In 2001, The Baltimore Sun ran two stories about two Wes Moores. One Wes Moore was a Rhodes scholar and a decorated Army officer. The other Wes Moore was a drug dealer and murderer who killed a security guard and father of five children. Wes Moore the academic decided to reach out to Wes Moore the criminal to find out what happened in their lives that took them on drastically different paths. He wrote a book about his findings on the premise that humans should always strive to do better, to be better: The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates.
The statement, “Failing doesn’t make us a failure” is the main point of Moore’s book. He emphasizes this concept by using his own life as example. The two Moores had some things in common: no father, crime-filled neighborhoods, raised by single mothers, etc. However, Wes Moore the officer gives credit to both his self-determination and his hard-working mother who sent him to military school, which set his life on a different course. Moore still had to choose to overcome his mistakes and “do better.” He could not fall for a life of crime; that would be foolish.
Moore wants readers to overcome setbacks and do better. Wes Moore stated, “This book is meant to show us how . . . our destinies can be determined by a single stumble down the wrong path, or a tentative step down the right one” (Moore, xiv). People make mistakes, but mistakes do not equal failure. Instead, Moore wants people to take a step in the right direction because “not trying to do better makes us fools“ (185).