Triad author wins “50 Great Writers” award

The Triad Author Chosen As One Of ’50 Great Writers’

Brian Aull

Author Brian Aull

Author Brian Aull has been chosen as a winner in the ‘50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading Book Awards’. His book, The Triad: Three Civic Virtues That Could Save American Democracy, offers solutions to the problems that threaten American democracy. At the same time, it takes a fresh approach to issues and bridges the divide between liberals and conservatives.

The best books on politics sometimes come from authors who are not “experts.” The Triad, authored by an engineer, is a case in point. Aull offers a vision of what a healthy democracy looks like, and proposes practical steps that citizens can take to get us there.   Bridging the divide between liberals and conservatives he advocates three civic virtues: service, learning, and community building. Civic engagement based on these virtues is the key to changing the perverse incentives that lead to partisan gridlock, media bias, and political corruption. Applying these insights to specific issues, he points a path to widely shared prosperity, universal quality education, progress on race in America, the healing of the rift between science and religion, and American leadership for human rights and democratic values worldwide.

The Triad

The Triad is not another book about politics. While other books about politics or political science study the system’s failures, Aull’s book proposes actions to promote the renewal of democratic life in the United States.

“Right now, the United States faces all these social problems while its political process is corrupted and there’s a climate of divisiveness and distrust,” Aull stated. “I am grateful to receive the 50 Great Writers award, and hope it will help me inspire my readers to the new level of citizenship that is now needed.   There are no easy ‘diet pill’ fixes.  As citizens, we need to see ourselves as the sources of solutions.   Starting locally, we need to have conversations aimed at learning from each other rather than winning an argument.   We need more than just civility, but respect and kindness.  And we need to build civic relationships that bridge divides such as race and class.”

Aull explains the three virtues referred to in the subtitle of The Triad:

1. Democracy is often defined in terms of what we each get from the system. A society is considered “democratic” if each citizen gets a fair slice of the “pie” in terms of public benefits. A healthy democracy, however, is just as much about what each of us contributes to the well being of the society. This is an ethic of service, that is, each citizen takes ownership of his or her role as a source of solutions to problems.

2. Democracy is often defined in terms of having one’s voice heard. But little attention is paid to the quality of the discourse. It might be an angry shouting match, but it’s “democratic” if everyone is equally loud. A healthy democracy, however, has discourse in which people seek to gain insight from each other and discover solutions in a collaborative spirit. This is an ethic of civic learning.

3. Democracy is often defined as a system that protects the freedom of the individual. This is legitimate, but the exaltation of individualism causes us to overlook the power of community. When we build networks of relationships, and especially when they bridge divides such as race or class, something powerful happens. People are different, but they work together in a way that draws on diverse talents and resources.

“The renewal of democratic life is based on these three civic virtues:  service, learning, and community,” Aull stated. “The Triad presents real-world examples where the exercise of these virtues contributed to successful problem solving.”

The Triad has received praise from a number of reviewers. Terrence Metz, Founding Principle and Partner at Morgan Madison and Company said the book is, “A wonderful approach about how to live in a democracy . . . any democracy.” Peter Levine at Tufts University stated that The Triad is “movingly and impressively written.”  Badi Foster of Northwestern’s Buffett Institute said that the book “helps us have the kinds of conversations that heal rather than divide the nation.”