The Journey of Ambition


The first section of Pillars of the Earth has already begun to delve into one of the overall themes that I have heard relates significantly to this book, ambition. Ambition is a wonderful and powerful quality. It is respected among men and admired in women. In the book, Tom Builder, has so much ambition to become a builder of great cathedrals, “once he tasted that wine, Tom was never satisfied with anything less.” His strong desire to build these cathedrals was of great concern to his wife. She respected his life’s passion and his ambitious pursuit of success, even if it was to the detriment of their financial stability. She could not understand the decision but she respected her husband because he was a good man.

However, ambition can turn ugly when the person driving that ambition does not respect the people in his life. This fall from grace is not a charming or gracious quality. It turns quickly from ambition to greed and selfishness. Pursuing your life’s passion with great abandon is about creating a path towards fulfillment, but if you arrive there alone, knowing you have hurt everyone who tried to stand beside you, your path to ambition will have been unsuccessful and your life’s journey will have been a failure.

Be ambitious, but also be gracious, caring, loving and kind. Be sensitive and inspired and devoted. As the picture says, the world makes way for those who know where they are going. Where ever you are going, go there with love in your heart.


About a year ago I made an ambitious decision. I decided that I would read every book selected by Oprah’s Book Club. Unfortunately, life got in the way, as it tends to do, and I continuously put off my goal.

Well, now I’m back …and more motivated then ever. Because here’s the difference, not only am I going to read every book on Oprah’s list…but I’m going to see how each book relates to my life at the time I am reading it. I am going to see how much I learn about myself, my life, my surroundings and my own thoughts while exploring the lives of others in Oprah’s selections. Something has to be said for books that have sold millions of copies and a woman who has changed the face of reading. We all know how hard it is to get a book chosen by Oprah, so what is it that makes these books different and life changing?

I have started with what I thought to be the most ambitious of the list…and also one of the most recent, THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett. THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH is a book written about the building of a church in medieval times. If I can find a way to learn something about myself from this book, then I will believe in miracles and the power of pursuing the unattainable. The book also happens to fill up nearly 1,000 pages. I chose to start my Oprah Project with this particular book, at this particular time (beginning of summer) for a reason. It is now up to me to determine what that reason was and how it will affect my life.

I am looking forward to this journey for no other reason than I will get to explore books I would not normally have read and learn something about myself along the way.

Here is the breathless description of PILLARS OF THE EARTH from Oprah’s website; In the quest to build the greatest Gothic cathedral ever known, a struggle between good and evil erupts – turning church against state and brother against brother.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett