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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

Theme tune by David Vesey.

On podcast 420, I welcome back Stanford University School of Education Professor William (Bill) Damon who was one of the first guests on this year's schedule to discuss his new book, A round of golf with my father: The new psychology of exploring your past to make peace with your present. Among the topics  we discuss on this bonus episode are the following:

  • Different interpretations of what a life story is
  • Life Studies by Robert Lowell
  • Your intention for telling a life story
  • What a life review is and why it can be done at any stage of life
  • How William Damon adapted Robert Butler’s life review idea for his purpose.
  • How to go about doing a life review
    • Talk to people who remember your past
    • Records (school and others, ancestry searches)
    • Memory search
    • Putting it all together – focusing on what gave you satisfaction and fulfillment
  • Why he never met his father
  • How school records have changed since the 1950s.
  • How his father’s character developed over time, possibly through the demands and experiences of military service in World War II.
  • What he learned about his own character from doing the life review
  • Why character is a movie and not a snapshot
  • Why he believes that psychological theories such as some of Freud’s work and the “big five personality traits” are wrong
  • How he went about making a personal story interesting for an audience beyond his immediate circle of family and friends
  • How a life review can help you find a purpose in your life
  • How someone not looking for a purpose can find one
  • His mother’s role in his life review
  • His definition of purpose
  • His memories of being taught by some of the pioneering psychologists of the twentieth century, including Erik Erikson and Jerome Kagan who was a guest on Inside Education a few years ago: Podcast 1 and Podcast 2  and who passed away in May 2021.
  • Some of his earlier books: Some do care (with his wife, Anne Colby), Noble Purpose, The Moral Child and Greater Expectations.
  • Why he called the book A Round of Golf with my Father when he never met his father!


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