Monday, November 7, 2011

Letters to Sam

Author:       Daniel Gottlieb
Published:   2008
Paperback: 176 pages

There is a saying, "If life gives you a lemon make lemonade out of it".
This very well applies to Daniel Gottlieb, the author of this book who is a psychologist. At a young age of thirty three, an accident made him quadriplegic and confined to a wheel chair for life. But in spite of this debilitating disability, he tried hard and developed a tremendous mental strength which enabled him to develop his career as a successful psychologist over the last thirty years. He has counseled and helped people to deal with their mental agony through his consulting sessions, articles and books and also as a talk show host.
In this book he shares his perspectives on life as observed from his wheelchair .He says his clients, his talk show audience and the readers of his articles have taught him "a great deal about courage, longing, and what it means to be human'. And these perspectives and the lessons he learnt  he wants to pass on to his grandson Sam who suffers from an autistic disorder. Each of the thirty odd chapters in this book  is in form of a letter to Sam. They are lessons on - perfection, kindness, love, compassion, frustrations, desires, justice, happiness, peace, loss, gifts of life, death etc. All these letter try and answer the question "What it means to be human?".

There is another saying - "The best things in life come in small packages".
This slim pocket-sized book is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. Chapters are short, simple and touches your heart.
In a very reassuring manner it motivates the readers to accept the reality of their suffering and effectively deal with it.
A must-read for everyone especially for long suffering patients and their caregivers !

Look forward to reading its sequel "The Wisdom of Sam".

P.S. While reading this book I was reminded of  Hrithik Roshan's character in the Hindi film "Guzaarish". It has Hrithik  Roshan playing a quadriplegic who as a Radio Jockey spreads hope and laughter among his listeners. May be this character was partly based on Daniel Gottlieb who hosts a very popular talk show "Voices in the Family".

  1. Daniel Gottlieb's Website
  2. Excerpts from the book : Two chapters - Lap Time & Give Kindness a Chance
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