Bedtime Stories: June 2017

  • June 22, 2017

What do book lovers have queued up on their nightstands and ready to read before lights-out? We asked one of them, and here’s what she said.

Bedtime Stories: June 2017

Laura Evans Manatos:

You are the company you keep. That’s what I tell my kids. I also like to think that the books around me represent a small piece of who I am.

I keep several books close by…books I’ve read in the past that I check in with from time to time. My thought is, just in their “being” there, maybe there’s some kind of existential re-absorption. The Alchemist, The Four Agreements, The Gift of an Ordinary Day, and Field Notes on the Compassionate Life are among them. They sit nicely in a basket by my bed. It’s my reset-and-refocus basket. Along with the books are cards and scribbled notes from my kids.

Topside on my bedside table, however, you’ll find Saving Gotham. My 7-year-old had hoped it was about Batman. It’s not. The intention of the characters in this “Justice League,” however, is to do good and to save the people of New York City from dying prematurely of horrible diseases through what many would consider simple and subtle changes (aka prevention).

Saving Gotham tells the story of the massive NYC public-health campaign launched by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his health commissioner, Thomas Frieden. The book, written by Thomas Farley, MD, who succeeded Frieden as health commissioner, gives the inside scoop on how the Bloomberg administration worked to ban smoking inside bars and restaurants; toss trans fats; lower salt content in foods; and reverse the trend of supersizing sugary drinks.

Farley lets the reader in on Bloomberg’s “war room” strategy, revealing how he and his team pulled off one of the most controversial and successful public-health initiatives of our time. It’s a thought-provoking, real-life story on consumer rights, choices, capitalism, and healthcare costs that affect us all.

I’ve always had a passion for issues related to health and wellness, and not just my own. I’m interested in how, collectively, we as consumers are educated about nutrition. I’m fascinated and inspired by how Mayor Bloomberg took on Big Tobacco and the sugar industry to make his city healthier…and how the effort slowly caught on across the country.

I am also intrigued by the choices of both our food industry and consumers — and, when it comes to the food industry, whether Maya Angelou’s “When you know better, you do better” philosophy should apply.

Life is about balance, though. That’s another little reminder I offer my kids regularly. So, after I’m inspired by the big thinking of the Bloomberg team, I think I’ll go visit my old pal Don Miguel Ruiz and his Four Agreements, and remind myself to always be impeccable with my word, never take anything personally, not make assumptions, and always do my best.

Then onto the next book!

Laura Evans Manatos is founder of Laura Evans Media, a media-consulting company helping business leaders, social entrepreneurs, and community-builders who work on the side of social good get their message heard and their story told. Prior to that, she served as anchor of Fox 5 News at 5 in the nation's capital. In her 26-year journalism career, including 18 years as an anchor and reporter with Fox 5 DC news, Laura's work earned her several honors and awards, including multiple Emmys and Emmy nominations, Associated Press Awards, Golden Mics, and a Radio and Television News Directors Association Award for Best News Series. Connect with Laura on Facebook and on Twitter at @LauraEvans_DC

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