Synopses & Reviews
On a quest for what matters most, Timothy Shriver discovers a radically different, inspiring way of life.
At a time when we are all more rudderless than ever, we look for the very best teachers and mentors to guide us. In Fully Alive, an unusual and gripping memoir, Timothy Shriver shows how his teachers have been the worlds most forgotten minority: people with intellectual disabilities. In these pages we meet the individuals who helped him come of age and find a deeper and more meaningful way to see the world.
Shrivers journey begins close to home, where the quiet legacy of his aunt Rosemary, a Kennedy whose intellectual disability kept her far from the limelight, inspired his family to devote their careers to helping the most vulnerable. He plays alongside the children of Camp Shriver, his mothers revolutionary project, which provided a space for children with intellectual disabilities to play, and years later he gains invaluable wisdom from the incredible athletes he befriends as chairman of the organization it inspired, Special Olympics. Through these experiences and encounters with scholars, spiritual masters, and political icons such as Nelson Mandela, Shriver learns how to find humility and speak openly of vulnerability and faith.
Fully Alive is both a moving personal journey and a meditation on some of the greatest wisdom and the greatest contradictions of our society. Is disability to be feared or welcomed, pitied or purged? Shriver argues that we all have different abilities and challenges we should embrace. Here we see how those who appear powerless have turned this seeming shortcoming into a power of their own, and we learn that we are all totally vulnerable and valuable at the same time.
"Sincere, profound and deeply satisfying." - Kirkus (Starred)"Bursting with life energy. Profound and inspiring. A must-read." —Deepak Chopra"Timothy Shriver has written a lovely, honest, and inspiring book that draws on his own wisdom, life experiences, and pioneering work as a champion of the intellectually disabled to offer important lessons for all of us." —Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage"Timothy Shriver is not only a gifted writer but a profound intellect and a genuine seeker of the deep truths that make any human life worth living. To read this book is to have your own experience illuminated by an immensely compassionate being, to embrace your own limitations, and to move on with a warmer heart, a more peaceful mind, and a joyfully uplifted spirit." —Martha Beck, author of Finding Your Way in a Wild New World"This is a beautiful book about love, meaning, and the Kennedys. It is about Joseph and Roses life with Rosemary, their daughter with an intellectual disability, who was a tragedy, yes, but also an amazing and precious person, a blessing to her family, challenging and beloved, a radical teacher of the value of each human life. This is the story of Rosemary Kennedys role in leading the family to its force as advocates for the disabled all over the world, of her sister Eunice Shrivers founding of Special Olympics, of her nephew Timothys dedication to this great cause. I was lifted, edified, riveted." —Anne Lamott, author of Small Victories
In this look at Special Olympics and the principles that guide it, Timothy P. Shriver explores field-tested lessons on love and spirituality
Timothy P. Shriver is the renowned CEO of Special Olympics, the worldwide movement that brings “differently abled” athletes together. Shrivers career is the culmination of a long search—one that led him from his privileged, ambitious family, through religious training and work as an educator and a film producer, to a role as a global statesman on behalf of those who have found recognition and dignity in Special Olympics.
In Fully Alive, Shriver sees his story, and Special Olympics, as a succession of “schools of the heart.” The term comes from the medieval monk Bernard of Clairvaux, who envisioned the monastery as a place without limits for the practice of love and the search for fullness. For Shriver, this is the basis of a life well lived; he finds it in Catholic theology, psychology, public service, Asian spirituality and prayer, and the examples of holy figures from Nelson Mandela to Jean Vanier. But Special Olympics is a school of the most intense kind—one where volunteers, intending to help, instead find themselves educated and invigorated by the athletes, who live according to bedrock values of love, self-limitation, and recognition of the ways we depend on one another.
Fully Alive is the wise, disarmingly candid, and deeply affecting story of an organization whose blend of athletics, spirituality, and cooperation has made it one of the most consequential of our time.
Whats the likelihood that people with intellectual disabilities know the secret of life?
Timothy P. Shrivers Fully Alive chronicles one mans discovery of a wild and reckless and wonder-filled spirituality. Its a lesson from the most unlikely spiritual masters: people with intellectual disabilities, the worlds most forgotten minority. Shrivers teachers are also athletes in the Special Olympics, known for their gigantic smiles, breathtaking honesty, gritty determination, and all-around unconventional way of living. This is the untold story of millions of people who come to the Special Olympics believing that they are there to help a charity, only to encounter a way of life that is beautiful and unapologetically countercultural. This bold book promises nothing less than a new way of thinking about giving and receiving—where giver and receiver are part of a shared search for fulfillment. Readers will be transformed by those they encounter here. We see straight into the lives of people who face deep pain, but who turn it into beauty and love.
We also get a different lens on the story of the authors family. American icons and originators of the Special Olympics, his parents, Sargent and Eunice Shriver—and his uncles, John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy—were all part of the same journey of discovery through their own encounters with the shame and struggle of disability. Their political genius and their resolute advocacy for those on the margins emerge from this tale of hope in the face of hardship.
On a quest for what matters most, the author discovers the joy of being fully alive
As chairman of Special Olympics, Timothy P. Shriver has dedicated his life to the worlds most forgotten minority—people with intellectual disabilities. And in a time when we are all more rudderless than ever, when weve lost our sense of whats ultimately important, when we hunger for stability but get only uncertainty, he has looked to them for guidance. Fully Alive chronicles Shrivers discovery of a radically different, and inspiring, way of life. We see straight into the lives of those who seem powerless but who have turned that into a power of their own, and through them learn that we are all totally vulnerable and totally valuable at the same time.
In addition, Shriver offers a new look at his family: his parents, Sargent and Eunice Shriver, and his uncles, John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy, all of whom were resolute advocates for those on the margins. Here, for the first time, Shriver explores the tremendous impact his aunt Rosemary, born with intellectual disabilities, had on his entire family and their legacy.
About the Author
Timothy P. Shriver is a social leader, educator, activist, film producer, and business entrepreneur. He is the third child of Eunice Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics. As chairman of the Special Olympics, he serves more than three million athletes in 180 countries. He cofounded and currently chairs the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading research organization in the United States in the field of social and emotional learning. Shriver earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, a masters degree from Catholic University, and a doctorate in education from the University of Connecticut. He lives in Maryland with his wife and five children.