Small Acts of Life-Saving Grace: The Little-Known Story of Samuel Kargbo of Sierra Leone

7/3/2015
On Being

I mostly resist hero worship. I don’t think it makes any of us smarter. Usually, there are strategies that underlie what we deem exceptional, strategies that don’t require superhuman intelligence or courage to deploy. When we create heroes, we floodlight one person; when we examine the insights and behaviors that make them appear heroic, we make the whole world brighter.

Having said that, it’s hard not to fit a halo around Dr. Samuel Kargbo, known by his friends and colleagues as SAS. I met him last week at the Aspen Institute’s Spotlight Health Conference and I knew within minutes that I was in the presence of greatness. Not the kind of greatness that shows up in the form of long, award-filled CVs, though SAS has one of those (he is an Aspen New Voices fellow, which is why I met him). Nor does it show up in the form of fancy, fast-talking analysis about “metrics” and “scaling for impact;” SAS knows that world, but he’s not really of it.

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