Sometimes Brilliant: The Impossible Adventure of a Spiritual Seeker and Visionary Physician Who Helped Conquer the Worst Disease in History

Sometimes Brilliant: The Impossible Adventure of a Spiritual Seeker and Visionary Physician Who Helped Conquer the Worst Disease in History

by Larry Brilliant


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The unforgettable, entertaining, and inspiring memoir of the activist, teacher, entrepreneur, and spiritual leader that illuminates some of the most revolutionary events of a generation, many of the legendary people who defined it, and a towering figure at the center of it.

Larry Brilliant’s life journey has led him on a purposeful path across continents and countercultural movements, marching arm-in-arm with the men and women who defined a generation. A man who has always been in the right place at the right time, Brilliant has engaged with some of the most prominent thought leaders, spiritual masters, heroes, and icons in the world, including Neem Karoli Baba (Maharajji), Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Jobs, Mikhail Gorbachev, Wavy Gravy, the Grateful Dead, the Dalai Lama, and Barack Obama.

But this self-proclaimed “typical Jewish kid from Detroit” was no accidental witness to history. Brilliant is a force of nature in his own right, responsible for some of the most significant medical, spiritual, and social achievements of the past century—from the eradication of smallpox and treatment of blindness to introducing the teachings of the Maharajji to the Woodstock Generation, to launching Google’s philanthropic enterprises. Now for the first time, Brilliant reflects on his remarkable life and his extraordinary experiences as a doctor, innovator, philanthropist, and cultural revolutionary.

As he recalls the past fifty years and all that he has seen and done, this masterful storyteller offers transformative messages of wisdom and compassion that will inspire everyone to work towards a better, more brilliant existence. His is a truly cinematic and fun journey—and a profound search for meaning that provides a new perspective on what it means to be engaged with life’s most important questions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062049230
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

LARRY BRILLIANT, M.D., M.P.H., is a pioneering physician, visionary technologist, and global philanthropist. The first executive director of, he currently serves as chairman of Skoll Global Threats Fund. Larry co-founded the The Seva Foundation, whose programs and partners have restored sight to more than 4 million blind in dozens of countries. He has worked with four Presidents, the UN, G8 and Chaired the National Biosurveillance Advisory Subcommittee. He co-founded one of the first digital social networks, the Well. He and his wife Girija and their children live in Northern California.

Fred Sanders, an actor and Earphones Award-winning narrator, has received critics' praise for his audio narrations that range from nonfiction, memoir, and fiction to mystery and suspense. He been seen on Broadway in The Buddy Holly Story, in national tours for Driving Miss Daisy and Big River, and on such television shows as Seinfeld, The West Wing, Will and Grace, Numb3rs,Titus, and Malcolm in the Middle. His films include Sea of Love, The Shadow, and the Oscar-nominated short Culture. He is a native New Yorker and Yale graduate.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

1 In Medias Res, The Middle of Things 1

2 Nickelodeons 11

3 Woodstock on Wheels 31

4 Magic Bus Trip 49

5 Renunciation 77

6 Initiation 93

7 You Are No Doctor 115

8 Prophecy 129

9 Apprenticeship 155

10 Karma Yoga 187

11 Escape from Central Prison 201

12 After-Death Experience 215

13 Tales of the Jungle 241

14 City of the Tatas 267

15 Smiling Buddha 295

16 The Goddess of Smallpox Fights Back 321

17 The Final Inch 337

18 The Case for Optimism 365

Epilogue 375

Acknowledgments 397

Further Reading 413

Credits 415

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