Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

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In 1987, Dr. Benjamin Carson gained worldwide recognition for his part in the first successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head. The extremely complex and delicate operation, five months in the planning and twenty-two hours in the execution, involved a surgical plan that Carson helped initiate.

Carson pioneered again in a rare procedure known as hemispherectomy, giving children without hope a second chance at life ...

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Gifted Hands 20th Anniversary Edition: The Ben Carson Story

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Overview

In 1987, Dr. Benjamin Carson gained worldwide recognition for his part in the first successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head. The extremely complex and delicate operation, five months in the planning and twenty-two hours in the execution, involved a surgical plan that Carson helped initiate.

Carson pioneered again in a rare procedure known as hemispherectomy, giving children without hope a second chance at life through a daring operation in which he literally removed one half of their brain.

But such breakthroughs aren't unusual for Ben Carson. He's been beating the odds since he was a child.

Raised in inner-city Detroit by a mother with a third-grade education, Ben lacked motivation. He had terrible grades. And a pathological temper threatened to put him in jail. But Sonya Carson convinced her son that he could make something of his life, even though everything around him said otherwise.

Trust in God, a relentless belief in his own capabilities, and sheer determination catapulted Ben from failing grades to the top of his class-and beyond to a Yale scholarship ... the University of Michigan Medical School ... and finally, at age 33, the directorship of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Today, Dr. Ben Carson holds twenty honorary doctorates and is the possessor of a long string of honors and awards, including the Horatio Alger Award, induction into the "Great Blacks in Wax" Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, and an invitation as Keynote Speaker at the 1997 President's National Prayer Breakfast.

Gifted Hands is the riveting story of one man's secret for success, tested against daunting odds and driven by an incredible mindset that dares to take risks. This inspiring autobiography takes you into the operating room to witness surgeries that made headlines around the world-and into the private mind of a compassionate, God-fearing physician who lives to help others. Through it all shines a humility, quick wit, and down-to-earth style that make this book one you won't easily forget.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061042539
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/1993
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.11 (w) x 8.11 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Ben Carson

Dr. Benjamin Carson is a Professor of Neurosurgery, Plastic Surgery, Oncology, and Pediatrics, and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. He is also the author of four bestselling books—Gifted Hands, Think Big, The Big Picture, and Take the Risk. He serves on the boards of the Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corp., and the Academy of Achievement, among others, and is an Emeritus Fellow of the Yale Corporation. He and his wife, Candy, cofounded the Carson Scholars Fund (www.carsonscholars.org), a 501(c)3 established to counteract America's crisis in education by identifying and rewarding academic role models in the fourth through eleventh grades, regardless of race, creed, religion and socio-economic status, who also demonstrate humanitarian qualities. There are over 4800 scholars in forty-five states. Ben and Candy are the parents of three grown sons and reside in Baltimore County, Maryland.

Cecil Murphey, author of 112 books, has also assisted well-known personalities in writing their biographies.

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Read an Excerpt

Gifted Hands

The Ben Carson Story
By Ben Carson Cecil Murphey

Zondervan

Copyright © 1990 Review and Herald Publishing Association
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-54651-6


Chapter One

"Goodbye, Daddy"

And your daddy isn't going to live with us anymore."

"Why not?" I asked again, choking back the tears. I just could not accept the strange finality of my mother's words. "I love my dad!"

"He loves you too, Bennie ... but he has to go away. For good."

"But why? I don't want him to go. I want him to stay here with us."

"He's got to go-"

"Did I do something to make him want to leave us?"

"Oh, no, Bennie. Absolutely not. Your daddy loves you."

I burst into tears. "Then make him come back."

"I can't. I just can't." Her strong arms held me close, trying to comfort me, to help me stop crying. Gradually my sobs died away, and I calmed down. But as soon as she loosened her hug and let me go, my questions started again.

"Your Daddy did-" Mother paused, and, young as I was, I knew she was trying to find the right words to make me understand what I didn't want to grasp. "Bennie, your daddy did some bad things. Real bad things."

I swiped my hand across my eyes. "You can forgive him then. Don't let him go."

"It's more than just forgiving him,Bennie-"

"But I want him to stay here with Curtis and me and you."

Once again Mother tried to make me understand why Daddy was leaving, but her explanation didn't make a lot of sense to me at 8 years of age. Looking back, I don't know how much of the reason for my father's leaving sank into my understanding. Even what I grasped, I wanted to reject. My heart was broken because Mother said that my father was never coming home again. And I loved him.

Dad was affectionate. He was often away, but when he was home he'd hold me on his lap, happy to play with me whenever I wanted him to. He had great patience with me. I particularly liked to play with the veins on the back of his large hands, because they were so big. I'd push them down and watch them pop back up. "Look! They're back again!" I'd laugh, trying everything within the power of my small hands to make his veins stay down. Dad would sit quietly, letting me play as long as I wanted.

Sometimes he'd say, "Guess you're just not strong enough," and I'd push even harder. Of course nothing worked, and I'd soon lose interest and play with something else.

Even though Mother said that Daddy had done some bad things, I couldn't think of my father as "bad," because he'd always been good to my brother, Curtis, and me. Sometimes Dad brought us presents for no special reason. "Thought you'd like this," he'd say offhandedly, a twinkle in his dark eyes.

Many afternoons I'd pester my mother or watch the clock until I knew it was time for my dad to come home from work. Then I'd rush outside to wait for him. I'd watch until I saw him walking down our alley. "Daddy! Daddy!" I'd yell, running to meet him. He would scoop me into his arms and carry me into the house.

That stopped in 1959 when I was 8 years old and Daddy left home for good. To my young, hurting heart the future stretched out forever. I couldn't imagine a life without Daddy and didn't know if Curtis, my 10-year-old brother, or I would ever see him again.

* * *

I don't know how long I continued the crying and questioning the day Daddy left; I only know it was the saddest day of my life. And my questions didn't stop with my tears. For weeks I pounded my mother with every possible argument my mind could conceive, trying to find some way to get her to make Daddy come back home.

"How can we get by without Daddy?"

"Why don't you want him to stay?"

"He'll be good. I know he will. Ask Daddy. He won't do bad things again."

My pleading didn't make any difference. My parents had settled everything before they told Curtis and me.

"Mothers and fathers are supposed to stay together," I persisted. "They're both supposed to be with their little boys."

"Yes, Bennie, but sometimes it just doesn't work out right."

"I still don't see why," I said. I thought of all the things Dad did with us. For instance, on most Sundays, Dad would take Curtis and me for drives in the car. Usually we visited people, and we'd often stop by to see one family in particular. Daddy would talk with the grown-ups, while my brother and I played with the children. Only later did we learn the truth - my father had another "wife" and other children that we knew nothing about.

I don't know how my mother found out about his double life, for she never burdened Curtis and me with the problem. In fact, now that I'm an adult, my one complaint is that she went out of her way to protect us from knowing how bad things were. We were never allowed to share how deeply she hurt. But then, that was Mother's way of protecting us, thinking she was doing the right thing. And many years later I finally understood what she called his "betrayals with women and drugs."

Long before Mother knew about the other family, I sensed things weren't right between my parents. My parents didn't argue; instead, my father just walked away. He had been leaving the house more and more and staying away longer and longer. I never knew why.

Yet when Mother told me "Your daddy isn't coming back," those words broke my heart.

I didn't tell Mother, but every night when I went to bed I prayed, "Dear Lord, help Mother and Dad get back together again." In my heart I just knew God would help them make up so we could be a happy family. I didn't want them to be apart, and I couldn't imagine facing the future without my father.

But Dad never came home again.

As the days and weeks passed, I learned we could get by without him. We were poorer then, and I could tell Mother worried, although she didn't say much to Curtis or me. As I grew wiser, and certainly by the time I was 11, I realized that the three of us were actually happier than we had been with Dad in the house. We had peace. No periods of deathly silence filled the house. I no longer froze with fear or huddled in my room, wondering what was happening when Mother and Daddy didn't talk.

That's when I stopped praying for them to get back together. "It's better for them to stay split up," I said to Curtis. "Isn't it?"

"Yeah, guess so," he answered. And, like Mother, he didn't say much to me about his own feelings. But I think I knew that he too reluctantly realized that our situation was better without our father.

Trying to remember how I felt in those days after Dad left, I'm not aware of going through stages of anger and resentment. My mother says that the experience pushed Curtis and me into a lot of pain. I don't doubt that his leaving meant a terrible adjustment for both of us boys. Yet I still have no recollection beyond his initial leaving.

Maybe that's how I learned to handle my deep hurt - by forgetting.

* * *

We just don't have the money, Bennie."

In the months after Dad left, Curtis and I must have heard that statement a hundred times, and, of course, it was true. When we asked for toys or candy, as we'd done before, I soon learned to tell from the expression on Mother's face how deeply it hurt her to deny us. After a while I stopped asking for what I knew we couldn't have anyway.

In a few instances resentment flashed across my mother's face. Then she'd get very calm and explain to us boys that Dad loved us but wouldn't give her any money to support us. I vaguely recall a few times when Mother went to court, trying to get child support from him. Afterward, Dad would send money for a month or two - never the full amount - and he always had a legitimate excuse. "I can't give you all of it this time," he'd say, "but I'll catch up. I promise."

Dad never caught up. After a while Mother gave up trying to get any financial help from him.

I was aware that he wouldn't give her money, which made life harder on us. And in my childish love for a dad who had been kind and affectionate, I didn't hold it against him. But at the same time I couldn't understand how he could love us and not want to give us money for food.

One reason I didn't hold any grudges or harsh feelings toward Dad must have been that my mother seldom blamed him - at least not to us or in our hearing. I can hardly think of a time when she spoke against him.

More important than that fact, though, Mother managed to bring a sense of security to our three-member family. While I still missed Dad for a long time, I felt a sense of contentment being with just my mother and my brother because we really did have a happy family.

My mother, a young woman with hardly any education, came from a large family and had many things against her. Yet she pulled off a miracle in her own life, and helped in ours. I can still hear Mother's voice, no matter how bad things were, saying, "Bennie, we're going to be fine." Those weren't empty words either, for she believed them. And because she believed them, Curtis and I believed them too, and they provided a comforting assurance for me.

Part of Mother's strength came from a deep-seated faith in God and perhaps just as much from her innate ability to inspire Curtis and me to know she meant every word she said. We knew we weren't rich; yet no matter how bad things got for us, we didn't worry about what we'd have to eat or where we'd live.

Our growing up without a father put a heavy burden on my mother. She didn't complain - at least not to us - and she didn't feel sorry for herself. She tried to carry the whole load, and somehow I understood what she was doing. No matter how many hours she had to be away from us at work, I knew she was doing it for us. That dedication and sacrifice made a profound impression on my life.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my mother." I'm not sure I want to say it quite like that, but my mother, Sonya Carson, was the earliest, strongest, and most impacting force in my life.

It would be impossible to tell about my accomplishments without starting with my mother's influence. For me to tell my story means beginning with hers.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Gifted Hands by Ben Carson Cecil Murphey Copyright © 1990 by Review and Herald Publishing Association. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 "Goodbye, Daddy" 11
Chapter 2 Carrying the Load 17
Chapter 3 Eight Years Old 23
Chapter 4 Two Positives 32
Chapter 5 A Boy's Big Problem 45
Chapter 6 A Terrible Temper 54
Chapter 7 ROTC Triumph 61
Chapter 8 College Choices 71
Chapter 9 Changing the Rules 80
Chapter 10 A Serious Step 91
Chapter 11 Another Step Forward 112
Chapter 12 Coming Into My Own 123
Chapter 13 A Special Year 135
Chapter 14 A Girl Named Maranda 146
Chapter 15 Heartbreak 155
Chapter 16 Little Beth 167
Chapter 17 Three Special Children 177
Chapter 18 Craig and Susan 185
Chapter 19 Separating the Twins 201
Chapter 20 The Rest of Their Story 213
Chapter 21 Family Affairs 219
Chapter 22 Think Big 225
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 182 )
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(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 178 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013

    Must read

    I have been searching for this book after I heard an interview with Dr. Carson on 98rock (baltimore radio station). So many people need to hear "people are just people". I wish his mom wrote a book on parenting :)

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    ¿ :)

    I just purchased, I can tell you this is going to be great. Im in ten pages and had to stop to give it five stars. †

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    Disappointed

    I know this must be a very good book, and I would love to read it (I very much admire Dr Carson with his stand for American liberty); however, my HD Nook keeps giving a message that it "does not support this file type". I am very disappointed. Hopefully, someone at B&N can fix this soon.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    Worth the time

    Extremely well written and straightforward boigraphy. He could have made this a race issue but its more than that. Its a human race issue of overcoming obstacles to be the best person he could be. Love him! Loved the book!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    Gffsadgvgfdedcffrzss

    Sorry i just had to do that but i love the movie and im sure i would love the book too but whenever i try to purchase it it says i already have it in my library.

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2013

    Awesome read

    I would love to meet Dr. Carson! What a humble and holy person.
    It was difficult to put the book down and with all his education made all the technical information easy to understand.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Love it!!

    Love this story so classic..

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    kinda slow read

    Uplifting and inspirational but got tired seeing race and
    disadvantaged all the time, Dr Carson felt the need to point out who was black and who was white while saying it didnt matter

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2013

    Amazing

    Great book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Great uplifting book

    Ben Carson's book"Gifted Hands" was an easy read. It is a real life
    story of how determination and sacrifice with positive motivation
    formed his life. He became a successful sergeon with Go given talent.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 7, 2013

    Highly recommended!

    What a wonderful inspirational story Ben Carson tells - he is humble, appreciates and loves people - he worked his way from meager beginnings and urges everyone to learn their talents and work to make each day count. He stresses being around smart people and learning by their example. What a remarkable person - it is simply a must read and I am happy to have it in my nook library - so I can read it again!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    Great man inspirational!

    Story that can speak to all of us. We need Dr Carson in times like these.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Highly recommend.

    This book would be at the top of my recommendations list. I have admired Dr. Carson for some time, and even more so after learning his life story. It is amazing to read of the surgeries he has performed on children who otherwise had no chance of recovery from brain disease or injury. By all means, read this book! He is truly a great surgeon and a great man.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2013

    We need more like Dr. Ben Carson

    Great man; Great read. I don't believe we have heard the last of Dr. Ben Carson. I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    Love it!

    You can do anything you set your mind or heart to- whether its nuerosurgery or riding a bike!
    Best book ever!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Love this Book! First of I have loved biographies for a long t

    Love this Book! First of I have loved biographies for a long time. Gifted Hands by Ben Carson was entertaining and informative. I also found it to be an easy read. Gifted Hands was also very inspiring I hope anyone who is interested in biographies autobiographies and memoirs will this book a chance.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    :)

    This book was pretty good when i ha to read this in school after we read the book we watched the movie and the movie was really gross DONT WATCHET IT!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Good book

    It is a really good book. You must read this some time in your life

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2014

    What a great story! Shows what a person can do if he believes he can!

    What a great story! Shows what a person can do if we believes he can!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 10, 2014

    What a book! What a man!

    This is a book I wish everybody in the US would read. It is a perfect example of how someone who had very little to begin with made himself extremely valuable to the world. Not by putting his hand out for freebees but by working diligently to be the best at what he did and by caring for his fellow man more than for himself.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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