The Short Life and Times of Cole Summers
By age 14 I had a paper route and a broken understanding of money for which I would pay dearly later in life. By age 14 Cole Summers, the pseudonym for Kevin Cooper...
...had started several successful businesses
...owned 350 acres of land, a house (which he renovated himself), a truck, and a tractor
...raised rabbits, goats, and turkeys
...home schooled and self-taught, he studied Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger
...had written a book
...took care of his autistic older brother and disabled parents
...was an accomplished systems thinker with a solid understanding of mental models and how to use them.
The list goes on, but unfortunately it ends at 14 years, for Kevin drowned a few weeks ago while kayaking with his older brother. I first learned of Kevin and his story from a post he authored on Bari Weiss' Common Sense.
The cynical and skeptical voices inside me want to call "hoax" and holler for me to slow down and ask a few questions. I read Kevin's book, "Don't Tell Me I Can't: An Ambitious Homeschooler's Journey," in about an hour. Even though he had help writing it, the pieces fit the videos Kevin has posted. My incredulity, is seems, is more a reflection of who I am than what is possible when a young man is unconstrained by adult fears, expectations, and limitations.
Kevin Cooper was a rare and remarkable young man, wise and perceptive beyond his years. His short life has much to teach this old dog, would that I but listen, open my mind to what is possible, and keep a place for him in my heart.
I think, too, of the Stoic aspects of Kevin's brief life. He is a reminder of how important perseverance, community, and cooperation are to success. Of duty and responsibility. And memento mori.