I am so sorry for your loss. It was your good fortune to have known him, and I suspect he felt honored to have known you. He clearly saw something in you that caused him to give you that book.
I never thought of it in terms of concentration, or the lack thereof, but most people do just bounce through life without ever really taking charge towards achieving goals. Entire nations do the same.
I came from a large blue collar family in a blue collar neighborhood and grew up never knowing anyone who went to college or worked in an office. When I turned 15 my mother pulled me aside and told me to get a job on account I was now old enough to pay my own way. I did and had as my sole focus saving the money I needed to put myself through college. By time I graduated I had enough to pay for my 1st two years, and then kept on working during the college years to get the last two paid for. The price I paid was no sports or school clubs as that would conflict with my job, no prom because it cost too much, and not being the best dressed because I wasn’t going to buy the latest fashions. After graduation I found myself in an office setting with other young people who went to big name private colleges that their parents paid for. They had traveled and done things. I had never been on a vacation, nor had I gone to summer camp, and had only eaten in a restaurant once (on the occasion of my parent’s 20th wedding anniversary). . They talked a good story about all they were going to accomplish in their careers and personal lives. It was somewhat intimidating because the things they said were almost too much to hope for and I figured they must just be better than me. So what did I do? I just focused on doing anything and everything the managers asked for, and then more they didn’t ask for. I came in earlier and stayed later than the others. Eventually those others all worked for me. I doubt I was smarter than they were. I was just more focused, or perhaps I concentrated on my goals more than they did.
It is the same focus that got me to be living full time in what had been my bug out 2nd home. This didn’t happen by accident.
All that said, I do like staying up on the current news and hearing what others think, especially when those others are prepper types like me who view the world through a different lens that then average sheeple.