Dan Gediman visits campus for book signing

Yvette Ordonez

Students talk about Dan Gediman's book This I Believe: Life Lessons after visiting with the author.
Students talk about Dan Gediman’s book This I Believe: Life Lessons after visiting with the author.

Dan Gediman, editor of book This I Believe, was at MSU for a presentation Oct. 21 and a book signing Oct. 22. Gediman is a long-time public radio producer, winning prestigious awards including the DuPont-Columbia Award. His shift to starting This I Believe was when he was unemployed and lying in bed, not knowing what to do with himself. After he had the idea and brought it to life, the book became a hit. At least 100 schools in the country use it as a teaching device. Dan is also a skilled public speaker who has carried speeches for schools of all kinds, businesses, and community organizations.

“I’ve visited over 50 schools now,” Gediman said. “When I first came up with the idea, I never thought it would come to pass. It has been incredibly supported.”

The book has been used at several schools across the nation. At MSU, the College Connections classes have read the book and went to get their books signed on Thursday. Leonardo Gonzalez, freshman in kinesiology, found himself relating to the book.

“My favorite story was the one about flexibility. My parents are always busy and I’ve had to learn to do things on my own. I can’t depend on them a lot because they both work,” Gonzalez said.

Alyssa Mitchell, freshman in athletic training, read most of the book and found herself connecting most to Caring Makes Us Human, a story written by a prisoner in Michigan and his opinion about how prisoners should practice kindness and be vulnerable.

“I’m almost done with the book. I really like it. I like Caring Makes Us Human because I have a cat. I’m a cat person, but I like the message too,” Mitchell said.

gediman interview228_webWhen deciding what is worthy of being published, Gediman said he looks for, not the best writing, but the ones with the best message.

“Everyone has different political beliefs, different ethic and social economic beliefs. But we all have common humanity. Writing and reading essays like these essays, even if we don’t agree, can be a transforming experience,” Gediman said.

The book in filled with personal stories of people in different walks of life, with a life lesson to share. Their latest book, This I Believe: Philadelphia, was published this month. Gediman said Texas has supported This I Believe in a tremendous way, with radio stations in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio presenting stories on air.

“San Antonio actually has some people send in their stories in Spanish, Esto Lo Creo. It is translated so it’s cool that we are able to hear and feel what people are saying even when they speak a different language,” Gediman said.

Gediman is working on a new media project, set to debut in the fall of 2016, entitled A More Perfect Union: How Can We Make American Better, though now he is thinking about changing the name. He wants to continue working on more books to inspire, motivate, and move people.

“We need to focus on what connects us, not separates us. The fact that we are different is what makes this country great, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. That’s the point. Everyone can find something they relate to in this book,” Gediman said.

Gediman is now interested in working on a book wholly on the people living in Texas. Anyone can submit their essay by going to thisibelieve.org. He encourages everyone to look at the website and check out the audio recordings of people reading their life lesson.