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Legion of Peace
20 Paths to Super Happiness
By Kabir Sehgal
By Monica Yunus
By Camille Zamora
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Format:Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
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Nobel Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus profiles 20 Nobel Peace Prize laureates with Multi-Grammy-winning producer and New York Times bestselling author Kabir Sehgal, Monica Yunus, and Camille Zamora, teaching readers to incorporate lessons from each laureate’s life into their own.
When Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred B. Nobel passed in 1896, he left several millions in his will to establish the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded annually in six concentrations: peace, literature, physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and economic science. Since its establishment, there have been over 130 Nobel Peace laureates selected, each bringing his/her own unique experiences and lessons forward as an example to others.
In LEGION OF PEACE, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Kabir Sehgal, Monica Yunus, and Camille Zamora profile 20 prize recipients in a narrative accompanied by songs inspired by these great leaders, composed by Grammy-nominated children’s artist Lori Henriques Quintet and three-time Grammy-nominated pianist Joey Alexander.
Through this lyrical narrative, the authors share stories of these laureates’ seemingly ordinary actions that transformed their lives and communities. The authors assign a superpower to each laureate that exemplifies the one basic principle that guided their actions, demonstrating to readers that all people from vastly different backgrounds can be connected by a common thread to come together to form a legion of peace.
Legion of Peace
Songs Inspired by Nobel Laureates
Lori Henriques Quintet, featuring Joey Alexander with Muhammad Yunus
1. Introduction by Muhammad Yunus
2. Prelude to “Imagine the World”
3. “Imagine the World,” inspired by Muhammad Yunus
4. “Child of the Soil,” inspired by Wangari Maathai
5. Prelude to “We Wore White”
6. “We Wore White,” inspired by Leymah Gbowee
7. “Everything You Do,” inspired by Jody Williams
8. Prelude to “A Kinder Way”
9. “A Kinder Way,” inspired by Jimmy Carter
10. “High Time,” inspired by Ralph Bunche
11. Prelude to “Brave as a Girl”
12. “Brave as a Girl,” inspired by Malala Yousafzai
13. “A Human Is a Human,” inspired by Desmond Tutu
I never imagined that I would be a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In fact, growing up in Chittagong, Bangladesh, the last thing I would have ever pictured was that one day I would be standing on an enormous stage in Oslo, Norway, the eyes of the world upon me as I accepted the Nobel Prize for Peace.
As one of nine children, I learned early on to be aware of those around me. Playing, running, laughing, learning, arguing, and adventuring with my brothers and sisters, I quickly developed my own interests and identity, even as I was ever-mindful of the needs of others. I learned to go with the flow even as I pursued my own passions: reading and dreaming of travel—a dream realized through the Boy Scouts and, later, as a Fulbright Scholar in the United States.
After seven years studying and teaching in the United States, I returned to Bangladesh and joined the faculty of Chittagong University. Traveling to teach my classes every day, I would pass through poor villages. That’s where everything changed for me. My story, and the evolution of the microfinance movement, is told in chapter fourteen.
I want to see a world in which our children and grandchildren will have to go to museums to see what poverty is like, because poverty will have vanished from civilized human society. This will happen because we’ll open up the selfless part of ourselves, which has been blocked by the present economic system. Solving problems—problems of people around us, and problems created by us for the planet—is in our DNA.
I envision a world in which we all realize this vital truth: Making money is a happiness, and that’s a fine incentive, but making other people happy is a super happiness, a super incentive. An economic system that takes into consideration the needs and rights of all people allows for tremendous individual and communal satisfaction. It is a joyful, smart, sustainable approach to business, and to life. And we wouldn’t want to miss out on this super happiness in our lives.
I often refer to myself as a “compulsive optimist.” I am a firm believer in the element of active hope that can turn dreams into reality. I sincerely believe that everyone can become super happy by doing simple, powerful things to make the world a better place. Each and every person has this capacity. We can create social businesses—that is, businesses that address people’s problems rather than making money for personal gain only—to solve the problems of unemployment, provide financial services to the poor, eliminate poverty, move people out of welfare, recycle waste, provide safe water, protect the environment, etc., and, of course, we can share a song and brighten someone’s day. The possibilities are as infinite as our imaginations.
In Legion of Peace: 20 Paths to Super Happiness, we offer examples of people who have done simple but amazing things that have made an impact on the world. These stories of active hope may inspire you to take action—because when you do something for someone else, you can achieve super happiness. This super happiness will encourage you to take the next step, and then the next one, doing even more to solve the problems around us. Always imagine big, but don’t be afraid to start small. Just take that first step. This is the way to create a joyful, powerful Legion of Peace.
Father of microcredit and social business
2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate
Wonder Woman. Black Panther. The Avengers. Comic books and hit movies thrill us with stories of superheroes who save the day. We’re fascinated by these heroes’ special powers: their miraculous ability to fly, swim vast oceans, and conquer evil as effortlessly as we might eat our breakfast cereal. They fire our imaginations precisely because they are so fantastical, their feats unachievable by us mere mortals.
These stories also highlight an idea we can all relate to: There is greatness to be found in our midst, hidden in plain sight, if we only take time to look for it. Each one of us has unique gifts that can make a hero-sized difference in the world if we are just bold enough to attempt it. We don’t have to be superheroes to do something heroic, and we don’t need special powers to make somebody feel special. All of us have the ability to be brave, bold, and generous in the face of obstacles and challenges. And we all have the ability to work toward peace and well-being in our local community and in the wider world. The key is simply to recognize our own gifts, and then to use those gifts to help others.
When we grasp the power of our own talents and ideas, we begin to see new ways to use those gifts. We begin to see a world of boundless possibility, a world in which people are inspired to ask not just “What can I get?” but also “What can I contribute?” We begin to envision and create a world that reflects the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the 1964 Nobel Peace laureate: “Everybody can be great because everyone can serve.”
In Legion of Peace: 20 Paths to Super Happiness, we profile twenty individuals who have lived lives of purpose by serving others. They have found ways both ordinary and extraordinary to use their gifts to help their communities. While none of these individuals embarked upon their careers of service in order to win awards, all of them are recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, which was established in 1901 by the will of the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel (1833–1896). In accordance with Nobel’s will, the prize is given each year to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”1
Winning a Nobel Peace Prize is clearly a special honor, but each laureate would be the first to remind us that they are only human.2 They don’t wear capes or leap tall buildings in a single bound. They simply observe the world around them, think about how they can make a positive difference, and then act upon their ideas. Their service can appear ordinary, from loaning money, to marching for a cause, to planting a tree. But over time, these everyday acts gather momentum and impact more and more people in meaningful ways. By committing to a life of service, each laureate has demonstrated not only a great capacity to care but also a resilient spirit that cannot be defeated.
The twenty individuals whom we profile in these pages constitute a diverse, vibrant group representing a range of ethnicities, nationalities, genders, ages, and occupations. Since there have been more than 130 Nobel Peace laureates since the award’s inception, selecting only twenty was no easy task.3 The book you hold in your hands represents only a small section of the many Nobel Peace Prize stories out there waiting to be explored. Our hope is that these stories will whet your appetite to delve deeper and learn more.
In this collection, we demonstrate the ways in which the laureates’ seemingly ordinary actions transformed their lives and communities. We share the ways in which even those who may have been misguided in their youth were able to course-correct, committing to lives dedicated to peace and progress for our planet. For each laureate, we spell out one “superpower” that they exemplify—one basic insight or principle that helped and guided them along their life of service. And we emphasize how all people, even those from vastly different backgrounds, can band together to form a team, or a legion, of and for peace.
We had such fun profiling these individuals that we even helped turn some of their life stories into songs. You can find this music on the album Legion of Peace: Songs Inspired by Nobel Laureates, by Lori Henriques Quintet featuring Joey Alexander with Muhammad Yunus. Lori is a Grammy-nominated children’s artist and Joey is a three-time Grammy-nominated piano phenom. Lori wrote the lyrics to each song on the album, conveying the central truths by which each laureate has lived his or her life. We included the lyrics to each of the eight songs in the corresponding profiles throughout the book. For example, in chapter twenty, which is about Malala Yousafzai, you’ll find the lyrics to Lori’s song “Brave as a Girl.” We recorded these songs with virtuoso musicians who infused their performances with colorful harmonies, thrilling rhythms, and soaring solos. We opted to work with jazz artists whose improvisational gifts ensured that they would make each song their own. This underscored the real takeaway of the project: We can adapt and incorporate lessons from each laureate’s life into our own.
The great peacemakers portrayed in this book are simply people with a deep awareness of their neighbors near and far, people who saw injustice and pain in the world around them and decided to act. Without knowing how their efforts would play out, these people rolled up their sleeves and got to work addressing the challenges that faced them. They started where they were, and so can we.
We hope that Legion of Peace inspires you to emulate these laureates by starting where you are. Everyone can be heroic simply by deciding to take action, using whatever resources may be found at hand, and working to make a difference. This is the overarching message of this collection: We all have the ability to create positive change in the world around us. All we have to do is try.
May Legion of Peace inspire you to look inside yourself at your own superpowers—those simple gifts that belong only to you and that, when carefully directed, can change the world. By bringing positive change to your community, you will find satisfaction in your life and bring happiness to the world around you. And if we all work together, encouraging one another to strive for peace in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and nations, then together, we will create a true Legion of Peace.
- On Sale
- Dec 11, 2018
- Hachette Audio