Worth Reading - 1/8

1. On this day in 1956, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, and Peter Flemming died in Ecuador. Their deaths helped inspire a generation or more of missionaries. 

On January 8, 1956 — sixty years ago today — Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Flemming, and Roger Youderian were speared to death on a sandbar called “Palm Beach” in the Curaray River of Ecuador. They were trying to reach the Huaorani Indians for the first time in history with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elisabeth Elliot memorialized the story in her book Shadow of the Almighty. That title comes from Psalm 91:1: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”
When I was young, my friends and I would support our more improbable factual claims by following them with the words “ask anyone.” One of us would make a preposterous statement, another would say it wasn’t true, and the response would be something like: “Sure it is. Ask anyone.” In time, we would learn that the rules for corroborating assertions were more stringent and that disputable claims required either reasoned argument or reference to a reputable source.

Lately, though, I’ve wondered whether some journalists are relying too much on the “ask anyone” method of citation. Its more sophisticated form appears in a passive-voice clause that includes the word “widely”: “widely believed,” “widely suspected,” “widely thought,” “widely considered,” and so on.
When Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman was published earlier this year, readers learned that this much anticipated “second book” by Lee was actually a first draft of what would later become the beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee radically revised this early version of the book on the advice of her editor, Tay Hohoff. That made us wonder: How much do editors shape the final book we read?

On hearing the news about the role Lee’s editor played in the creation of To Kill a Mockingbird, Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg was surprised at first. The story immediately made him think of legendary editor Max Perkins — who shepherded the works of such greats as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe and Ernest Hemingway. Berg, who wrote a biography of Perkins, says Perkins had a huge influence on the editors who came after him because of the way he worked with his authors.

4. Whether you favor Clemson or Alabama on Monday to win the game, this story of Dabo Sweeney keeping his life together despite difficulties is worth a read:

While it is undoubtedly the biggest game of Swinney’s coaching career, it is far from the biggest battle of his life. His difficult family life as a young man, as well as his unrelenting determination to forge a better life for not only himself but also his family, have transformed “That Boy” into the ultimate scrapper.

”He’s always been the underdog,” said former Alabama quarterback Jay Barker, one of Swinney’s teammates. “He has had to fight for everything and has never been given anything. That’s what has made him so successful. He loves being the underdog because he’s lived it his entire life.”

5. Pro athletes are often known for blowing their money young and living to regret it. However, there are a number of Redskin players who are thinking ahead and being thrifty, including the rising star Quarterback, Kirk Cousins.

Two-time pro bowl running back Alfred Morris, who makes a base salary of $1.5 million this year, has taken to riding a bike to work and leaving it in his reserved parking space. On days when it’s too cold or otherwise inconvenient to cycle to the facility, Morris switches to a splashier ride: a 1991 Mazda 626, which he drove up from Florida as a rookie in 2012. He calls it his Bentley.

Pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan signed a five-year, $57.5 million contract earlier this year. But he still shares his apartment in suburban Virginia with a roommate.