Fridays with Friends
Author and social critic Os Guinness (DPhil, Oxford University) was born in China, raised and educated in England, and moved to the United States in 1984. In 1991, Os founded the Trinity Forum, and was Senior Fellow there until 2004, conducting seminars for leaders around the world and publishing seven major curricula, such as Entrepreneurs of Life, When No One Sees, Steering through Chaos, the Great Experiment and Doing Well, Doing Good. Os has been a frequent speaker and seminar leader at political and business conferences in both Europe and the United States (including “TED”), and has addressed audiences from the British House of Commons to the U.S. Congress to the St Petersburg Parliament to the Chinese Academy of the Social Sciences. His books include The American Hour, No God But God, and The Dust of Death. His latest book is A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future, published by InterVarsity Press in August, 2012.
Our family has had the pleasure and honor of calling Os a friend for nearly two decades. Kevin interviewed Os for this installation of Fridays with Friends.
Kevin Belmonte: What/who/where are your consistent sources of inspiration?
Os Guinness: I read the Bible daily, Christian classics as often as I can, good biographies regularly, poetry occasionally, and I love to write with the music of Bach, Mozart or Celtic music playing in my study. Having lived in Switzerland, I will always love the changing light playing on mountain peaks, and knowing the Chesapeake Bay, I love its big-skies sunsets. I am also almost always inspired by dinners with friends when hearts and minds run deep.
KB: What artists (musicians, poets, painters, photographers, filmmakers, etc) have shaped your journey as a writer?
OG: As a child of the sixties, when I was first challenged to try and make sense of our extraordinary world, I cut my teeth watching films such Ingmar Bergman’s and Federico Fellini’s, reading books such as Albert Camus’ The Plague, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and listening to the early Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel. As I grew older, I grew to love the music of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Telemann, the paintings of Mosaccio, Vermeer, Goya, and Turner, and the sculpture of the Greeks, Michelangelo and Rodin. One of my greatest heroes is Winston Churchill, whom I met as a teenager, and I have devoured many of the biographies written about him—my favourite being William Manchester’s The Last Lion.
KB: How can readers of “All Nine” get involved in what you’re doing? (basically, how can someone buy your books, download interviews, learn more about your books, etc)
OG: I have written more than thirty books on a wide range of topics, and I hope there are a few more to come. But none of them are huge sellers, apart from The Call, and I am not very good at promoting or marketing my own books. I always enjoy hearing from readers, even angry ones. But I already have more than enough to do to keep up with friends and readers, so I have not gone on Facebook or Twitter, and for the moment I am happy not to. Most people find my books on Amazon.com, and I am told that many find interviews and talks on Facebook or websites such at the Veritas Forum.