The Storm: A Leadership Booklet and Blog #13

THE STORM Chapter 13: Old New Friends from the Past

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – Walter Winchell


Why This Matters: Chapter 13, “New Friends from the Past,” explores the transformative power of perspective and the impact of mentors and friends on one’s journey. Granddaddy’s insights, drawn from his own post-war experiences, highlight the significance of diverse desires, the value of mentors, and the enriching experience of reading. The chapter challenges readers to recognize their potential, embrace a broader view of life, and choose their companions wisely.

Essential Question for Readers: “How does the power of perspective, as experienced by Dakota through his conversation with Granddaddy, shape our understanding of potential, friendship, and the transformative impact of mentors in our lives?”


Chapter Summary

In Chapter 13 of “New Friends from the Past,” Dakota reflects on the profound realization that he is more than just a high school student serving time until he can be on his own. The conversation with Granddaddy triggers a shift in Dakota’s perspective, making him recognize the power and determination behind his accomplishments. He contemplates the ease with which he tackled challenges, attributing it to his commitment to self-improvement.

Granddaddy encourages Dakota to acknowledge his potential and challenges him to embrace a broader view of life. Dakota expresses concern about everyone wanting the same things, but Granddaddy reassures him that diversity in desires is natural and enriches the real world.

The discussion shifts to Granddaddy’s past, revealing that he, too, faced uncertainties after the war. Granddaddy shares the pivotal role of friends and mentors in shaping his path. He narrates a story from his post-war days when he stumbled upon a bookstore and discovered the transformative power of books. Granddaddy explains how reading became a conversation with authors, shaping his understanding of life.

Dakota learns about the significance of asking questions and the impact of choosing the right people to surround oneself with. Granddaddy shares insights from his readings, highlighting the teachings of Socrates and even delving into what he learned from unexpected figures like Hitler. He extracts a lesson about the corrupting influence of absolute power and the importance of considering the consequences of one’s actions on others.

The chapter concludes with Dakota feeling inspired to embark on a new adventure of reading books and engaging in meaningful conversations with people, eager to discover what lessons and friends he will encounter along the way.



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Reflection/Journaling: Reflect on the power of perspective in shaping your understanding of your potential and the challenges you face. Consider a time when a change in perspective transformed your approach to a situation. How did it impact your actions and outcomes? What lessons can you draw from that experience to apply in your current circumstances?


  1. Identify an area of your life where a shift in perspective could lead to a more positive and empowered mindset. Set a goal to intentionally explore different viewpoints and challenge any limiting beliefs you may hold.
  2. Evaluate your circle of friends and mentors. Consider the influence they have on your goals, values, and personal growth. Set a goal to foster relationships with individuals who inspire, challenge, and support your journey.
  3. Embrace the enriching experience of reading. Set a goal to explore literature that expands your understanding of different perspectives, cultures, or historical events. Create a reading list and dedicate time to engage in meaningful conversations inspired by your readings.

Next Steps:

  1. Actively seek out diverse perspectives by engaging in conversations with people from different backgrounds and experiences. Attend events, join discussion groups, or participate in activities that expose you to a variety of viewpoints.
  2. Assess your personal library or reading habits. Consider introducing a variety of genres and authors that offer unique perspectives. Share your reading experiences with others, fostering conversations that contribute to personal growth.
  3. Reflect on the mentors and friends in your life. Identify individuals who have positively influenced your journey and express gratitude for their impact. Consider reaching out to a mentor or friend to share your reflections and deepen your connection.

By embracing the transformative power of perspective, choosing influential companions wisely, and engaging in meaningful reading and conversations, you can enrich your personal and intellectual growth. Set intentional goals to continue this journey toward a broader and more empowered understanding of life.

Dan Blanchard is a bestselling and award-winning author, speaker, educator, TV Host, and philanthropist.

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