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In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving Hardcover – July 13, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Those familiar with the film The Blind Side, or Michael Lewis's best-selling book, will likely already know the inspiring story of how the Tuohys took future-NFL star Michael Oher into their home and adopted him. For anyone wondering what more there might be to say about it, the answer is: plenty. In a Heartbeat finds the Tuohys attempting to determine what it was that made them reach out to the homeless African-American boy they saw walking down the street in a t-shirt and shorts on a winter's day. Leigh Anne and Sean had known tough times themselves and had put themselves on the lookout for troubled kids in need of help. As a white, southern, church-going family, they defy red-state/blue-state stereotypes (for instance, by sending their teen-age daughter to a seminar fostering racial and social justice); though Leigh Anne has been described as a "gun-toting Republican Christian," and admits to carrying weapons, she also claims to cross "party lines all the time." With Jenkins's help they write with humor about their quirks and the joy that Michael brought to their family, finally arriving at the belief that "we can all change people's lives by investing time in individuals."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“If you saw the movie The Blind Side, you saw a family that is quite honestly the most amazing family I think I have ever, ever seen… Remarkable, remarkable people.”—Glenn Beck
“In The Blind Side I did my best to describe the full force of Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, but there is only so much one writer can do. In A Heartbeat picks up where I left off, and gives the reader a much fuller portrait of these extraordinary people.”—Michael Lewis
“All I can say is, if there were more Leigh Anne Tuohys, the world would be a better-run, more harmonious, and more productive place . . . She’s such an amazing person.”—Sandra Bullock
“Sean is an all-around good guy, and the inspirational story of what he and his family did for this kid—the time, the effort, and the love he put out—is pretty incredible.”—Tim McGraw
“Their book aims to bring the Michael Oher miracle off the big screen and back down to Earth—and make sure that its message won’t get lost here.”—The Baltimore Sun

“For anyone wondering what more there might be to say about the inspiring story of The Blind Side, the answer is: plenty… They write with humor about their quirks and the joy that Michael brought to their family.”—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805093389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805093384
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Oh. My. Goodness. I loved the film The Blind Side, but I really loved In a Heartbeat. Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy share their story, in their words. The chapters alternate between Sean's voice and Leigh Anne's voice, as well as several chapters they write together. All three Tuohy children: Collins, Michael and S.J., as well as Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw each write something as well.

Sean and Leigh Anne share a strong faith in God and a strong belief in making a difference. I love Sean's Popcorn Theory about noticing others: that, "you can't help everyone. But you can try to help the hot ones who pop up right in front of your face." The Tuohy's didn't plan on stopping to pick up Michael Oher, they didn't plan on giving him a home and they didn't plan on adopting him. They are very open about the fact that their decision to stop and pick him up changed their lives, in a heartbeat.

The Tuohy's share their stories; how they each grew up and the experiences that shaped them. They believe in being cheerful givers and in raising their children to be cheerful givers. In a Heartbeat is an inspiring story about a remarkable family.

I loved the humor. I loved the honesty. The little asides, like the one where Leigh Anne says she doesn't actually wear skirts as tight as the ones Sandra Bullock wore in the film, simply make this book more personable.
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Format: Hardcover
I watched The Blind Side three times in one night. Each time I watched the movie, I walked away with something new: a vision, a call to action, a new-found respect. I laughed at Leigh Ann Tuohy's straight-forward, no-holds-barred manner (as played by Sandra Bullock) and rejoiced with Michael as he crossed each new hurdle on his way to his future, to success. And so, when this book by "The Blindside Family" was offered for review, I jumped at the chance to read more about the Tuohys, the love they gave so easily, and the difference they made in the life of one young man: Michael Oher.

The book reads with the same ease and straight-forward thought that made the movie a blockbuster hit. It is full of Leigh Ann-isms that will cause you to chuckle and sometimes outright guffaw, but it is also full of wise observations, persuasive encouragement, and plenty of ideas for action. It will give you a glimpse inside the Tuohy family and the Tuohy philosophy, and that in itself is certainly entertaining, but the Tuohys aren't just another wealthy family who can afford to give and so they do; they are a family that gives generously because it is who they are and it is what they believe. They give with a cheerful heart, and they encourage their reader to do the same, no matter how much or how little you may be able to give at this time.

In a Heartbeat will entertain, encourage, and call you to action. It will show you that becoming a cheerful giver is something we can all do, no matter what our current financial situation, and it will admonish you to go out and do something: to give your time, your knowledge, your talents, and/or your money to help even one person, that one person who "pops up" right in front of you, as Michael did.
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Format: Hardcover
When I first heard that the Tuohys would be writing a book, I was so excited. I remember seeing The Blind Side at the theater, and was an immediate fan of the movie and what this family did. I was very eager to read their side of the story, and find out how much from the movie was true, or if the truth was just stretched a bit.

Let me tell ya, these people know what it means to give of themselves without asking for anything in return. What's even more laudable is that they don't want a big spectacle made of their generosity. It's all about giving of themselves cheerfully like the Bible teaches. They've also passed this trait down to their children....all 3 of them.

While a lot of folks around Memphis have literally bashed them for their giving spirit toward Michael Oher, they don't really know the whole story. Now, I'm not an expert on the subject, but I've lived in the Memphis area for most of my life, and I know what the majority of people are like in this city. It's very racially divided, and a huge hotspot of crime. Most people around here, whether black or white, don't readily reach out to a stranger. That's what makes what the Tuohys did so special. As a well-to-do white family living in a nice area of Memphis, they reached out and gave of their love to this one black kid. They didn't do it to get any special recognition, and they didn't do it to raise eyebrows or to get people gossiping. They did it because they realized a need was there, and they acted upon it--plain and simple.

Their example is one that we can all learn from. While they are a very comfortable family, and are able to give financially to various charities and causes, they make a point of saying that money is not the only way you can give.
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Format: Hardcover
Have you seen Michael Oher today?

According to Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy in their new book, we pass by "Michaels" everyday. We just don't take the time to really see them. Sean Tuohy in speaking about the Touhy's Popcorn Theory says,

"The Popcorn Theory is about noticing others. It starts with recognizing a fellow soul by the roadside as kindred, even if he doesn't seem to belong in your gated community and, at six foot five and over three hundred pounds, is the biggest piece of popcorn you ever saw. It's about acknowledging that person's potential and value. It's about seeing him, instead of looking past him."

After many have read Michael Lewis's book The Blind Side and seen the movie starring Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy and Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, we think we know this family. Through In a Heartbeat, the Tuohy family seeks to tell the story of their family in their own words.

I so enjoyed this book, because each member of the Tuohy family speaks about their experience. Sean and Leigh Anne write the main chapters and in between each chapter is an interlude written by Tim McGraw, Sandra Bullock, Collins Tuohy (daughter), Sean Junior (son) and even Michael Oher himself.

The chapters are written in an easy going conversational style. The reader gets a glimpse into the upbringing and circumstances that shaped Sean and Leigh Anne and what developed this deep understanding they have of the importance of cheerful giving. They truly are a shining example of what it means to give yourself away and not just your money.

As a parent, I appreciated how open Sean and Leigh Anne were in the book about how they raised Collins and SJ and the kind of people they hoped they would be.
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