Tag Archives: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The motivation to soar


There are many reasons why Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Wind, Sand and Stars” ranks No. 3 on National Geographic’s “The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time,” and comes in No. 1 on Outside magazine’s “25 Essential Books for the Well-Read Explorer.” Saint-Exupéry’s piloting skills in the early days of aviation, flying from France to North Africa to deliver the mail when maps were sketchy and the likes of electronic navigation non-existent, are exceeded only by his gift for conveying what he and his comrades endured.
Think you’ve had a great adventure? Ever had your engine conk out flying over the Pyrenees or landed in hostile country where the locals had killed two pilots a year before? “Wind, Sand and Stars” is filled with such adventures, adventures that would forever ground the vast majority of us. For Saint-Exupéry and his peers it was just another day at the office.
It’s the motivation of Saint-Exupéry and his kind that fascinates us. Early in “Wind”, he offers a glimpse that most of us can relate to, an explanation of why the risk was worthwhile. It comes as he rides an early morning shuttle to the airport with the office clerks and other desk-bound workers who know all too well the outcome of their workday — and the rest of their lives. read more