Synopses & Reviews
On the heels of his acclaimed memoir, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
, beloved actor and bestselling author Alan Alda has written Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself
, an insightful and funny look at some of the impossible questions he's asked himself over the years: What do I value? What, exactly, is the good life? (And what does that even mean?)
Picking up where his bestselling memoir left off having been saved by emergency surgery after nearly dying on a mountaintop in Chile Alda finds himself not only glad to be alive but searching for a way to squeeze the most juice out of his new life. Looking for a sense of meaning that would make this extra time count, he listens in on things he's heard himself saying in private and in public at critical points in his life from the turbulence of the sixties, to his first Broadway show, to the birth of his children, to the ache of September 11, and beyond. Reflecting on the transitions in his life and in all our lives, he notices that "doorways are where the truth is told," and wonders if there's one thing art, activism, family, money, fame that could lead to a "life of meaning."
In a book that is candid, wise, and as questioning as it is incisive, Alda amuses and moves us with his unique and hilarious meditations on questions great and small. Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself is another superb Alan Alda performance, as inspiring and entertaining as the man himself.
"'After actor Alda (Never Have Your Dog Stuffed) recovered from a nearly fatal intestinal obstruction, he decided to live as if he'd been given a second life. To make his new life as meaningful as possible, he wanted to remember those rare moments when a special 'stillness' had come over him, 'the kind that hits you when you hear something that goes to the core of who you think you are.' These were moments when he'd had some understanding about the meaning of his life, his reason for living the central questions that Alda grapples with, as he looks back over his life. While poking good-natured fun at some of his earlier rhetoric ('the ravings of a nave Hollywood liberal') he shares highlights of the various commencement speeches and keynote addresses he's given to future doctors and physicists, or even to the odd group of Jefferson scholars. He phrases it differently for each audience, but the message is consistent: It's not what you do in life, but how you do it. Notice everything. Always be open to new ideas, new experiences. Alda is chatty, easygoing and humble, rather like a Mr. Rogers for grownups. His words of inspiration would be a perfect gift for a college grad or for anyone facing major life changes. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The stories about his childhood, his years as a struggling young actor, how he met his manager, the birth of his first child, the dead rabbits and so forth, are engaging and well-told." Contra Costa Times
"Alda's charms aside, this sum of public addresses doesn't add up to much more than a pleasant but unwieldy compilation of homilies, accomplishments, and recollections." Boston Globe
Actor and bestselling author Alda faces tough questions as he looks back on paths his life has taken--from the turbulence of the sixties through the ache of September 11th and beyond.
About the Author
Alan Alda is the author of Never Have Your Dog Stuffed. He is the winner of numerous awards, including six Emmys and six Golden Globes, and has been nominated for an Academy Award. He played Hawkeye Pierce for eleven years on the television series M*A*S*H, has acted in, written, and directed many feature films, and has appeared often on Broadway. His avid interest in science has led to his hosting PBS's Scientific American Frontiers for eleven years. He is married to the children's book author and photographer Arlene Alda. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.