In the nearly 30 years since the accident that made this radio personality and columnist a quadriplegic, Dan Gottlieb has developed a finely tuned quality of awareness that most people never achieve. He became an outsider among us—“like a foreign correspondent,” as he puts it—and here, Dan shares his insights into what it means to be human.
Written with humor, honesty, a gift for storytelling, and breathtaking compassion, Learning from the Heart looks at what divides as well as unites us: the problems of family life; difficulties confronting today’s parents; challenges faced by the disabled and the aging; and issues of injustice that affect the way we understand the world and our lives.
You have to love a self-help book that extols doing nothing: “The truth is,” says Gottlieb, “if we become comfortable with who we are rather than who we think we should be, then we will be less insecure.” As a therapist, Gottlieb frequently sees people who are convinced that changing themselves or their circumstances would lead to happiness. Gottlieb disagrees. A columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and author of Letters to Sam (addressed to his autistic grandson), Gottlieb also happens to be quadriplegic, which makes him somewhat of an expert in self-acceptance. And while he says his condition has taught him to listen, learn and care deeply, one senses Gottlieb is a born mensch and a man with a big heart. Warm, wise, compassionate, humble and often funny, he displays not a shred of self-pity or false modesty. Best of all, his message has the unmistakable ring of truth to it: love rather than change yourself or anyone else. “Trying to change others is about intolerance, which is at the core of so much enmity. We cannot find peace unless we are trying to help others find peace also.” (Mar.) — Publishers Weekly