Growing Bolder Radio Show
with Mark Middleton and Bill Shafer
May 12, 2012
Transcript provided by:
Speech text Access LLC
>>MARK / BILL: I am Mark Middleton along with Bill Shafer, and this is Growing Bolder. In the next hour, a fascinating conversation with the most famous autistic person alive today; she is that, an author, speaker and HBO even made a movie about her. We will visit with Temple Grandin. Also we will talk to the man who has been compared to Hemingway and Mark Twain who has just written his best book yet.
>>BILL: Is it possible to think like Leonardo de Vinci? One of today’s top brain experts will tell us exactly how to do that. And from de Vinci to William Tell, we’ll meet an 85-year-old national champion in archery. Then a lively conversation with a group of women whose search for something to get them off the couch got them hooked on kickboxing. This is Growing Bolder.
>>BILL: Sometimes in life it is not so much about what you know, but who you know. At least that can be a big help in getting your foot in the door. But once you get through, if you want to stay in the game, you will need as much talent and skill if not more, than anybody else.
>>MARK: I know where you are going with this. For a long time the country knew our next guest, mainly because she was best friends with the most famous woman in the world. Now she has stepped into the national spotlight on her own. Along with Charlie Rose and Erica Hill, she is the host of CBS This Morning. I can’t wait to say hi to the very talented and smoking hot Gayle King. Hey Gayle, how are you?
>>GAYLE: I like that introduction, talented and smoking hot.
>>BILL: That needs to be part of the CBS This Morning show.
>>GAYLE: I don’t know if they’ll go for that. I was thinking I would like to talk to people who are over 50 and active.
>>BILL: That is us and that is our audience. First of all, congratulations on the work you are doing. How do you like that early morning gig?
>>GAYLE: I like your introduction of getting your foot in the door. I have been anchoring the news for a very long time. I anchored the news at a station in Connecticut, a CBS station in Hartford for 18 years, and before that I was three years in Kansas City. Before that I was in Washington DC. So I’ve worked for very long time. But you raise a good point. Most people, unless you live in Connecticut or Kansas City and watched me on the news, you would only know me as Oprah’s friend.
>>BILL: You had such a fascinating view of one of the most meteoric rises that anybody could hope for. I’m talking about Oprah. You knew her before she barely had two nickels to rub together. The toughest thing for anything for anybody to handle in life is great success, and you have had your share as well. How did you do that?
>>GAYLE: Here’s the thing. I think if you have a strong sense of who you are, I don’t think money and fame changes you. If you were a jerk before that happened to you, then money and success only makes you a bigger jerk. For me, I’ve also always been a happy kid since I was little. It takes me a lot to get upset and a lot to tick me off. There is a book that says you are who you are when you’re in kindergarten at the age of five. There’s a lot of truth to that.
>>BILL: One of the reasons we love you is you are great TV.
<Speaking over each other>
>>BILL: You are interesting. You are articulate. You look good. With that said, you are in your late 50s, and it is exciting to see someone whose career is still continuing to rise at that age. Especially as a woman, because you know better than anyone else, that that doesn’t happen a lot in your industry.
>>GAYLE: Until you just said that, I’m in my late 50s, I never think of it that way. You’re right I am 57. I keep waiting for this grown up adult feeling to kick in, because honestly I feel 38 maybe 39. I never think of me as someone who is in my late 50s. My daughter said to me recently, she is 25; she said, “You are working harder now than you ever did. Aren’t you supposed to be slowing down?” And my response was, “Isn’t it great that I don’t have to slowdown?” That is what I think is the beauty of living in the time I am living in now. We really do have all sorts of options. Life is always changing and you never know what the next chapter can be. So I guess if you can look at it as starting another chapter, I am doing that. That this opportunity would come to me at this stage in my life, but I have to say I had a little wince when you said late 50s. Because I remember when my mom, who is no longer with me, she died when I was turning 40, I remember when she turned 50. When she died she was 61. I thought when she turned 50 she was old. And now that I’m 57…. I remember there was a time when if you said somebody was in their late 50s, I would have thought they were an old person. And now that I am that, I don’t feel old at all.
>>BILL: We’re speaking with Gayle King from CBS This Morning and I didn’t mean to make you wince, but we all feel the same way. We feel we are our 30s and 40s. Don’t you think that is part of our responsibility now? To own up how old we are because there is nothing wrong with being 57. Especially when you’re 57 like Gayle King.
>>GAYLE: I never run from it. When people ask me my age, I never shy about saying how old I am. Because I’m actually really proud to be this age and feel the way I feel and look the way I look. I am very proud of that. But until you said that, I never thought of late 50s. When I turned 50 I got the AARP magazine. They sent me a subscription, and I called them and said please take me off your list. I’m not ready for the AARP magazine yet.
>>MARK: Part of the reason we dig people like you is because you are unintentionally inspirational. You aren’t trying to stand up and say look at me, be like me.
>>GAYLE: I love what you just said; unintentionally inspirational. Honest to God I am so happy to be here, and by that I mean on the planet Earth. To wake up every morning and feel really excited and energized about what you’re doing. Can you imagine what a drag it would be to get up every day and hate your job? And think, oh God, I have to go to work today. I will leave here and head up over the Oprah magazine; that is my other job. And I will be there till seven or 7:30 at night. I am so glad that I have something to do. And love doing both of them.
>>BILL: You could play it totally safe Gayle. You could keep your head low and have halfway decent jobs half the way through. But you’re taking risks even now. You had a show on the Oprah network. You took a risk leaving that behind and jumping to CBS. Were you not afraid about doing that?
>>GAYLE: No I wasn’t afraid at all about taking this job because I believe in life, you have to take risks. I’m not an advocate of taking foolish risks. I won’t do something that is totally cuckoo for Cocoa puffs, but I believe in life you have to take a risk. I had great faith in this organization. I have faith in my abilities, but I also know…. Listen, CBS hasn’t been number one since Capt. Kangaroo. So we have nowhere to go but up. I was very flattered and honored to be included or considered for part of this team. I’m working with Charlie Rose and he is over 50 also. I’m working with Charlie Rose, who is an icon in the business; Erica Hill, who I’d seen on TV. I think they came with a great combination of different personalities, and set us all at the table. And we each come with something unique and different to the combination. I have to say, so far so good. Was I worried? No, I wanted to do well and I want to work hard to make it so, but I wasn’t nervous about it. I was excited.
>>MARK: It is a great team, and you are real and that is what makes you work. Bill and I are both refugees from local news. We quit because we got tired of being part of the nightly crime report. I hope you’ll tell us something we want to hear. You are a media mogul. We have a television show that is on 564 stations nationwide, on public broadcasting, and we still have trouble finding corporate sponsors for it. People that want to…we have a great connection with a great powerful audience. Why do the decision-makers in major corporations and some media organizations have disrespect for the 50 something demographic?
>>GAYLE: That is interesting to me, that way of thinking. I went to the doctor yesterday and had a physical. She said, “Gayle, you are in the prime of your life”. And I thought really, I am in the prime? We have gotten to the stage where we have put so much focus on the18 to 35 crowd. Many times you are still figuring yourself out. I would like to think, by the time you hit 40 to 50, you have a general sense of who you are and know what your capabilities are. And you are in a pretty good income earning bracket. I don’t understand the thinking of why younger is better, or more vibrant. I do think that is changing somewhat.
>>MARK: We have struggled. We get accolades from programmers. We make connections with audiences. But people that we talk to and corporations say, you are not our primary demographic. So they will send their money elsewhere.
>>GAYLE: We are a huge group of baby boomers.
>>MARK: We are reaching a tipping point. Tell us what your passions are to date Gayle, outside of work. We know you work with Oprah magazine and TV. What gets you excited?
>>GAYLE: This is funny. I just said the other day. I went to Tyler Perry’s house over the weekend. He is amazing. Oprah and I went. She has some kids here from South Africa. We went to Atlanta to see his latest “Madea” play. We stayed at Tyler’s house and he collects airplanes. The little model airplanes. He has a huge collection of these model airplanes. Oprah and I both thought we needed a hobby. Whenever anybody asks what my hobby is I say, “Fine dining”. I asked if there was anything I could collect or do. When people ask what I am passionate about, I say, “TV, eating, traveling, laying in the sun.” I thought I needed a hobby. I love music. I went to Bruce Springsteen’s concert the other day. At Madison Square Garden’s. Someone else over 50; he is jumping around the stage at the age of 62.
>>MARK: It must be good to be Gayle King. We know you aren’t dropping names. We got Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey, and Bruce Springsteen. Gayle King, thank you so much for your time. Congratulations on all your successes. We will definitely be tuning in to CBS This Morning, to check you out. <music>
>>MARK: Coming up, a group of grandmothers who decided they are willing to fight to stay fit. Hi, this is Mark Middleton along with Bill Shaefer. We would like to point out that it is never too late to try something new, to get involved in something you like or just to pursue your interests. And now we will take you out to meet a couple of folks who will convince you that if they can do it, so can you.
First up is a good guy named Bob Worrell. And he doesn’t move very quickly these days. He is kind of a quiet guy. But Bob has always had a keen eye for the things he likes in life. He loves to compete, and as he got older he became more and more interested in the sport of archery. This was before all of the fascination with the “Hunger Games”. For a long time he did it for the fun of it. He even set up an archery range in his own backyard. But he began to realize he had a pretty good eye for arrows. When he discovered there was an archery division in the senior games, he signed right up. The result was archery’s version of the shot heard round the world.
->>REPORTER: He takes aim, steady eye, smooth release. And where did it go?
>>BOB: Right in the middle. I can tell when they don’t make any noise.
>>REPORTER: Things have been pretty quiet for Bob Worrell lately. When one of the oldest sports known to man, one of the oldest men ever to play the sport did something remarkable. Not only did he win the gold medal in the National Senior Games, but he also set a new world record; at the age of 85.
>>BOB: For my age that is pretty good.
>>REPORTER: Guess you could call Worrell a late bloomer. He was in his 30s when he tried archery for the first time and he’s been hitting the bull’s-eye ever since.
>>BOB: It a challenge. It is pretty nice to direct the arrows to where you would like to see them. Needless to say it is a job to do.
>>REPORTER: It is a challenge he never gets tired of. Forget about the golf course. If you are looking for Worrell, here is where you’ll find him? His back yard range.
>>BOB: I shoot maybe an hour, or hour and a half every day, and sometimes longer.
>>REPORTER: He works to keep his keen concentration, a steady hand and sharp eye.
>>BOB: The name of the game is sighting. You want to get a bow that you pull back and hold it steady. And aim and aim until you are on it, and then release it.
>>REPORTER: What makes his accomplishments even more amazing, he shoots the most difficult style of archery there is. Bare bow.
>>BOB: I don’t have any visual aids at all. The bow has no sight, no release triggers. I have to aim, hold, concentrate on hitting the spot and hope it works.
>>REPORTER: It has been working great so far. All the practice has not only helped him set archery records, but maybe even account for his healthy the medical records.
>>BOB: That is what the doctors want to know. They say, “I hope I can live to be as old as you are, and as active”. I’ve had two or three tell me that.
>>REPORTER: Doctors aren’t the one only ones who can learn from Bob Worrell.
>>BOB: You get to thinking about how long it will go on. The next Senior Games is two years from now. That is in California. Maybe I will never make it. That is the reason you never know what you can accomplish starting out. You can’t do that sitting still. Make an effort.
>>MARK: I love that story. That is Bob Worrell. At the age of 85, not only is he the oldest archer to participate in the National Senior Games, but has won the gold medal and is a national record holder. If you’re just a seemingly ordinary person who has never been overly athletic or been able to have a great sense of accomplishment, it is never too late to set some goals for yourself. And make your mark on the world. That should give us all hope. That it is never too late to do the same.
>>BILL: Sometimes you just need a push to get you going. Once you get out of the chair and into the world, you never really know where the current will take you. That is what happened with this next group of women who call themselves the “kick boxing grannies”. They have a similar story. They needed to do some sort of exercise, but they couldn’t get motivated until they joined a local gym and signed up for a kick boxing aerobics class.
>>REPORTER: Spend some time at this workout class and you will never look at aging the same way again. These women are here to get in shape. And they are willing to fight to do it.
>>WOMAN: Learn how to protect yourself. Kick, without falling down that is.
>>REPORTER: They are battling their way to better health using basic martial arts. The kind you use in kick boxing, and it is working for women of all ages.
>>WOMAN: Everyone thinks exercise is really hard, and I did too. What you need is accountability. Coming to a class where there are other people, or getting a personal trainer has really helped. I am finding out when I’m accountable to somebody then I’m doing it. I won’t push myself like I am pushed.
>>REPORTER: The man doing the pushing in this program is Tim Wright. He is a black belt himself and a celebrated kick boxer. As much as he is motivating them, they have inspired him.
>>TIM: It keeps me motivated to stay fit. We can break new boundaries. We are breaking them every day. Since our life expectancy is getting longer, it’s not just being alive but having a healthy physical life, mental life. When they get in the door and see they can do it, they get empowered. They really feel strong about themselves. And see results. They see their flexibility changes.
>>WOMAN: The doctor said, “Stay active all your life”. I took him at his word. I just never stopped.
>>REPORTER: Isn’t this the time to be winding down? Not doing things like this?
>>WOMAN: I did that and I didn’t feel good. I was depressed. I had anxiety, and I gained weight. Now I am feeling better mentally and physically.
>>REPORTER: The best news is that finding a place to take a kickboxing exercise class near you is getting easier all the time.
>>TIM: It is interesting, funny, but also mind blowing. It is getting more common than you think. It’s everywhere. There’s a person like me in almost every gym in the country doing this. It’s just getting out there.
>>REPORTER: If there’s one message to take away, what would it be?
>>TIM: Don’t stop moving. <music>
>>BILL: I would like to tell you about something that happened to us recently that was really revealing. The topic of aging really has become a hot button issue and programs like this are part of the reason why. The people we have on this show are all redefining what being over 40 and 50 really is about. This isn’t just news for any people with a few years under their belt. It is important news for anyone of any age. Because of that we get a lot of requests for speaking engagements. And Mark had one that was just amazing. It was full of business people, entrepreneurs, people who think out-of-the-box and see nothing but possibilities when they look at the opportunities of life.
>>MARK: It was a lot of fun and you are talking about a talk that was sponsored by one of the top graduate business schools in the nation, The Crummer Business School at Rollins College. No sooner had I begun that I realized everyone in the audience was smiling. They got it. They understood how much potential still exists in all of us, even after the age of 40 or 50 or 80. The potential is there to start a whole new business, to embark on a new career, and maximize the knowledge and experience that we all have in some exciting and fulfilling ways. They were interested to hear the Growing Bolder story, because our story does offer hope and inspiration to people of all ages.
Our story at Growing Bolder is about taking risks, finding ways to do what you believe in and the things you are passionate about doing. And ultimately our message is about patience and perseverance. Growing Bolder is something we started 10 years ago. We still feel we’re at the very beginning of where we want to go. Was it a huge risk? Absolutely, we all walked away from great jobs. Was it worth it? Absolutely. That is what everyone in the auditorium understood. Life is about challenges. Life is about taking risks. You stand the best chance of meeting those challenges and taking advantage of those risks, if you take a step and start growing bolder. <music>
>>BILL: Coming up, do you know what made de Vinci such a genius? Michael Gelb does, and he will tell you how to put a little de Vinci into your life next. I am Bill Shafer with Mark Middleton and this is Growing Bolder. The show where we take all those preconceived notions and misconceptions you have about getting older and we trash them to bits. Right now we will take on the biggest fallacies of all and that is the belief that as you get older your brain simply wears out. That your memory starts to go and there’s nothing you can do about it.
>>MARK: And we don’t want to take our word for it which is why we sought out a true pioneer in the fields of creative thinking, accelerated learning and innovative leadership. We are not the only ones who are impressed. He regularly leads seminars for DuPont, Microsoft and Nike, and he’s written a book that will absolutely blow your mind. Or at least sharpen it some. It is called “Brain Power: Improve Your Mind as You Age”. Let’s say hello to Michael Gelb.
>>MIKE: Great, thank you very much
>>MARK: We often talk to accomplished master’s athletes on these shows and these guys are doing amazing things. No matter how hard they work and many of them do it full-time, there are times their performances do seem to deteriorate over time. It makes sense that the brain would do the same thing, are we wrong about that?
>>MIKE: Yes, you are wrong.
>>MARK: That is great news
>>MIKE: Let’s lay it on the line right up front. I’m about to turn 60. I’ve been teaching this kind of material for the last 30 years or more. Now it is really serious.
>>MARK: It is hitting home, isn’t it?
>>MIKE: Yes I just had a total knee replacement. You know why? Because my knee wore out. I used it a lot. I played a lot of tennis and basketball. Two years ago I had hip replacement. Parts of us do wear out over time. The good news is we can replace some of those parts like knees and hips. But even better news is that the brain doesn’t wear out with use. As a matter of fact it is designed to improve with use.
>>MARK: Wow. I think 10 years ago you would’ve answered this question more concisely and clearly. <laugh> Does science back that up, or is it just anecdotal from what you’ve learned?
>>MIKE: This is the really good news. 30 years ago I was teaching this and was ahead of the curve on science. We all grow up with what I call the neuro static paradigm. Based on the science of the 50s we believed that the brain’s capacity was fixed at age 5, and after age 30 it would begin to decline. And there was nothing we could do about it. In the last 30 years there has been a paradigm shift, a complete revolution. Science now confirms that your brain is designed to improve with use. The term is neural plasticity. And neural means brain cells and plasticity means flexible, changeable and adaptable. In interviewing neuroscientist for brain power, there was a consensus that the paradigm has shifted. Your brain was designed to improve with use. The only real question is what is the best use? That is why wrote the book. To try to present the research, validated, practical, simple things that the average person can do to improve their mind with age.
>>MARK: It is obvious we need to do it. Let us learn what you have learned and written about in “Brain Power”. As you have said, the good news is the brain can get better with age. The reality is for most people it doesn’t. Either they are not doing something or they are eating the wrong things or whatever it is. What can we do?
>>MIKE: The first thing is to change your attitude dramatically. To really integrate into your everyday behavior and orientation, this notion of neural plasticity. It does become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Dr. Becca Levy studied 650 people over the course of many years. Those with a positive attitude toward aging outlived those with a negative attitude on aging by more than 7 1/2 years on average. Attitude makes a tremendous difference. I tell people the reason I put the chapter on positive attitude, on optimism, on embracing gratitude, forgiveness, humor every single day is, if you have that positive attitude, you are more likely to do everything else I tell you to do in the book. And you’re strengthening your immune system on a daily basis. We now know through the discipline of psycho neural immunology, your attitude affects your immune system moment to moment. It also affects your alertness and your memory.
The second principle that we introduce in the book is the importance of continuous learning. Learning something new everyday, challenging your brain. All it takes is 15 minutes. Professor Joe Verghese, classic study, New England Journal of Medicine, found this the very best activities for people to strengthen their minds as they get older, and prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. Mental sports like chess and bridge, learning a musical instrument or new language. Some German researchers found that learning to juggle 15 minutes a day for three months resulted in significant improvement in the development of both the gray and white matter of the adult brain. The juggling experiment is significant because it not only validates something I always felt intuitively, having worked my way through graduate school as professional juggler, it was one of the benchmark studies in creating this new paradigm. What changed in the last 30 years is technology. All of a sudden we could look at your brain on MRI and see that when you learn something new like juggling or playing chess or bridge, your brain was changing. We didn’t know this was possible. What if you don’t want to learn to play chess or juggle? The real core seems to be something new or unfamiliar or something challenging 15 minutes a day. That isn’t too much to ask to improve your mind as you get older.
>>MARK: We are a society that would much rather take a pill and let that do it for us. You hear a lot about supplements out there that make you sharper. Do those things work?
>>MIKE: I think you’re right. People want to look for the Viagra of the mind. Nutrition is really important. I tried to get to the essence. I asked neuroscientists what they take, what supplements do they take. Multivitamins, multiminerals on a daily basis. It is worth looking into probiotics, D3, fish oil. It is pretty simple, strong research validation to all of these things. As well as just some dietary practices that will enrich the quality of your life. Like taking time to be mindful and enjoy dining. Share a meal with someone you like or love on a regular basis. Some of the best news my readers are thrilled to hear is there is reams of research that, in moderation red wine and dark chocolate are really good for you. As is that cup coffee in the morning.
>>MARK: That is outstanding news. There’s a whole lot more out there. Folks, it is in of book called “Brain Power”. It is written by the very compelling, Michael Gelb. I wish we had more time. We would like to get you back on because we have many more questions. Thanks for spreading the good news, and folks check out the book. It is a good read. <music>
Up next he’s been described as a cross between Hemingway and Twain. But it wasn’t until he was diagnosed with prostate cancer that one of America’s best storytellers tells his most heartfelt story. Welcome back to Growing Bolder radio. We are your hosts, Mark Middleton and Bill Shafer, and this segment is for everyone of us because sooner or later, unfortunately, we are all most likely going to have that experience of having a doctor look at us very earnestly and say, I am sorry there is something that is not quite right.
>>BILL: That is what happened to our next guest. As a matter fact, right before he turned 65 the doctor told him he had prostate cancer, and that led to 46 intensive radiation treatments. Interestingly he happens to be an accomplished author. Consider the greatest storyteller in America today, the closest thing we have to a living, breathing Mark Twain type. He decided to create what has turned out to be a wonderful, warm, funny and insightful look into life in a book called the “Great Northern Express; A Nice Journey Home”. Let’s say hi to Howard Frank Mosher.
>>HOWARD: Thank you very much. I’m delighted to be here
>>BILL: What an interesting inspiration for a book. Tell us about how that turned out.
>>HOWARD: On my way to the post office about five years ago ,expecting as always that I would find a check for $1 million, even though I think the last check I found was a royalty statement for about $18.45. As you said, I discovered a notification from my doctor indicating that my prostate blood work was off. So I had 46 radiation treatments. I decided to do something I wanted to do for a long time. That is set out on a 100 store, 150 city book tour. To visit the independent bookstores of America. And I wrote my new book. Promoted my new book.
>>BILL: That Jack Carowack, thing.
>>HOWARD: ONE of my favorite authors, yes. 50 years ago. I went in a 20-year-old, falling apart Chevy, that I nicknamed the loser cruiser. With 280,000 miles on it. It held up pretty well and I did spend the rest of that summer and into the fall, crisscrossing the country and visiting the great independent bookstores.
>>BILL: Don’t take this the wrong way, but sometimes when bad things happen to great writers, we all benefit from it. You have the ability to share with us your observations, and put in an eloquent way the lessons that we need to learn in our lives. What did you learn from this trip?
>>HOWARD: The trip, besides expanding my limited readership beyond maybe a few thousand readers, gave me an opportunity to think about my life as a writer in northern Vermont. I live in a little remote northeastern corner of Vermont called the Northeast Kingdom and most of my books are set there. As I said in “The Great Northern Express”, the trip gave me an opportunity to reflect on, not only what I loved to die for but what I love to live for. My life in the kingdom, my writing, reading, my family, and in that respect it was a very illuminating trip.
>>BILL: Everybody is always looking for great reads. And I’m telling you folks, you have to look up some of his stories because you have written a dozen books there that are just loved. The Associated Press compared you to the best of Mark Twain. The LA Times said you they combined Hemingway and Thoreau, and they would have you. No one says a thing like that about anybody, yet you are sort of like the undiscovered author out there.
>>HOWARD: The Hemingway and Thoreau quote has always amused me. I love both writers, but I have always wondered what it is in me that motivated someone to compare me to a misanthrope and a drunk.
>>BILL: You answered your own question there.
>>HOWARD: Most of my books are set right here in the Northeast Kingdom. I came here 50 years ago, immediately out of college, thinking I would teach in a local high school for a year or two, save some money and then move on to bigger and better things. What I found was a gold mine of stories nobody had ever told before. Here I still am telling them 50 years later.
>>MARK: It isn’t unusual Frank now that I hear you, that you and Bill Shafer would be kindred spirits. Because he is a three-time storyteller of the year in electronic journalism. It really does seem like storytelling, storytellers; it is kind of Renaissance. People are appreciating stories. What is it about the power of the story that is appealing to not only individuals, but corporations today?
>>HOWARD: I think they connect us to a world that might otherwise be slipping away in this electronic era. Good stories connect us to family. They connect us to nature. You mentioned Mark Twain and Hemingway. It is impossible to imagine Twain without the Mississippi and the natural world or Hemingway without the natural world of fishing and hunting that he wrote about. Good stories often connect us to communities. One of the toughest books I had to write was my novel “Stranger in the Kingdom”,which was about a racist incident that happened just up the street in my tiny village, in northern Vermont. It was the kind of thing you might think would happen in Mississippi in the 1930s but it happened in recent times in Vermont. The story was a connection to a time and a place and an important way of life. That needed to be revealed.
>>BILL: Talking to Howard Frank Mosher, a fantastic author. You need to check out his work. You talk about, in this latest book, you summed up what it was you wanted to fight through your prostate cancer treatments to live for. Now that you are through them, what is life like for you? Is it as fulfilling as you hoped it would be?
>>HOWARD: Yes. I am doing essentially the same thing I have done all my life. I started a couple new novels. I sometimes joke that I write all day and read all night, and I do. One of the great benefits of the book tour was in visiting the terrific independent bookstores of the country where I was able to talk, not just about my new book, but books in general, with independent booksellers who sell books the old-fashioned way which one independent bookstore uses as its model; the independent book sellers read books. What I was given by the diagnosis was something infinitely better than $1 million. I was given some time to continue the things I love to do, read and write. And live in the Northeast Kingdom.
>>BILL: The book is called “The Great Northern Express”. But if you want to experience true storytelling at its best, check out any of the books by Howard Frank Mosher and you are absolutely going to want to read them all. The latest one about how his battle with prostate cancer only increased his resolve to want to live. And once he got better he didn’t just sit there and say here I am. He went on a tour to check out all those places that make the area of this country as individual and as great as it is. Howard Frank Mosher. Thank you very much.
Coming up, she’s the voice of autism all over the world. We will visit with the amazing Temple Grandin. Music.
>>MARK: I am Mark Milton. Bill Shafer’s alongside, and you are listening to one of the most empowering shows on the radio. A little something we call “Growing Bolder”. When our next guest was 4, her mother knew there was something wrong. She rarely uttered a word, she hated to be touched and she would frequently go into a rage. Her parents were told she was brain damaged and recommended moving her to a facility.
>>BILL: That was back in the 50s. We knew nothing about autism back then, but it is so common, chances are you know somebody born with it. Our next guest has gone on to be the most famous autistic person in the world. She is an award-winning author, speaker, professor, PhD and a scientist whose ideas revolutionized the humane handling of livestock. HBO even made a movie about her incredible life that nearly won every award in its category. Hey Doctor, how are you?
>>TEMPLE: It is just wonderful to be here
>>BILL: What a great introduction there. I’m sure there are times when your parents thought what would happen to their little girl?
>>TEMPLE: Well fortunately my mother got some very good advice from a neurologist at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. He recommended speech therapy school, and when I went to speech therapy school she could see I was starting to make some progress. The people who wanted to put me in institutions, she had to fight them off. She could see that I was gradually learning to speak and making progress. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of early educational intervention. If you have a two or three-year-old child that is not talking, sitting and rocking, the worst thing is to do is to do nothing.
>>BILL: Is there a set course for people who have autism? Or is it still if you happen to get the right therapist, you will get the right treatment? That you really have to be careful where you go.
>>TEMPLE: Autism comes in 2 degrees of severity. Very mildly autistic., the kind that are geeks and nerds, like Steve Jobs or Einstein who didn’t talk till age 3. Many schools would label Einstein as autistic. But they have much more severe. No language, some have epilepsy or other medical problems on top of that. You have disorders that range from a benefit for people in Silicon Valley who have some degree of autism. A little bit of autism, you take out the social circuits, you get circuits for figuring out how to build stuff like radio stations.
>>BILL: Dr. Grandin, that no doubt explains, at least to some degree, the title of your latest book. It is called “Different, Not Less”. It takes us into how we can improve the lives of people with autism, aspbergers or even ADHD. You mentioned the importance of early intervention. Can you give us a sense of what the book is about?
>>TEMPLE: The book is 14 stories of people that were diagnosed with autism, aspbergers ,or ADHD later on in life. They mainly got diagnosed later in life because their marriages were having problems. The relationships had problems. But all of the people of the book, and all write in their own words, we had to do a lot of editing, describing their childhood school experiences, early jobs and their employment and their relationships. One of my big concerns now is we have a lot of young people that aren’t learning work skills. All 14 people had childhood jobs. They learned work skills, things like paper routes, working in stores, selling chocolate, Easter candy, and getting out and doing things in the work world. Their lives were difficult. It wasn’t easy. But they had been employed all their lives. I’m a big proponent of getting middle school kids doing some work things. Walk dogs fix computers for people, make reading cards and sell them. Work at a farmers market. Those are all good things for teenage kids to do. This book will be helpful to anybody that has a fully verbal child labeled autism, asperger’s or ADHD, especially when they get into middle school. The title of the book is “Different, Not Less”.
>>BILL: One of the things I hope people do is, I hope everyone reads all of your books. Because they are not really just about one topic, they kind of are fascinating because they are about how we as people think. You see things in such a different way than most of us. I would love to get your thoughts on growing older or aging. Some of us fear it, some of us ignore it and some of us embrace it. How do you see it?
>>TEMPLE: A person with autism is a bottom-up thinker. So you form your conclusions about things by certain internets inside your head. Instead of comparing things you are experiencing now from things in the past. In bottom-up thinking, the more information you fill the database with the better I think. The more web pages I have inside my head, my search engines to surf. HBO movie did a good job of showing people how I think in pictures. Some people think in pictures like me. They are good with things like art or industrial design. I absolutely couldn’t do algebra. Others are good in math. They have trouble in reading. The third type is really good at words. They’d make good journalist. I’ve interviewed some good radio journalists that were on the spectrum. Mathematicians, they are your computer programmers, engineers, physicists and your statisticians.
>>BILL: We are talking with Dr. Temple Grandin, an award-winning, author, speaker, professor, scientist whose life story was told in an award winning HBO film. Dr. Grandin, you make it clear that the last thing we want to do is prevent autism. Why so?
>>TEMPLE: A little bit of it and you have a computer programmer in Silicon Valley or you get van Gogh. I wrote about van Gogh in an earlier book, “Thinking in Pictures”. With too much of it you get a very severe handicap and the genetics of autism is extremely complicated. We’re talking about little variations in the genetic code on many, many different genes. A little bit of the trait, you take up the social and some get an advantage. Who do you think made the first stone spear? It wasn’t the yak, yak social people around the campfire. Too much of the trait and you get a very severe handicap.
>>BILL: What do you say to people autism who say that autism is the result of vaccinations that people shouldn’t have gotten? Is there any truth to that?
>>TEMPLE: There is a very big genetic component of autism, but there is increasing evidence that some environmental insults can interact with the susceptible genetics. We should look at pesticides, plasticides, endrocrine disruptors. They can interfere with reproduction. There is a lot that is not known. There is a big genetic component, but there are some environmental components to on the genetics.
>>BILL: Temple you have already in life done what some of us, all of us aspire to. You have made the world a better place. You have been here on a number of levels. What do you hope the rest of us can learn from the journey that your life has taken you on?
>>TEMPLE: First of all, to achieve something is a lot of hard work. When you’ve read the “Not Less” book, people work really hard to do the things they do. People’s jobs in the book range from the high level computer, doctor, veterinarian, to things like tour guide, and retail store employee. I wanted to have a broad range, another person is psychiatric assistant. So I had broad range of skills. It was hard work. To achieve something is hard work. You have to work on something for a sustained basis, for a long period of time. It doesn’t happen overnight. On my cattle handling stuff, I worked 25 years working on getting people to stop rough handling. I started working with people to design better equipment and then you have to work on managing it right.
>>BILL: Let me interrupt you a second point out to people, you have become such a great inspiration to everybody that we all feel like we know you. And all of your books contain different elements that we can learn about each other in life and about how our minds work. I want to remind people that your latest book is “Different, Not less”. More information is available at TempleGrandin.com. What a great visit. With Dr. Temple Grandin.
It is incredible how fast an hour of can fly by when you’re talking about ways that put the spark back in your life. This is a program where we prove that hope and inspiration are qualities that never fade because opportunities do surround us. No matter what your circumstances, there are changes you can make to lead a more rich and vibrant, fulfilling life.
>>MARK: The fun does not stop there. In the coming weeks, you will hear from more people who are not just talking the talk, they are living their lives in a way that defies conventional wisdom. People who are getting everything out of life they can. Like 70-year-old NASCAR driver, Morgan Shepherd. And how about retired math teacher Nadine O’Connor, who is in the Masters Track Hall of Fame, and in her 70s and is kicking butt? People still setting goals, breaking records, seeking new adventures. The good news is any of these guests could be you if you just get out there and start growing bolder. Give it a try, you might just like it.
>>BILL: Those are great examples coming in the future, but in the past, I wish there was a way we could hear some of those too.
>>MARK: Have you heard about the “Growing Bolder” radio network? On live, 24- seven. It streams all of these interviews constantly and never stops.
>>BILL: You mean that is what happens when I go to growingbolder.com, click the radio tab and then click the listen/ live button?
>>MARK: Yes, take it with you. Put it on your iPad, take it when you run, take it to the gym.
>>BILL: There you go folks. We’ll see you online. if we don’t see you there, will see back here very soon. <music>
(end of event)