Most physicians write highly-detailed academic treatments of very narrowly-defined clinical situations, which are rarely understood (or even read) by anyone outside a small community of medical specialists. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Michael Lewis, of Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, has elected to take the opposite approach: a book that is expansive on life, designed to appeal to different ages and even different attention spans. A book that can not only be read by all – but can inspire all.
Seeing More Colors is based on the teachings of Abraham Maslow, a man considered by many to be the father of modern humanistic psychology and a professor at Brandeis University, where Lewis studied with him. Maslow’s simple, yet revolutionary, approach to psychology makes him relevant today, 40 years after his death. By studying the most admired people of the world, he identified the personal characteristics that made them successful and, if we’re open to them, can transport us to new levels of happiness and achievement.
Lewis takes a new look at the qualities Maslow found in these individuals: capacity to shape reality, creativity, appreciation of the moment, autonomy, focus beyond oneself, humor and celebration, kinship, reciprocal loving relationships and propensity for peak experiences. Using Maslow’s ideas as a framework, he demonstrates – with stories, quotations and photographs – how each of us can lead a more rewarding life. “The photographs are my own, taken on all seven continents,” says Dr. Lewis. “The stories are those which had a profound impact on me, including experiences I have had as an orthopedic consultant to the world champion Chicago Bulls basketball team and the Chicago White Sox baseball team.”
Writing on the human spirit is not new for Dr. Lewis, whose One World: A View From 50 Countries offered readers a spectacular compilation of his photographs that captured amazingly human moments – from the shot of a dozen Asian men, limbless in varying degrees and waiting for prostheses, to breathtaking views of wild animals. Eagle Eyes, a book for children, tells the story of a boy whose grandfather, following the removal of cataracts, sees him for the first time. Sight as a metaphor for a meaningful life threads not only through his books, but is evident in Dr. Lewis’ personal choices as well. As he did with his previous books, Dr. Lewis heeds Dr. Maslow’s prescription to “focus beyond oneself”. He will donate all proceeds to the Himalayan Cataract Project, an organization dedicated to eradicating unnecessary blindness, particularly in “the most needy patients in the world’s most remote places” (source: www.cureblindness.org).
Initial reactions to Seeing More Colors have been “gratifying” to Dr. Lewis. Readers have described it as “a life changer”, “an inspiration” and “a book that resonates more deeply with each reading”. “There are different ways to enjoy this book,” Dr. Lewis points out. “One can simply enjoy the photographs or quotations. Each chapter is a contained unit, so you can use it like a daily inspirational, or you can read it in its totality.” The spirit of the photographer is evident in Dr. Lewis as he states, “People have told me that this book changes the way they see things.”
Seeing More Colors is available for sale at http://www.michaelslewismd.com/mlewis-colors-overview.htm or at http://www.seeingmorecolors.com.