“In an age of global crisis, Sometimes Brilliant is a beacon of hope. An improbable and engaging account of how the world came together to eradicate one of the most deadly diseases in our history. A must read for those dedicated to create necessary and lasting change.” (Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation)
“Fabulous! A wildly inspiring, wondrous, improbable, heartbreaking, and triumphant tale. Makes you want to do beautiful courageous things.” (Jack Kornfield, founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and author of A Path with Heart)
“One of the best books I’ve ever read, period. An extraordinary adventure, scientific odyssey, and spiritual journey of the highest orders. Beautifully written and deeply inspiring; a klieg light in the darkness. Brilliant in every way!” (Dean Ornish, M.D., Founder & President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF, author, The Spectrum and Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease)
“Sometimes Brilliant is a candid assessment of a tumultuous time and an insider’s account of what can be achieved through the sheer force of a shared vision.” (Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and bestselling author of Lean In)
“Larry Brilliant has been an incredible inspiration to me, as a spiritual advisor, teacher and friend. His life story is nothing short of remarkable and this book will serve as an enduring inspiration for many generations to come.” (Marc Benioff, Chariman and CEO, Salesforce)
“A brilliant story teller reveals a life of endless curiosity. Having worked with and known the author for 43 years I can verify that some of these stories may actually be true! I highly recommend this book.” (Bill Foege, M.D. MPH, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Honor, former head of CDC, and author of House on Fire)
“I couldn’t have made up a story half as interesting or thought provoking as what I just read in these pages. This terrific book brings to light the power of the karmic yoga path. Do yourself a favor and read it.” (Chade-Meng Tan, New York Times bestselling author of Search Inside Yourself and Joy on Demand)
“What a welcome relief to see this story of someone with soul and a great healing spirit coming out of Silicon Valley, to actually - literally - help in saving the world.” (Mark Anderson, CEO, Strategic News Service)
“This is the story of life that you couldn’t make up if you tried. Inspiring, terrifying, touching and transcendent, with a cast of characters from the widest possible spectrum of humanity. An astounding book to treasure and devour.” (Jay Walker, Founder, Priceline.com)
From the Back Cover
When a powerful mystic steps on the hand of a radical young hippie doctor from Detroit, it changes lives and the world. Sometimes Brilliant chronicles the adventures of a philosopher, seeker, unconventional doctor, groundbreaking tech innovator, and key player in the eradication of one of the worst pandemics in human history. His story—about what happens when love, compassion, and determination meet the right circumstances to effect positive change—is the kind that keeps hope and the sense of possibility alive.
After sitting at the feet of Martin Luther King Jr. at the University of Michigan in 1963, Larry Brilliant was swept up into the civil rights movement, marching and protesting across America and Europe. As a radical young doctor, he followed the Hippie Trail from London over the Khyber Pass with his wife Girija, Wavy Gravy, and the Hog Farm commune to India. There, he found himself in a Himalayan ashram wondering whether he had stumbled into a cult. Instead, one of India’s greatest spiritual teachers, Neem Karoli Baba, opened Larry’s heart and told him his destiny was to work for the World Health Organization to help eradicate deadly smallpox. He never would have believed he’d become a key player in eliminating a ten-thousand-year-old disease that killed more than half a billion people in the twentieth century alone.
Brilliant’s unlikely trajectory, chronicled in Sometimes Brilliant, has brought him into close proximity with political leaders, spiritual masters, cultural heroes, and titans of technology around the world—from the Grateful Dead to Mikhail Gorbachev, from Ram Dass, the Dalai Lama, Lama Govinda, and Karmapa to Steve Jobs and the founders of Google, Salesforce, Facebook, Microsoft, and eBay, and Presidents Carter, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. Anchored by the engrossing account of the heroic efforts of the extraordinary people involved in smallpox eradication in India, this is a riveting and fascinating epidemiological expedition, an honest reckoning of an entire generation, and a deeply moving spiritual memoir. It is a testament to faith, love, service, and what it means to engage with life’s most important questions in pursuit of a better, more brilliant existence.