Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future

As I mentioned in my last entry, I was heading to New York when I decided to read Wicked, and this weeks book, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future. I have to be completely honest when I say that the biggest reason I chose this book was because it weighs in at just over 100 pages, and I knew I would not have much time to read on my trip. This tiny volume, barely bigger than a Pop-tart, only took about a half-hour or so to read, and made for a much more enjoyable plane ride home. Author Michael J. Fox of television and movie fame has penned this classic little book for graduates, and it's chock full of insight, humor and interesting stories from his life.

Fox abandoned high school to pursue an acting career, but went on to receive honorary degrees from several universities and garner the highest accolades for his acting, as well as for his writing. In his new book, he inspires and motivates graduates to recognize opportunities, maximize their abilities, and roll with the punches, all with his trademark optimism, warmth, and humor. In A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future, Fox draws on his own life experiences to make a case that real learning happens when "life goes skidding sideways." He writes of coming to Los Angeles from Canada at age eighteen and attempting to make his way as an actor. Fox offers up a comically skewed take on how, in his own way, he fulfilled the requirements of a college syllabus. He learned Economics as a starving artist; an unexpected turn as a neophyte activist schooled him in Political Science; and his approach to Comparative Literature involved stacking books up against their movie versions.

The writing is witty, and entertaining, and the overall impression is of a grateful and self-deprecating man with hard-won wisdom, writing with a light touch. Fox has a firm grasp of the hardships of life, but in spite of (or as he says because of) these hardships, he is one of the brightest and most positive influences in the world today. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future is a surprising realistic and yet wonderfully inspiring and funny motivational memoir, proving that ultimately lessons learned in life, are more lasting than anything learned in school.

Even though it's indicated that this book is for recent graduates, I think that people in any phase of life can learn, and be inspired and uplifted from Fox's words and anecdotes. This is the kind of book that you can read a couple pages while waiting for the water to boil, or before turning in for the night, so my tip is pick it up, and just have it around the house so that you can turn to it when your in need of some optimism, or just a simple smile.

1 comment:

  1. Great Post! I love stories from authors chasing their dreams.