MUST READ: Erick Erickson's "Before You Wake" Is a Heartfelt Reminder of What's Important


To be honest, even if it is written by a friend, I am loathe to sit down and read any sort of political treatise by a pundit. They are tedious, dull, and provide very little that is new, save for some great one-liners that authors end up hoping are the most remembered thing about their books.


I loathe autobiographies for the same reasons.

However, I had no problem sitting down and reading Erick Erickson’s Before You Wake: Life Lessons from a Father to His Children. It is not a political treatise (in fact, it is a non-political book), and it is not an autobiography (though it does tell a lot of his story).

Erick is no stranger here at RedState – he led the site for a decade and did great work launching conservative people and ideas into Washington D.C. from outside the Beltway. But, this latest book isn’t about any of that. It’s about life.

Narratives are so much easier to read than expository or persuasive pieces, and Erickson makes full use of the personal narrative style to got the important life lessons across to both his children and his readers, and he does so with brief but emotional tales from his time as a kid in Dubai to a zealous student justice in college.

The life lessons are incredibly necessary during this day and age, too. Hearkening back to a theme he has written about at his site, The Resurgent, and gone into on his radio show, Erickson comes to the conclusion that it is face-to-face interactions with people that bring out the best in society. His stories reflect these lessons. He remembers most the people who were most influential in his life – not bylines, authors, and their publicity photos, but the people with whom he had direct interactions growing up.


That is why the end of the book is filled with recipes – Erickson maintains that only by literally breaking bread with others do we get the fullest out of human interaction. Screen time and social media quips don’t do the job, even if we try to make them do so.

The book is premised on what he wants his children to know about who he is and why he has raised them the way he has, but it filled with general lessons that a lot of parents can share with their own kids. It is a book of lessons for his kids, your kids, and you.

Which is why you should order the book or pick it up if you see it in a bookstore, especially if you have children… though we could all use some of the lessons he’s shared.


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