Book Club — The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

Third discussion guide for our book club read

Here is the third discussion guide for our current Teachers Guild Book Club read: The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. Next week, for our fourth and final discussion guide, we’ll be looking at how the book relates to specific posts from our current challenge.



“When we’re young, it sometimes seems as if the world doesn’t exist outside our city, our block, our house, our room. We make decisions based on what we see in that limited world and follow the only models available. The most important thing that happened to me was not being physically transported — the moves from Baltimore to the Bronx to Valley Forge didn’t change my way of thinking. What changed was that I found myself surrounded by people — starting with my mom, grandparents, uncles, and aunts, and leading to a string of wonderful role models and mentors — who kept pushing me to see more than what was directly in front of me, to see the boundless possibilities of the wider world and the unexplored possibilities within myself.” (pg. 179)

One major difference between the two Weses is that one, the author, has access to different and diverse stories of success —to name just a few: Colin Powell’s book, Captain Hill at Valley Forge, his own father who was a successful journalist— while the other Wes doesn’t. It seems that one factor that could account for their different lives, is that Wes Moore the author is able to imagine a life beyond what he sees around him, while the other Wes can’t. We wonder, what role do stories play in envisioning or discovering models of success for ourselves? Are they important? Did stories (those you read, heard, or even those you told yourself about your own life) have an impact or influence on the choices you made and the way you now live your life?

(Q2) It’s one thing to have access to different stories of success, but what role does having someone model these narratives play in a young person’s understanding of him or herself and the options opened to them? In other words, does it make a difference if the stories come from books or from people one interacts with regularly?

(Q3) Is there a difference between privilege and opportunity? If so, how do you define the difference?


  • If you haven’t already, create a Medium account. It’s very quick — if you have one, you can use your Twitter account info to log in.
  • Read the book along with us.
  • Tune in to our publication each Thursday afternoon to read and answer new questions.
  • Answer the questions; share your favorite quotes and ideas from the book or share articles and videos which are relevant to the discussion; pose your own questions and reflections; and build upon other member’s answers.
  • Host Book Club meet ups in your area! We’ve created a facilitator’s guide to help you plan and organize your meetup, view and download it here.

Check in next Thursday for our next set of questions.