7 Lessons of Extraordinary Resilience from Lee Woodruff

“When bad things happen, we all dream of rewinding the tape…but we can’t so we do the only thing we can:  we take those bad things and turn them into situations we can learn from.  It’s human nature to try to pan for gold, to find a positive slant in something so negative because anything less would feel like defeat.”  Lee Woodruff, Perfectly Imperfect

Lee Woodruff dropped into my life unexpectedly.  We were both speakers at an event raising funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  Within minutes of meeting her, we were sharing stories, laughing, and exchanging email addresses.  Some people have that incredible gift to connect with people in an authentic way that makes you feel you’ve known them all your life.

If you were to read only about Lee’s successes, you would think she never had a problem in the world:

 

  • Contributing editor for CBS This Morning
  • Author of three books
  • Mother of four beautiful children
  • Married to one of the world’s top journalists
  • Author of numerous articles published in magazines such as Redbook, Prevention, Country Living and Health
  • Co-founder of a foundation to help wounded servicemen

 

We so often read about people who are wildly successful, and think they are somehow different.  In some way, the world only showers good things on them.

That’s not the case with Lee.  We all remember when her husband, talented news anchor Bob Woodruff suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq.  Only a month after succeeding Peter Jennings at ABC, it changed the Woodruff’s lives.

Karin Slaughter on Setting, Procrastination and the Importance of Libraries

When I first met my now good friend Karin Slaughter several years ago, I’m not sure what I was expecting.  All of her books are nail-biting thrillers.

The night before I met her, one of her books kept me up all night.  Her expertise in crime scenes, forensics and police procedure is carefully woven into compelling stories designed to keep you turning pages.  I guess I pictured a wild-eyed, half-crazed author with blood splattered on her shirt.  Instead, I discovered someone who was warm, irreverent and spontaneously funny.

Karin’s writing talent regularly lands her at the top of the New York Times bestselling lists.  Her many books have sold tens of millions of copies around the world.

Karin’s latest book is called Criminal. 

Heading Out to Wonderful

By all accounts, Robert Goolrick has lived a difficult life.  Writing the word “difficult” doesn’t begin to do justice to some of the horrors he experienced as a child.  The depth of family dysfunction in his childhood is impossible to communicate in a few words.  He wrote a detailed account of these depths in his first published book, The End of the World as We Know It.  Pick your poison and he tasted it:  neglect, sexual abuse, alcoholic parents, not to mention the filth, the rats, the despair.

Robert overcame all these obstacles and went on to become an advertising executive and then a best-selling author.  His book A Reliable Wife was a #1 New York Times bestseller and was widely praised by critics.  When I asked him how he overcame such great odds, he credited a strong imagination and strong interior life. 

The Prolific Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley has written more than 34 acclaimed books, including the bestselling mystery series starring Easy Rawlins of Devil in a Blue Dress fame. Throughout his career, he’s also been the recipient of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. His work has been seen on the page, on the big screen, on the theater stage and soon on the small screen (He’s teaming up with Jonathan Demme to co-write a pilot for HBO based on his newest private eye, Leonid McGill). I caught up with Walter when he was visiting Nashville to promote the paperback publication of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.

What It Is To Be A Good American

Alex George’s A Good American is a book you may not have heard of yet.  If not, you undoubtedly will.  It is a spectacularly written novel receiving rave reviews, and it continues to pick up steam.  In recent weeks, the book has been named:

  • #1 Pick for Indie Next List, February 2012.
  • Amazon “Best Books of the Month” List February 2012
  • Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, Spring 2012
  • Barnes & Noble Top Staff Pick for Fiction, February 2012
  • Midwest Connection Pick, February 2012
  • #1 “Title to Pick Up Now” for O Magazine, February 2012