Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables

Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables

4.8 16
by Phil Vischer

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This is a story of dreaming big and working hard, of spectacular success and breathtaking failure, of shouted questions, and, at long last, whispered answers. With trademark wit and heart, Phil Vischer shares how God can use the death of a dream to point us toward true success.

Larry. Bob. Archibald. These VeggieTales stars are the most famous vegetables you


This is a story of dreaming big and working hard, of spectacular success and breathtaking failure, of shouted questions, and, at long last, whispered answers. With trademark wit and heart, Phil Vischer shares how God can use the death of a dream to point us toward true success.

Larry. Bob. Archibald. These VeggieTales stars are the most famous vegetables you'll ever eat. Oops, meet. Their antics are known around the world. But so much of the VeggieTales story hasn't been told. In Me, Myself, and Bob, Phil Vischer, founder of Big Idea and creator of VeggieTales, gives a behind-the-scenes look at his not-so-funny journey with the loveable veggies. From famed creator to bankrupt dreamer, Vischer shares his story of trial and ultimate triumph as God inspired him with one big idea after another.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Have you ever been tempted to start your own business? First read this cautionary tale, especially if you think your ideas come from God. Vischer, a pioneer in computerized animation and creator of Veggie Tales, proves that a pathetically skinny, shy techno-geek can be hilarious even when describing his headlong plunge into bankruptcy. In 1989, "with an unflappable `How hard could it be' attitude," the 22-year-old entrepreneur launched his dream of creating high-quality Christian entertainment by founding the company that would become Big Idea Productions. Thirteen stressful years later, he was featured in a People magazine cover story "small town kid kicked out of Bible college and down to his last ten bucks creates talking vegetables and hits it big, selling 40 million videos!" shortly before firing half his staff in an unsuccessful attempt to avert disaster. While Vischer accepts the blame for the collapse ("my strengths built Big Idea, and my weaknesses brought it down"), he also details various unnamed executives' incompetence. One question haunted him: if he was doing God's work, why didn't God rescue his company? Concluding his story of spiritual inspiration and heartbreak, Vischer draws lessons from his experience for anyone who has ever lost a dream. (Jan. 9) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Read an Excerpt

Me, Myself & Bob

A True Story about God, Dreams, and Talking Vegetables
By Phil Vischer

Nelson Books

Copyright © 2007 Phil Vischer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7852-2207-1

Chapter One

Muscatine and Me

Evelyn Schauland was a fancy woman.

I always liked stories that start with a really great line, like "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," or "They call me Ishmael." So I wrestled around a bit and came up with "Evelyn Schauland was a fancy woman." Not bad, eh? I mean, maybe it isn't "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," but it's got some rhythm. And the best part is, it's true.

But first, let me go back to the very beginning. I was born in Muscatine, Iowa, a town of about 25,000 people on the banks of the Mississippi River. If you're like most folks, you've probably never heard of Muscatine, Iowa. If you aren't from the Midwest, you may not even be sure which one is Iowa and which one is Ohio. We get that a lot. For the record, Iowa is the one with all the corn, right across the Mississippi from Illinois. (And that's a silent s in Illinois. Same with Des Moines. Which is in Iowa. But not the same with Des Plaines, which is in Illinois. It has noisy s's. Don't ask me why, because I don't know. I'm pretty sure we can blame the French, though.) As for Muscatine-well, if you look at a map of Iowa, you'll notice that the eastern edge, the one on the Mississippi, looks sort of like a face. A man's face, to be exact, with a big ol' nose in the middle and a little beard hanging off at the bottom. And if you look at it that way, Muscatine is very easy to find because, well, it's the nostril. I was born in Iowa's nostril.

You might expect growing up in a state's nostril to be an olfactorily intriguing experience, and, in that regard, Muscatine did not disappoint. My childhood memories of Muscatine are dominated by two very strong and not entirely pleasant odors. The first emanated from the Kent Feed plant on the south side of Muscatine, not far from the church we attended. I don't know much about the Kent Feed Company, but I do know that any product whose name implies that its primary purpose is to be eaten should not emit such a foul odor during its manufacture.

The second strong odor resided in the middle of Muscatine, near the house of my grade school years, and arose from a large Heinz ketchup factory. Now, you may be thinking, "Ketchup! Yum!" And having a ketchup factory in the middle of town was kind of fun, in particular during harvesttime every year when all the roads leading to the plant were covered with smashed tomatoes. (Insert VeggieTales joke here.) But before you get too jealous, spread some ketchup-Heinz or otherwise-around your kitchen table, let it get nice and warm, and then smell it. It smells terrible. Ketchup is made with vinegar, and that is exactly how the middle of Muscatine smelled when the wind blew past the ketchup plant on a warm day.

If you're paying attention (and I hope you are, because otherwise none of this will make sense when you reach the end), you've probably noticed that Muscatine was not exactly a sleepy little farm community. It was an industrial town. Besides the Kent Feed plant and the Heinz factory, the Muscatine of my youth also hosted the world headquarters of HON Industries, a large office furniture manufacturer, and Bandag, the world's largest retreader of truck tires. As much as I've always liked really cool office furniture (don't ask me why-it's a strange, lifelong fascination), my family connection was with Bandag, the world's largest retreader of truck tires. My grandfather, you see, was the executive vice president of sales and marketing at Bandag, having helped grow the company from almost nothing to an international concern with dealerships in more than a hundred countries. My father was Bandag's vice president of advertising, reporting to his father for the entire fourteen years he worked for the company. This, in hindsight, may not have been the best choice.

But I digress.

Evelyn Schauland was a fancy woman. Yes. That's where I started, and here we are back again. Her dyed blond hair was always freshly styled in one of those amazing 1970s configurations that seemed more architectural than biological. Her pantsuits were immaculate and colorful. As mayor of Muscatine through much of my childhood, she was as close to royalty as we got, and she looked the part.

Which only made it more embarrassing when my father dumped her into the Mississippi River.

Okay, not exactly into the river itself, but rather into the mud along the western banks (which, from the point of view of a pantsuit, may actually be worse). And it really wasn't his fault, you see, because she was in a hot air balloon. The Bandag hot air balloon, to be exact. It was a publicity stunt-my dad taking the mayor up in the Bandag hot air balloon. And I'm sure it would have been a huge success if it weren't for the unexpected wind that grabbed the balloon-and the fancy mayor-and sent them swiftly out toward the big river. Fortunately, the quick-thinking pilot was able to set the balloon down before the wind could carry them out over the river and on to Illinois, where, undoubtedly, the fancy mayor would have been captured and held for ransom. Given that interstate hostage situations seldom make good press, especially when your company logo is emblazoned all over the interloping vehicle, we believe the best decision was made. Nonetheless, the balloon came down in Mississippi mud, and the mayoral pantsuit was soiled.

This was rather embarrassing for my father. But none of that was on my young mind at the time. None of that was responsible for the nagging ache in my gut. No, what I couldn't stop thinking about was the fact that the entire incident took place on Sunday morning. When my father should have been in church. In all my life I had never known either of my parents to miss church for anything short of hospitalization, and yet here was my father skipping church for a publicity stunt with the mayor. An event with no redeeming spiritual significance whatsoever.

I feared for his soul.


Excerpted from Me, Myself & Bob by Phil Vischer Copyright © 2007 by Phil Vischer. 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.

Meet the Author

Phil Vischer is the CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Big Idea Productions. As co-creator of the popular series, VeggieTales™, he has also served as writer, director and voice for more than a dozen characters, including Bob the Tomato. Since the release of the first VeggieTales™ episode in 1993, more than 30 million units have been sold in the series. Vischer and his wife, Lisa, live in the Chicago, IL with their 3 children.

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Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About God, Dreams, and Talking Vegetables 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To give this book only 5 stars is to sell it short! If you are a Veggie Tales fan, you'll be interested, but a nice tale about how the Veggies came to be is not nearly what this book is about. It answers that question of course, but it also tells the tale of the hard times and the DESPERATE times of Phil Vischer and his company, Big Idea Productions. What the book is really all about though is God. The last three chapters of this book were profoundly convicting to me, and I have a feeling that the changes that Phil, his journey, and the lessons he shared have started in me will be changes that I will look back at some day and say, 'Wow, that all started with reading that book?' The lessons Phil shares in this book regarding his journey with Veggie Tales are worth every minute of reading. You will not be able to put this book down. The way he writes will draw you right in and you will feel like you are listening to an old (and completely hyterical) friend. I laughed and cried A LOT! Most of all, I am inspired to walk more closely with God, as ultimately Phil points out, that is all that really matters.
KLJ25 More than 1 year ago
The writing is self-depreciating (describes himself a lot as a Bible school dropout) & but it's not annoying. The story starts when he's a kid alone in the basement with cameras, how Larry was created, the first Veggie Tales video, onto the crash. The story is very interesting & well written but the best part is the end where he discusses "lessons learned". I will be thinking about this book & the lessons for a long time. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It addicting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great job Phil Vischer!! :-)
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Bryce Miller More than 1 year ago
this book is one of the best books i ever read. check out C. S. Lewis for other great books.
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Hamilton McAfee More than 1 year ago
Amazing book.
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