The New York Times

The Good-Enough Life

THE DESIRE FOR GREATNESS CAN BE AN OBSTACLE TO OUR OWN POTENTIAL.

Ideals of greatness cut across the American political spectrum. Supporters of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and believers in Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” for instance, may find themselves at odds, but their differences lie in the vision of what constitutes greatness, not whether greatness itself is a worthy goal. In both cases — and in most any iteration of America’s idea of itself

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times6 min read
Growing Up With Murder All Around
“An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago” By Alex Kotlowitz 287 pages. Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. $27.95. On July 22, 2012, Darren Easterling was murdered in Park Forest, a mostly African-American suburb south of Chicago. Two days later, the loca
The New York Times5 min read
Sherwood Anderson's Revolutionary Small Town
How “Winesburg, Ohio” changed American literature. In the autumn of 1915, while living in a bohemian boardinghouse on Chicago’s Near North Side, Sherwood Anderson began work on a collection of tales describing the tortured lives of the inhabitants of
The New York Times4 min read
A Savagely Funny Writer Shows a Bleak Side
A man is falling from the sky, falling slowly, like a petal. He lands on the sands of an unknown desert with his torn parachute, more dead than alive. There is no sign of his American fighter plane, its American bombs. He is frighteningly calm. None