Book Review: What I Learned When I Almost Died {Chris Licht}

by Cate on June 24, 2013

What I learned when i almost diedIn an effort to catch up on my book reviews, finish a few books I’m in the middle of, and kick off summer reading, I’m going to do a week’s worth of book reviews here (some adult, some children, some pre-teen/educational). I believe I have at least one sponsored post due this week too, so there will be a double post day or two. And with that, we begin…

Chris Licht was a 38-year-old Executive Producer of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He was on his way to a hotel in DC, after wrapping the morning show, when he was struck with the headache of all headaches. After a telephone conversation with his Dad, who is a doctor, he went straight to the nearest ER, which ended up being the one that former President Ronald Reagan went to when he was shot. Once at the hospital, and after a battery of tests from a rotating staff of specialists (including pulling a few strings to get consults with the best of the best), the resulting diagnosis was that Licht had bleeding on the brain and had likely suffered an aneurism.

Had I known What I Learned When I Almost Died was about Licht suffering an aneurism, I probably wouldn’t have read it. Because aneurisms terrify me. They come out of nowhere, with little to no warning, and all the sudden, you’re dead. The first time I remember even hearing about aneurisms is when the producer of Broadway’s Rent, Jonathon Larson, died from one, the night before the curtain was due to go up on his new show. I started getting migraines off and on a few years ago, and with my fear of aneurisms, I worry how I will know if it’s just a normal headache, a regular migraine, or that kind of headache.

Licht was a news guy that lived and died by his BlackBerry and his go-go-go work schedule. Between his personality and the nature of his job, he was on a never-ending hamster wheel. While the book briefly delved into Licht’s background, and how he ended up as the producer of Morning Joe, the book was largely about his brain aneurism, namely everything right before and after it. During his eight day hospitalization, he was forced to slow down, loosen the vice grip on everything and really let go of things that were out of his control. It also gave him an opportunity to see just how much his on-air team and colleagues care for him, and introduce a new dynamic to their working relationship.

Is it worth a read? I’m on the fence about it, honestly. Because while I am keenly sympathetic with what he went through, if this was a made-for-tv movie, you would be able to guess the ending before you got there. Producer on the fast track gets rude medical awakening to stop and smell the roses. I’m not sure there is anything earth-shatteringly different to set it apart from the other similarly-themed tomes. That being said, it’s a relatively small book and a quick read.

*This is the 9th book I’ve read in my quest to read 52 books this year.
1. Believe It, Be It
2. Touch and Go
3. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
4. Here I Go Again
5. Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture
6. Drinking & Tweeting and Other Brandi Blunders
7. Cleaving
8. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

Tomorrow? A children’s book review and summer reading program information.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Joanne June 25, 2013 at 6:20 am

My dad’s sister died of an aneurysm so I hate reading about them also! Totally scary.
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Thai Millet Salad with Peanut-Ginger Dressing

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