Allegory of the Cave is meant to illustrate the degrees to which our nature may be enlightened or unenlightened. Imagine a group of people living in a cavernous chamber underground with an entrance open to the light and a long passage into the  cave. They have been, from childhood, chained by the leg and by the neck so that they cannot move. They can see only what is in front of them because the chains will not allow them to turn their heads. The visual is jarring. But there is more.

Behind the prisoners there is a fire, and in front of the fire walk people carrying objects that cast shadows on the wall for the prisoners to view. The Shadows present to the prisoner a sense of the world, but the prisoners do not know any better. This is the only world they have ever known. The Shadows are their reality, even though the shadows lack any substance at all.

You and I, dear friends, can already begin to put ourselves in the position of the prisoners. We’re fixed in our minds entirely on that wall of the cave. We see only shadows, yet we think we are seeing reality. We don’t have a sense of being chained, so we don’t even perceive the people next to us. We take comfort in and accept as truth everything in front of us. It is the only “reality” we have ever known.

Socrates managed to “get out of the cave” through education. He later returns to help others get the same kind of learning by critical inquiry or “Socratic Dialogue.” Returning to the cave is the essence of leadership and the ability to govern. However, the cave inhabitants, not understanding and upset by his words, seek to destroy him. 

Outside of the allegory, the real-life Socrates was sentenced to drink hemlock in 399 B.C. Not all inhabitants are ready to be shown new perspectives, even if those perspectives are of a higher truth.

But I was ready. Humbled by the task before me, knowing that there was much to learn… but eager.


Robert M. Hutchins put it this way, “The aim of liberal education is human excellence, both private and public… its object is the excellence of man as man and man as a citizen.” The more I learned, the more I wanted the education of great citizens and souls. I wanted the education of a free man. As I grew in learning I became invigorated discussing great ideas with my wife and children. The quality of our family time was directly impacted for the better.

You may be thinking, “Isn’t reading a classic book something that sounds good, but you never actually do it?” However, as I worked through them page by page, I entered into “The Great Conversation.” 

What is my purpose? 

What does life expect of me? 

Why am I here? 

I intrinsically brought these thinkers and heroes to my children in the car, on vacations, at the dinner table and before bed at night.

As I became acquainted with great books and minds, I discovered a new hunger for learning that I could not satisfy. The learning and light outside the cave were exhilarating, abundant and joyous. I was throwing off the shackles of bondage in a dark cave for a bright new world of truth, beauty, and goodness that answered my questions. I was now going in and out of the cave, inviting others to see what I had discovered.


Now that I have introduced you to the Allegory of the Cave, I invite you to continue into the light with me and discover your genius and excellence. There are some discussion questions below. Assess the gaps in your own education. Are there “classics” that you aspire to read? Join us in the comments to share how books and ideas from great minds you’ve studied have changed your worldview. What have you learned? What do you hope to learn still? 

●     What or who has inspired you to pursue greater learning?

●     Who would you consider listing among the greatest minds you’ve ever encountered in history or literature?

●     How do you think expanding your own education will impact you, your family, and your community at large?

●     Where should you begin?


This blog’s purpose

My name is Dean Forman and I am thrilled that you have found me here. I’ve titled this site Leading a Revolution in Education because the right education has the power to lead change in a person, a community, and a country. 

I am passionate about our beautiful country and the liberties we enjoy. I don’t believe that those liberties are a given for future generations unless we are committed as citizens now to understand them and to protect them.

This website is dedicated to sharing the principles of an American Classical Leadership Education® with its readers so that more citizens can benefit from the truth, virtue and wisdom of the past.

This site is dedicated to learning, discovery, discussion, and ultimately acting. Together we will travel back in time to dive deep into the minds of the most important philosophers, authors, and leaders to have ever lived. I have spent years of my life studying their words. The truths I’ve learned have inspired and changed me, and I know they will change you, too.

In addition to looking back, we will examine the events of this moment in time. There are things happening in our world and country that demand our immediate attention. The wisdom and virtues of the works from the past will inform the actions that we can take together to preserve our current liberties.

Share this site with a friend or close family member. We will learn here. We will be edified together. 

And if this all sounds a little heady, don’t worry. We will have a little fun as well with contests, prizes, and plenty of connection and interaction with new friends. 

Your friend,

Dean Forman