An investment manager and business columnist for the News Sentinel, David Moon recently released Thoughts Are Things, a collection of daily devotionals for children and their families.
This is written for middle schoolers?
It’s a daily readings book written at the 3-6 grade level, so middle schoolers and the typical high schooler from Alabama could read it. I’m from Alabama, so I’m allowed to say that.
How long have you been in Knoxville then?
Since 1981. I came to play football at UT and never left. I met my wife here and we’ve been married 28 years. Our twins are 13, a boy and a girl.
How did a finance guy come to be writing a book like this?
I had two little kids beginning to read. My schedule calls me to leave home in the morning before they get up. These were ideas I wanted to get across to them. So I’d leave these messages behind for them to read, with simple drawings to help illustrate the concepts. Each one would build on something previous, and certain themes I repeated.
Did it work?
I’ll let you know in 25 years. It depends on how much money they admit they’ll have to spend on therapy. More seriously, this book is full of ideals, not just ideas. They’re probably not entirely the way my wife and I raised our children, but the way we wished we did—and hopefully, our ideals and our parenting intersected quite a bit.
Some of it is based on the Bible?
It is emotional tools, spiritual guidance, written by a guy who does financial statements. So it’s precisely divided into five different sections, for five different topics. Certain themes are repeated, and I affirm ideals like, “Our mind is our most valuable asset,” and “God is a mystery that offers many gifts, chief among them wisdom.”
How long did it take to write?
To joke at you, 50 years. It does include all the mistakes, successes, and incredible people I’ve been involved with in that time. But it took two years to gather 365 of these devotionals. I wasn’t writing a book then, it was just a collection of loose sheets with illustrations, so it took another year to put into book format. There are two characters that repeat throughout who are loosely based on the children.
Will that embarass them?
No, I wouldn’t think so. They have ownership of the book, all behind it is what they’ve known all their lives.
You also drew from some Greek and Roman sources?
Mostly Aristotle. I might be the only person from Alabama to even read the Greek classics. It’s an Aristotelean notion that we are what we repeatedly do; all the stuff about habit-forming and repetition is the biggest piece of the Greek stuff.
Are there math aspects?
There are some examples, like the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. And the slope of life—the rise and run, and second and third derivations. For example, on the day of Seth Wheeler’s birthday (he’s the guy who invented toilet paper), I start with, “You can’t keep a bird from pooping on your head, but you don’t have to leave it there.” You’d never think a book that deals with bird poop is actually algebraic, but the second derivative of bird poop is what change of life bird poop causes—do you leave it there, or wipe it off?
Will you use your financial expertise to make money from the book?
My expectation is, if it becomes wildly successful, I might make hundreds of dollars. The whole point of it was to get the ritual down in writing. I’d been doing Twitter and Facebook updates, building a platform, the past couple of years, and it’s really fulfilling to see people use it. The book format will bring it to more people.
A Thoughts Are Things Book Release Party, on Tuesday Oct. 22 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Neyland Stadium West Skybox, will benefit Children’s Theatre of Knoxville. For more information: davidmoon.com