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Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee

Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee

3.9 113
by Hoda Kotb

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SHE’S JUST LIKE THE REST OF US : overstuffed purse, always losing keys, high-maintenance hair, snack guilt after an evening binge. But she’s something different, too.

Hoda Kotb grew up in two cultures—one where summers meant playing at the foot of the ancient pyramids and another where she had to meet her junior prom date at the local


SHE’S JUST LIKE THE REST OF US : overstuffed purse, always losing keys, high-maintenance hair, snack guilt after an evening binge. But she’s something different, too.

Hoda Kotb grew up in two cultures—one where summers meant playing at the foot of the ancient pyramids and another where she had to meet her junior prom date at the local 7-Eleven to spare them both the wrath of her conservative Egyptian parents. She’s traveled the globe for network television, smuggling videotapes in her shoes and stepping along roads riddled with land mines. She’s weathered the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and a personal Category 5 as well: divorce and breast cancer in the same year. And if that’s not scary enough, she then began cohosting the fourth hour of Today with Kathie Lee Gifford. (Oh, c’mon, KLG! That’s funny . . . put down the huge pour of Chardonnay and laugh with us.)

HODA reads just like Hoda—light, funny, positive, and positively inspiring.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Hoda Kotb is a wonderful storyteller. Hilarious, honest and inspiring, you will marvel as she describes her family's roots in Egypt, and their American sojourn which leads her to the career of her dreams. This book is a manual for overcoming obstacles and living life with passion and purpose. I loved it. Hoda is the working girl’s Cleopatra. She rules!”
—Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of Brava, Valentine and Lucia, Lucia

“This is the Hoda I know. She’s written this book the way she lives: out loud and up-front. She has written about the stuff of all of our lives. . . love, loss. . . and what she wore!”
—Brian Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly News

Kinda kooky, Open and outrageous, Tremendously talented, Born to write. . .Kotb’s voice is as distinctive as her name. Hoda’s life story makes for a great read. Hurry out and get your ‘kotb’ today!”
—Meredith Viera, cohost of NBC’s The Today Show

“It ain’t all about the reporting y’all. Ain’t nothin’ that can stop Hoda. This gal has more guts than a super hero. She does it all and she does it with class. Now she has a delicious book on her hands. Next, we’ll use those super powers to teach her how to cook!”
—Paula Deen, New York Times bestselling author of Paula Deen's The Deen Family Cookbook

"A smart, striking, and sassy memoir. Despite her extraordinary life and success, Hoda Kotb is as real as they come, and if I can’t be her, I at least want to read about her. You won’t know whether to laugh or cry (I did plenty of both), but Hoda’s stories—like the woman behind them—are guaranteed to charm and inspire."
—Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed and Heart of the Matter

“Hoda writes the way she lives: honestly, intelligently and beautifully. No matter how her hair looks. And the reader can tell no matter what she’s sharing at the moment that she is smiling that big Hoda smile. You will too.”
—Kathie Lee Gifford, New York Times bestselling author of Just When I Thought I'd Dropped My Last Egg: Life and Other Calamities

“I love Hoda. She’s reported on the most dangerous, history-making stories of our time; made it to the Today show; survived cancer; survived a bad marriage, and she’s the only woman with more opinions than me. Who cares? You will after reading the first sentence of this page-turning memoir.”
—Joan Rivers

"Kotb’s voice is as infectiously enthusiastic as her trademark smile, each episode imbued with stalwart courage and sincere charm. From her fondness for the music of James Taylor to her fierce loyalty to New Orleans, Kotb’s memoir of life on the road, on the air, and in the trenches is not only an absorbing inside look at the highspeed world of high-stakes journalism, it is also one charismatic woman’s story of how a can-do attitude and caring family have provided the foundation and support for an exhilarating life."

Kirkus Reviews

The autobiography of 46-year-old TV reporter and anchor Kotb. She's the one with the odd name perched next to Kathie Lee Gifford.

The author hails from the Oklahoma heartland, where her Egyptian parents arrived not long after their wedding. After traveling the world with her family, the author did the same in her nascent career as a journalist, though she first reported the news in local TV markets. She enjoyed her New Orleans gig and is inspired still by the spirit of the Big Easy. Then came Dateline NBC in 1998, where she relished assignments overseas—though she admits she was apprehensive amid gunfire, while seasoned colleague Jim Maceda was simply irritated by the racket. Since 2007, she has been the regular convivial sidekick on the fourth hour of The Today Show. Kotb's narrative of recent years gains strength as she looks at her diagnosis of breast cancer, her husband's infidelity and the divorce proceedings. Throughout the book, the author is relentlessly upbeat, and she relates her story with simple declarative sentences that occasionally enter cringe-worthy territory. Hair is a major problem, Mom's baklava is the best and "Stone Phillips is—so—incredibly—hot. He just is." Kotb is fond of Beyoncé, as well as "Matt, Al, Meredith, Ann, Natalie, the producers, and the crew." Ready to date again, she notes that she loves her family and music, but dislikes neatness and haute couture.

Unremarkable showbiz fare—frothy, easy optimism from a TV performer.

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Simon & Schuster
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Read an Excerpt


Recently, I was walking through one of New York City’s terrific neighborhood street fairs teeming with colorful booths. Banners promised “Millions of Socks!” and vendors proudly displayed tie-dyed scarves and chocolate-covered marshmallows on skewers. The crowd had a Sunday pace and I happily relaxed into the mix of sun-soakers and serious shoppers. As I wandered, some who watch a bit of television offered their kind hellos as they passed by. A friendly guy selling piano lessons wanted to chat. He asked one of the two questions I most often hear.

One is, “Where are you from?”

He asked the other: “How did you get to where you are today?”

It’s always that second question that makes me want to pull out a vinyl pocket photo file. It would flip-flop-flip all the way down to the ground, filled with pictures of the extraordinary people who guided me, who took a chance on me, who supported me. They are the answer. They are how I got to where I am today.

Think of all the people who’d fill your pocket photo file. Or even the pages of your book. I never really considered writing a book, and wondered—when someone suggested the idea—whether I could. I can’t remember a damn thing! Big problem. A good friend of mine, aware of my recall issues, mailed me a package of dried blueberries when she heard about my book project. The enclosed card (I’m told) read, “Good for your memory. Start eating these by the bushel!” Well, the package never arrived. Classic. The berries got lost, just like my memories.

Turns out, though, several hundred pages later, I did have a book in me. I do remember things once I dig around in the fuzzy matter a bit. (I wisely issued shovels to my siblings, too.) So, what’s my book about? It’s about where I’m from. My family. The hunt for my first television job. And the double whammy that took my breast and broke my heart at the same time. It’s about stories I’ve covered around the globe. Hurricanes Katrina and Kathie Lee. What I’ve learned so far in my life. It’s about how the dirt that gets kicked in our faces sometimes transforms into magic dust. Most important, though, these pages are a way to give credit and thanks to the people who boldly stepped up when no one else would, and who quietly sat down next to me without being asked. My book is about all that and a random guy on a plane who told me, “Don’t hog your journey.”

Okay, I won’t. Here’s my journey. I’m so glad you’re here. Pass the blueberries.

© 2010 Hoda Kotb

Meet the Author

Hoda Kotb was named co-anchor of the fourth hour of Today in 2007. She has also been a Dateline NBC correspondent since 1998 and is a New York Times bestselling author for her book, Hoda. The three-time Emmy winner also won the prestigious 2006 Peabody Award, the 2003 Gracie Award, and the 2002 Edward R. Murrow Award. Her most recent book is Where We Belong, and she resides in New York City.

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Hoda 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 113 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best autobiographies I have read. Hoda is funny and will make you laugh out loud. She is a class act and I think her stories about her family are so inspiring and she knows how very blessed she is to be part of them. I had a smile on my face throughout most of the book. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey with us.
Suzy Oberholtz More than 1 year ago
I always liked hoda but now I feel like I kmow her
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of the Today show, this is a must read. She is a strong woman who has lead a very normal path to the place that she is now. The recipe that she shares in this book is also delicious!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For some odd reason I felt the urge to read this book and I read it in 2 days...it's a good book to learn a little bit from!!
Kristan Jones More than 1 year ago
She is such an imteresting person with an interesting background and experienves that it is a shame she did not go into more detail. If you are a Hoda fan, just get the book from the library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I knew I really liked Hoda from watching the Today show but now I truly adore her. She's witty, humble, and humorous.
Abigail Offenbaker More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed watching Hoda on Today. However, her memoir disappointed me. Many parts rambled on and on so much that I skipped serveral chapters. I hoped to learn more about who Hoda is outside of journalism and news but little light was shed on more personal aspects of her life.
PBWriter36 More than 1 year ago
Again, another memoire that is written just as the writer speaks, how nice. This book by Hoda Kotb is very delightful and a quick read - you don't want it to end and then suddenly it does. I watch Hoda and KLG every day and wish them success with their show; perhaps it should be expanded to include the 3rd hour of Today (?) Great job Hoda.
TMM2001 More than 1 year ago
Perfect reading material, could not put it down. It gives you a glimpse what Hoda is all about. Loved the quirks and humor that she offers. By the end of the book I felt like this is someone I would want to hang out with. Hoda is simply a down to earth woman doing what she is so passionate about. She makes you realize to never give up on your dreams no matter how many times you get knocked down. Would recommend this book to anyone.
gigisix More than 1 year ago
Very intertaining read, funny and very enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Watch KLG and Hoda every day. She is so real and down to earth and now I know why. She seems to genuinely care for all people no matter if they are important or famous or just regular folks. Hoda so glad you have a new love in your life. Never change. The way you are is why you have such a good and happy and fun life. Your viewers leave your show with a little bit of you rubbing off. Thank you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hoda is very honest and it was interesting as she talked about her family life as well as an up-and-coming reporter.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hoda shared her personal life with us, from growing up in a family that immigrated from Egypt to the USA, to her personal battle with cancer and divorce, and ending with the rise of her career. It was well written and easy to read. I would recommend it if you are a fan of hers.
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