By Darryl Alder
Dec 07, 2015

Four Percent

“FOUR PERCENT is the best, and most honest, book ever written about the Boy Scouts of America.”
– Tom Hayes, The Huffington Post

Last May I was at BSA’s National Annual Meeting, where Michael S. Malone was recognized at the Americanism Breakfast. He had just completed a new and enlarged edition of his history of Eagle Scouting, “Four Percent” (WindRush Publishing, 2012), for which he was being honored.

Then, in October, Mr. Malone agreed to write for us in The Voice of Scouting and he sent me a copy of his newest book, “Running Toward Danger: Real Life Scouting Action Stories of Heroism, Valor & Guts.” I enjoyed his retelling of BSA’s first Eagle,First Eagle Scout
Arthur Eldred, who also earned two lifesaving awards in 1912. This young man worked so quickly through his merit badges that National BSA leaders had to make him wait a full six months before receiving his Eagle since there wasn’t even one manufactured by that time.

(His is a great story that I detail in The Voice of Scouting if you want to read more about it.)

In Four Percent, there are several pages dedicated to Eldred’s interesting experience, but together his and other tales are intricately laced together in what Amazon touts as “one of the most complete histories of the Boy Scouts of America ever written – and the first to focus on the remarkable story of Eagle Scouts.”

community-serviceHowever, Four Percent is far more than a history of the Eagle Scout award or the Boy Scouts of America. It is filled with stories of hundreds of Eagles and what they have done for the nation.

One of the most compelling discoveries in this book is his report that the Eagle service project requirement for the rank has resulted in more than 100 million hours devoted to improving the nation’s communities and neighborhoods, making it the greatest youth service initiative in history!

The first chapter’s title: “The Ph.D of Boyhood,” is a charming way to begin. But from there he details historic stories, shares unexpected facts and some very compelling profiles, including those of  a President of the United States, astronauts including Neil Armstrong, Medal of Honor recipients, Nobel prize winners, authors, movie stars, industry leaders, Senators, Congressmen, Governors, civil rights leaders, and community activists. During the last one hundred years of Eagle Scouting, these men, these Eagle Scouts, have transformed our country.

Malone may have produced the best book ever about America’s Eagles – and perhaps even about Boy Scouting itself.

Michael S. Malone

Michael S. Malone ( | is an Eagle Scout himself and holds the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. He is career  journalist and one of the world’s best-known technology writers. He was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. His articles and editorials have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Fortune, and The New York Times. He is an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University and also an associate fellow of the Said Business School at the University of Oxford and is a Distinguished Friend of Oxford.

You can purchase a copy of  “Four Percent”  at a local Scout shop. I wonder what you will do with your Scouts after reading the tales in these pages?

Darryl head BW


Author: Darryl Alder | Director of Strategic Initiatives, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.

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