Today Show cohost Kotb (Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee) tells the remarkable stories of six people who overcame trials and tragedies to become successful and happy individuals. A decade after the events that rocked their lives, Kotb interviewed each subject about how the passage of time had healed them and changed their perspective. Amy Barnes transformed herself from a 490-pound victim of domestic violence into a bodybuilding personal trainer and public speaker. Patrick Weiland, a television producer, spiraled out of control after he was diagnosed with HIV, and subsequently became addicted to crystal meth. But following the horrific murder of his sister and the realization that “he could not put his family through another catastrophic loss,” he resolved to turn his life around. Ron Clifford managed to escape the September 11 attacks only to learn that his sister, Ruth, and four-year-old niece, Juliana, had been on United Flight 175, the second plane to hit the towers. Ten years later, Clifford discusses coping with PTSD and finding closure after testifying against 9/11 mastermind Zacarias Moussaoui. Sobering and inspiring tales in their own right, Kotb’s journalistic acumen makes this collection all the more moving. Agent: Mel Berger, William Morris Endeavor. (Jan.)
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Through years of perseverance, purpose, and passion, Hoda Kotb landed a spot with Kathie Lee on the Today show, won numerous journalism awards, and gained valuable life lessons. Now, after captivating audiences in her blockbuster memoir Hoda, she turns to stories about others who have undergone personal transformation against great odds.
In Ten Years Later, Hoda chronicles six amazing stories by identifying a game-changing event in her subjects' lives and then revisiting those lives a decade later. We meet Amy Barnes, who took the leap to escape an abusive relationship, lost an astounding 340 pounds, and now encourages women like her to cultivate their mental and physical strength. There's also Ron Clifford, a civilian hero of 9/11, who saved the life of a burn victim in the wreckage of the towers-only to learn the same day that his beloved sister and niece were passengers on Flight 175. Patrick Weiland, a former network producer who won a Peabody at age twenty-two and later spiraled into drug addition, demonstrates the power of a second chance.
Ten Years Later is a firsthand testament to the enduring power of the human spirit. Through inspirational life stories, Hoda shows how adversity can unleash our best qualities: resilience, perseverance, gratitude, empathy, and creativity. This book will inspire you to believe in the future, no matter how dark the present, and tap into the ability to reach your highest potential.
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Perfect for anyone who needs a boost.
Amazing and inspiring stories.
I thought the book was fabulous.
Fantastic. It’s a great book.
It’s such a great book…there’s a universal quality to these stories."
Remarkable…Tons of inspirational stories.
"Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives, stands out as a wrenching, heartfelt inspiration to better yourself in 2013….These stories could easily tip over into maudlin territory, but Kotb’s journalistic skills and her co-author and pal Jane Lorenzini’s voice keep the tone smart and gripping.
The book is filled with these great and wonderful reminders of the capacity of a human being to overcome incredible adversity…A great, great, great reminder of a great country and a great people, and [Hoda] is one of them."
"A thoughtful and inspiring book."
Today Show fourth-hour co-host Kotb (Hoda, 2010) tells the story of six people who faced extraordinary challenges in life and turned their lives around. The stories are heartbreaking. One woman's partner physically abused her for many years before she found the courage to stand up to him. After she broke away from him to regain custody of her children, she lost 325 pounds through exercise and diet. She now travels around the country talking to victims of domestic abuse. The second story is that of a young woman who fought two cancers and managed to preserve her fertility through freezing her eggs. Horrified that no doctor or nurse had discussed that option with her, she founded a nonprofit that raises awareness about fertility options for cancer patients. Another devastating story is that of a man who lost his sister on 9/11 at the exact same moment he was helping a burning woman stay alive. One story that does not fit with the others is that of Roxanne Quimby, founder of Burt's Bees. In the afterword, Kotb writes that Quimby went from "organic rags to riches." While that is true, Quimby says that her poverty was a product of her own doings, as she chose to live in the forest to grow her own food. While Quimby is accomplished, it seems disrespectful and odd to put her story alongside those who faced challenges the world threw at them without giving them a choice. Despite the subjects' inspiring stories, the author fails to create a sense of purpose.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
Read an Excerpt
Ever asked it? With your nose pressed up against a mental crystal ball, your eyes squinting and your heart pounding, have you ever asked:
What will happen if I . . . ?
Fill in the blank: get a divorce, win the lottery, am diagnosed with cancer, quit my job, suddenly lose someone I love.
We’ve all wondered about a what-if and wished for time’s guidance. We want time to say to us, “Yep, you’ve made the right decision.” Or “Everything’s going to work out just fine.” But (hmph!) time won’t tell. Not until we take a first step. Time then takes over, slowly turning our what-ifs into realities. The days, months, and years eventually reveal, like a Polaroid, a clear picture of how significant events and decisions ultimately shape our lives.
From time to time, I’ll look back through the personal journals I’ve scribbled in throughout my life, the keepers of my raw thoughts and emotions. The words poured forth after my dad died, when I went through a divorce, and after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. There are so many what-ifs scribbled on those pages. I was desperate to know whether one day I would feel happy again, that I would find love again, that I would survive. How intriguing to look back at those past fears now that I have the benefit of hindsight. It made me think, What if I asked other people to take a look back at their greatest challenges with a decade’s worth of perspective? What an interesting concept for a book. Plenty of us, including me, have struggled to take a first step toward an uncertain future. We’ve all prayed for the patience required to heal our pain, one excruciating day at a time. We’ve all wondered, in our darkest hours, how life could possibly change for the better.
Ten Years Later is about the journey six extraordinary people take with time. Each has experienced a game-changing event—perhaps a life-threatening illness or a catastrophic personal loss. Some of the challenges will make you wonder how the person got through the next ten minutes. Others will make you think a lifetime wouldn’t be enough to overcome the damage done. Following the game changer, you’ll find out what steps (or missteps) each person took and how each has fared over the next ten years. Did her decision turn out to be wise? How did he navigate the pain? Has she truly changed? Throughout the book, Time curls its pointer finger, beckoning Curiosity, “Come with me. See where I took this life.”
In my own life, I’ve had numerous personal and professional game changers. Some broke my heart, others made me braver. One of the earliest game changers happened along an interstate. In 1987, I was driving around the Southeast in my mom’s car, looking for my first job out of college. I had a degree in communications from Virginia Tech and a twenty-minute videotape résumé. I bought a new green suit for the one interview I so ignorantly assumed it would take to land a television reporting job in Richmond, Virginia. Well, I was off by about six suits and a hundred TV market rankings. Richmond told me no. Memphis said no. Three nos from Birmingham. My résumé tape got ejected from VCR after VCR, and my one day on the road turned into eight, then nine, then ten. “No, sorry.” The maddening cycle of ejection, rejection, and dejection started in Virginia and continued all the way down through the Florida panhandle. A total of twenty-seven news directors told me no. I was devastated. My dream of working in TV news was now looking more like a career in public relations. I turned the car around and headed north back toward Virginia. And then, somewhere in Mississippi, I took a wrong turn. GPS systems and cell phones did not exist; I was officially lost. As I drove around looking for a way to get back on track, I noticed a billboard for WXVT featuring the CBS Eye. The station was located in Greenville, a TV market I hadn’t considered. I figured, What do I have to lose? I drove to Greenville, digging deep for one last shred of hope. That very day, Stan Sandroni was promoted from WXVT’s sports director to news director, and he agreed to see me. In went my résumé tape, and out came the words I so desperately wanted to hear.
“Hoda, I like what I see.”
My wrong turn turned out to be one of the best mistakes I’ve ever made. Stan hired me after nearly thirty other people would not. Gutting out the challenge of rejection paid off. That chance meeting would prove to be a game changer in my life.
Ten Years Later profiles six people who’ve faced a series of life’s game changers and challenges—abuse, illness, addiction, grief, job loss. These people didn’t just fight their way through adversity, they forged better lives because of the battle. Their journeys are measured in the very small steps that painstakingly result in change and the big, bold leaps of faith that launch dreams. The book is meant to inspire you, wow you, motivate you, and move you—and maybe even do all those things within the same chapter. In the pages ahead, the courageous people who share their life stories have done so in hopes of enriching yours—now or ten years later.