In this book's introduction, Robert J. Wicks, professor Emeritus at Loyola University Maryland, puts on display his wisdom as a well-read elder by saluting "the lost virtue of ordinariness." He connects it to character, creativity, authenticity, discipline, and patience as stays against chaos, narcissism, manipulation, and exhibitionism, using quotes from the writings of William James, Rainer Maria Rilke, Peter Matthiessen, Martin Buber, Anne LaMott, and others.

Wicks has published more than 50 books for professionals and the general public, and it only natural that he would turn to virtues and values as keys to the inner life of meaning, peace, joy, and respect.

The author affirms humility as both the rejection of self-centeredness and a passport to getting right with the world. He then adds "simplicity and a spirit of unlearning" as providing direct access " to the cornerstones of personal freedom." After pondering darkness and failure, Wicks challenges us, in the words of Albert Schweitzer, to be "thankful for these people who rekindle our human spirit." He calls them "mentors in ordinariness."