Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Review: What I Learned When I Almost Died

Gripping would be a way to describe Chris Licht's book, What I Learned When I Almost Died: How a maniac TV producer put down his BlackBerry and started to live his life. The fact that the author was 38, the same age I am now, when his world was turned upside down by a brain hemorrhage, was chilling.

At 162 pages, this book is an amazingly fast read. Bouncing between the morning he found himself at George Washington Hospital's Emergency Room in Washington, D.C. and the years building up to his career, marriage, and overall life, the story is fast and intense. Very much like the life Licht lived, and still does.

Very much in the style of Tuesday's with Morrie, the book is a concise way to remind yourself that in the end, the big picture matters. Ratings, promotions, emails, all mean very little when you think you may not live long enough for you children to have a memory of you.

The title was a bit misleading in my opinion. The book is more a resume and timeline for Licht. From what I could tell, there was no fundamental shift in how he lived his life before and after the hemorrhage. He even writes that his wife had hoped he'd have a more profound change in his behavior after facing death and walking away. At times the book hints of name dropping and resume posturing. Maybe I've lived away from the East Coast too long, but it detracted from a much more powerful message. Still, it is worth a read. Just be prepared to worry about aneursyms for a while after you finish the book.

No comments: