What I’m Reading: The Happiest Man on Earth

If you’re a regular blog reader you know I often listen to audiobooks about the Holocaust.  I don’t know what it is about the Holocaust that draws me to it but something does.  Sometimes I think it’s because I am in awe of what a person can live through, leaving me to believe I too can live through bad things as nothing that bad will ever happen to me.  Sometimes I think I am drawn to it because I want to believe I would be the person that would hide someone and risk my life.  Sometimes I think it is the only way I have that I can honor the lives of those who lost theirs in this terrible time in history.

I strongly believe we can learn by looking back.  Today I have the honor of sharing the story of Eddie Jaku author, educator, and the self-proclaimed, Happiest Man on Earth.
The Happiest Man on Earth: The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor
The book was really good.  I’m so glad that I found this book.  It came at a good time for me.  It’s easy in the middle of dealing with cancer to be sad.  It’s easy to wonder why me.  It’s easy to give up but that is not me…and it was not Eddie.

After living a long life, he dedicated himself to teaching all of us to still strive for happiness.  He was successful.

Not only did he write the book, he also did a Ted Talk.  If you aren’t familiar with them.  They are great.  I highly recommend you look up Ted Talks and give them a listen.  People, not famous people, just ordinary people, share their secrets to life.  They share ways to find happiness.

HERE is a link to the author’s Ted Talk.

Now about the book…I appreciated it so much.  Here is what Amazon has to say:
Born in Leipzig, Germany, into a Jewish family, Eddie Jaku was a teenager when his world was turned upside-down. On November 9, 1938, during the terrifying violence of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, Eddie was beaten by SS thugs, arrested, and sent to a concentration camp with thousands of other Jews across Germany. Every day of the next seven years of his life, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors in Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and finally on a forced death march during the Third Reich’s final days. The Nazis took everything from Eddie – his family, his friends, and his country. But they did not break his spirit.

Against unbelievable odds, Eddie found the will to survive. Overwhelming grateful, he made a promise: he would smile every day in thanks for the precious gift he was given and to honor the six million Jews murdered by Hitler. Today, at 100 years of age, despite all he suffered, Eddie calls himself the “happiest man on earth.” In his remarkable memoir, this born storyteller shares his wisdom and reflects on how he has led his best possible life, talking warmly and openly about the power of gratitude, tolerance, and kindness. Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. With The Happiest Man on Earth, Eddie shows us how. 

Filled with his insights on friendship, family, health, ethics, love, and hatred, and the simple beliefs that have shaped him, The Happiest Man on Earth offers timeless lessons for readers of all ages, especially for young people today.”

Amazon readers gave the book 4.8 stars.  I totally agree.  The book isn’t a long book and totally worth your time.  If you feel you don’t have time for the book or aren’t a reader, the Ted Talk is good.  Give it a listen.

If you are interested, you can find the book HERE.

4 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: The Happiest Man on Earth

  1. Karen

    Jo, I am also interested in reading, and/or hearing about the time of the Holocaust. Lately I have been listening to audiobooks by Kristin Harmel. Her stories take place during WWII mostly in Germany and France. She has done a lot of research into the time and the books are very good. If you haven’t read any of her books, I think you would enjoy them. I enjoyed the Ted Talk too.

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  2. Stearns Carol

    I read Holocaust books as well. I think that we always know it has a happy ending, even though the events are horrific. On a trip to Berlin 2 years ago, we visited Saschenhausen concentration camp. Being there arndseeing it is riveting. We visited Dachau in the 70’s when we were stationed in England. At that time, it was little more than a gate with a few buildings. Now it is built as a museum. Knowing that evil people can do such horrible things is mindboggling.

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  3. Penny

    I am so drawn to books about the Holocaust, too, Jo. And like you I don’t know why. I guess I like reading about those who did survive despite the horrors they went through. Right now my book club is reading “Three Sisters, a Novel” and I’m listening to the audio “The Book of Names.” My thought always is, “How could one human do that to another human?”
    Thank for your recommends. I write most of them down. I just don’t have time to read everything I want to, work on my quilts, volunteer, spend time with family. But I’m a happy woman.

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