The book starts with a broad range of examples of differing kinds of persons, distinguishing those who perform life-enhancing deeds, especially on an epic scale, from those of more prosaic attainments. Some are dauntless in the face of impediments and/or dangers that would dismay a lesser person. Some possess prowess, whether intellectual, bodily, or both, exceeding that of Everyman. Some pursue substantial life-promoting goals and never surrender their vision. Individuals who combine these traits tower over those who do not and show us what it means to be a hero.
Further, heroes are necessary for two reasons. First, the curing of disease, the defense of liberty, the identification of new truths, and so forth, often takes ability and courage beyond that of Everyman. It is the work of heroes. Second, a hero’s unswerving dedication to life-enhancing goals serves as inspiration to all honest persons to be the best versions of ourselves.