Gavin Edwards is a journalist, nonfiction writer, and New York Times best-selling author of 12 books, including Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever and The World According to Tom Hanks. Gavin is a veteran writer who has penned magazine cover stories on celebrities such as Jared Leto and Travis Barker and has written for several publications, including The New York Times, Wired, and Rolling Stone. In addition to his work as a writer, Gavin is also a public speaker who has appeared on NBC’s Today, NPR’s All Things Considered, and VH1’s Behind the Music.
Gavin joins me today to discuss the life and philosophy of Fred Rogers. He explains what led him to write about Mr. Rogers and shares some of his favorite stories about him. He describes his process of selecting personalities, icons, and topics and how he approaches the people he writes about. He also underscores the power of research in making interviews engaging and explains why the act of writing is valuable unto itself.
“If people spent their days being 3% more like Fred Rogers, we’d all be in a much better place.” – Gavin Edwards
This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:
- Writing an oral history of Bill Murray and how Gavin approaches an icon he wants to write about
- Writing about people who have a philosophy of life and how they’re manifesting it in the world
- What led Gavin to write about Mr. Rogers and how he wanted his book to impact readers
- Asking a child for a prayer and Gavin’s favorite stories about Fred Rogers
- How Mr. Rogers lived a life of congruence and direction
- How Gavin’s life was touched by delving into Mr. Roger’s life
- The willingness to look at the world through another person’s eyes
- How spirituality informed Mr. Roger’s work and his connection with other people
- The fundamental lesson from Mr. Roger and what he thought about death and dying
- The power of presence and attentiveness in giving interviews
- Asking the right questions to bring an interviewee away from a routine response
- A writing lesson that has served Gavin well and why he writes in long-hand
- The impact of anecdotes and using writing tools to bring life to a story
- Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever by Gavin Edwards
- The World According to Tom Hanks by Gavin Edwards
- The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing by Gavin Edwards
- Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
- Red Plenty by Francis Spufford
- Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
- The Artificial Silk Girl by Keun Irmgard
- Deep Human Connection: Why We Need It More Than Anything Else by Stephen Cope
- Loose Ball: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association by Terry Pluto
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