Customer Reviews for

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

29 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

A powerful and insightful look into what makes us tick and the role our families and influences play in our outcomes. Already an accomplished human being, Wes Moore is still on an upward track and a rising star. This is a must read book!

I had never heard of Wes Moore before I was lucky enough to be in the audience at the Oprah Winfrey Show when he was a guest (air date 04/27/10). As a parting gift, we received an advance copy of The Other Wes Moore. In the few minutes that this Wes Moore was on stage...
I had never heard of Wes Moore before I was lucky enough to be in the audience at the Oprah Winfrey Show when he was a guest (air date 04/27/10). As a parting gift, we received an advance copy of The Other Wes Moore. In the few minutes that this Wes Moore was on stage, I was immediately struck by his charisma, enthusiasm for life and belief in a brighter future for others who begin life as he did. I read the book from cover-to-cover the moment I returned home.

As I read, I was searching for the thought processes that made this Wes Moore, successful and upwardly mobile in life and the other Wes, headed for defeat and failure. I wanted to know what this Wes Moore was made of - whether innately there or implanted and nurtured by others. The book sheds light on this.

Our Wes Moore comments, "Young boys are more likely to believe in themselves if they know that there's someone, somewhere, who shares that belief. To carry the burden of belief alone is too much for most young shoulders." At crucial junctures when our Wes was unable to carry the burden, his mother, friends, grandparents and mentors helped shoulder it with him but he remained part of the mix.

By contrast, from prison, the other Wes Moore comments, "We take other's expectations of us and make them our own. The expectations that others place on us help us form our expectations of ourselves. We will do what others expect of us. If they expect us to graduate, we will graduate. If they expect us to get a job, we will get a job. If they expect us to go to jail, then that's where we will end up too. At some point you lose control." To that, our Wes Moore, adds, "True, but it's easy to lose control when you were never looking for it in the first place."

Both Wes Moores started out with the odds stacked against them and innately, I think, both wanted to succeed but there finally came a time when they each chose a different path for themselves. At a later point in his life when our Wes is firmly on the right path, he visits South Africa and speaks with a woman who survived apartheid. She states, "The common bond of humanity and decency that we share is stronger than any conflict, any adversity, and challenge. Fighting for your convictions is important but finding peace is paramount. Knowing when to fight and when to seek peace is wisdom." Also in South Africa, Wes meets a boy who is days away from going through the Xhosa adult circumcision ritual and when Wes asks if the boy is scared of the pain and the process, the boy replies, "It's not the process you should focus on; it's the joy you will feel after you go through the process."

That sums up the meaning of this book for me. Life is a process and the end result is the prize. Our Wes Moore is deserving of joy. He has earned it and he continues to pay it forward in his life.

I am now a fan of Wes Moore. I have no doubt that his name will become a household one once the Oprah show airs and his book hits newsstands. Pick up several copies, as I have, to give as gifts to those looking for inspiration. A local Boys and Girls Club or other families-helping-families type organization would benefit greatly from this book.

Ultimately, I think you are left with the realization that we are responsible for ourselves and for each other. These are not mutually exclusive events. Wes benefited from a loving, self-sacrificing family but he kept himself as part of the equation. The other Wes didn't.

posted by PM1968 on April 20, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

Over hyped book

I was very disappointed with this book. I first heard the "author" Wes Moore interviewed on NPR, he was on the Oprah show, and then I saw him on Steven Colbert's show. So I fell for all the hype and bought the book. I understand he is not a writer and this is his fir...
I was very disappointed with this book. I first heard the "author" Wes Moore interviewed on NPR, he was on the Oprah show, and then I saw him on Steven Colbert's show. So I fell for all the hype and bought the book. I understand he is not a writer and this is his first book but this book rambles on and jumps from one topic to another, I still don't see the point of the book. The only thing he has in common with the other Wes Moore is his name and the area where he once lived, many years earlier. What bothered me is that anyone can figure out the obvious, these two people are completely different. Just because you have the same last name and once lived in the same area does not mean anything. What is the purpose of this book? These two people could not have been raised more different, it's like comparing oranges to apples, there is no comparison. I just don't understand what the purpose of the book was? Two guys have the same name and one succeeded in life and one is in jail? I wonder why (sarcastic)? Another thing that really bothered me is, anyone knows that it's how you are raised, your family, your environment; he barely remarks on the other Wes Moore's environment. He quickly mentions the first time Wes smoked marijuana is when he found it in his mother's closet, the man she was living with was there when he came home high and laughed at him. He mentions that the other Wes Moore's mother was celebrating her baby's first birthday when she found out his own girlfriend was pregnant and his brother Tony already had a baby; apparently we guess his mother wasn't married, he sees his father on the couch of a relative's home and his dad asks who is he? The book jumps from one subject to the other with no explanation, with no reasoning, it's just very badly written. The "author's" life is completely different, his father passed away when he was only three, his one memory of his father was a fond memory. He knows his father loved him, his parents are educated, his grand parents are educated and accomplished in ministry, and he was surrounded by family and love. His mother did all she could to send him to the best private schools, even got him a lunch meeting with the Dean of Admissions at John Hopkins University and despite his weak SAT scores he miraculously got into John Hopkins. How and why he would compare his life with the other Wes Moore's life? We are all the product of our environment, we all have choices to make, some of us like the "author" Wes Moore got extremely lucky in life and in my opinion undeserving of acceptance into John Hopkins, much less a Rhode Scholarship, but ok he got one, good for him. He now has an over rated and over hyped book he somehow got people buying. There are so many better books out there that really explores the economic and social issues in a child's life and the difference a loving environment makes. I would have been more impressed if he was raised in an environment like the other Wes Moore and still made the right choices, that would have been an accomplishment. Does anyone need this book to tell you what statistics have already told us, a loving environment with family support, love and encouragement is better than an environment where your mom is on drugs, your father has abandoned you and your older brother you admire is a drug dealer? His life and this book is so over rated, God bless him for another amazing accomplishment.

posted by SophiaGirl on July 7, 2010

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    Not entirely impressed.. 3 stars at best

    Although the book The Other Wes Moore is used as a cautionary tale against what may happen to one who falls down the wrong path, it fails to uphold this standard in many ways. The book starts off by introducing the author, Wes Moore, and a man who shares the same name but a different fate. Both men grew up in the same area, had the same family problems, and had the same problems with school yet one Wes Moore becomes a Rhodes Scholar and an outstanding student while the other ends up in prison. Not only did this book leave the reader with many unanswered questions, it revealed the underlying answer to the story’s conflict: money. Without money the author would have never been able to attend military school. Without military school the author would have continued to do poorly in school and could have just as easily ended up as Wes Moore. The fact that money was one of the main reasons the author became who he was makes this story very unappealing and I think it sends the wrong message to our nation’s youth. Another thing that threw me off was a part in the story where the author, while attending military school, asks one of his friends Sean the question: “Do you think what life would ever be like if we never came here?” Sean simply replies, “About the same I guess”, and the author agrees with him so easily. The reason this throws me off is because I thought military school made the huge difference between the two Wes Moore’s yet the author makes it seem like his life would be the same if he had not attended the school. This leads me into my second reason of why this book was not captivating: it did not fully explain the characters’ stories. The book skipped around a lot and left many missing parts. For example when the author first attends military school he is very insubordinate and tries to escape, and by the start of the next chapter he becomes platoon sergeant and commands his own platoon. The book never fully explained what the author did in order to get to where he was. Some parts of the stories were overly developed while some, such as this part in particular, left the reader confused. All in all, this book had good intentions but failed to be the outstanding book I think it should have been. I feel like if this book was more precisely written and had fully developed its plot then it definitely would have deserved 4 or even 5 stars.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Interesting quick read

    Enjoyed the perspective of two individuals with the same upbringing as it was different. Also enjoyed that it wasn't a feel good book that sugar coated life in the city or filled with bad choices that had a good ending. I like that while both men made their own choices, they are choices that middle to lower class kids can make and have very real outcomes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2012

    Overall ok

    Not what i thought it would be. Its the typical story of growing up in the not so good part of town and becoming a product of the enviornment or making the decision to be something more. If you are exposed to the not so good parts of town, this book is what you encounter everyday. Overall it was nice to read their story & it was a quick and easy read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2012

    Cloud

    Im a warrior

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Spiritwing

    Anyonde need a med cat

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Good Read

    I enjoyed this book. I didn't quite know what to expect, but the story was good. It started off a little slow, but got more interesting as the story progressed. Good coming of age book.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    Not entirely impressed.. 3 stars at best

    Although this book is supposed to be a cautionary tale against what may happen to one who falls down the wrong path, it fails to uphold this standard in many ways. The book starts off by introducing the author, Wes Moore, and a man who shares the same name but a different fate. Both men grew up in the same area, had the same family problems, and had the same problems with school yet one Wes Moore becomes a Rhodes Scholar and an outstanding student while the other ends up in prison. Not only did this book leave the reader with many unanswered questions, it revealed the underlying answer to the story’s conflict: money. Without money the author would have never been able to attend military school. Without military school the author would have continued to do poorly in school and could have just as easily ended up as Wes Moore. The fact that money was one of the main reasons the author became who he was makes this story very unappealing and I think it sends the wrong message to our nation’s youth. Another thing that threw me off was a part in the story where the author, while attending military school, asks one of his friends Sean the question: “Do you think what life would ever be like if we never came here?” Sean simply replies, “About the same I guess”, and the author agrees with him so easily. The reason this throws me off is because I thought military school made the huge difference between the two Wes Moore’s yet the author makes it seem like his life would be the same if he had not attended the school. This leads me into my second reason of why this book was not captivating: it did not fully explain the characters’ stories. The book skipped around a lot and left many missing parts. For example when the author first attends military school he is very insubordinate and tries to escape, and by the start of the next chapter he becomes platoon sergeant and commands his own platoon. The book never fully explained what the author did in order to get to where he was. Some parts of the stories were overly developed while some, such as this part in particular, left the reader confused. All in all, this book had good intentions but failed to be the outstanding book I think it should have been. I feel like if this book was more precisely written and had fully developed its plot then it definitely would have deserved 4 or even 5 stars.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 15, 2011

    you can't go wrong with Tavis Smily

    I watch the Tavis Smiley show on PBS. My list of must-read titles and authors grows every time he has a writer on his program. Mr. Moore is definitely on that list!

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    recommended

    great story of overcoming obstacles in life

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