The Call to Action is written by Tavis Smiley, who admits that the book reminds him of a quote by Dr. Cornel West: “Our roots help to determine our routes.” Smiley points out that some people are blessed with gifts and privileges for which they should always be thankful to God. At the same time, we must remember that “failing doesn’t make us a failure,” and that we should always keep trying. Smiley argues that the book describes two boys who required help on their journey into adulthood; while one received it, the other didn’t. He encourages the reader to be aware of their own power and to “unleash” it. He explains that the rest of the book is filled with a list of resources that can help young people fulfill their potential. Smiley concludes that the most important thing in life is to try, and that “God will take care of the rest.”
Smiley’s “Call to Action” strikes a notably different tone from the rest of the book. Unlike Moore, who adopts a more neutral, reserved approach, Smiley is more emphatic in his invocation of religion and advice for how to move forward. Smiley also hints at a resolution to the question of whether luck or choices is more important in determining people’s fates by arguing that the book tells the story of two boys who both needed help but who didn’t both get it. This understanding of the book emphasizes both the similarity and difference in the two men’s lives, as well as illustrating how luck and choice work in tandem.