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Stars offer insight on positive thinking

October 05, 2010|By Brian McGackin
(www.susyshearerphotography.com )

Do we really need another book on gratitude and why someone is thankful for things, memories, self-discovery or happiness? Todd Aaron Jensen says we do, and I’m actually inclined to agree with him.

Jensen, who grew up and still lives in Burbank, is an award-winning freelance journalist who has been featured in more than 100 publications worldwide. “On Gratitude,” which just hit stores Sept. 21, is his first full-length book. Well, its actual title is “On Gratitude: Sheryl Crow, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Keys, Daryl Hall, Ray Bradbury, Anna Kendrick, B.B. King, Elmore Leonard, Deepak Chopra, and 42 More Celebrities Share What They’re Most Thankful For,” but my editor only allows me so many words.

“On Gratitude” is a collection of surprisingly fun interviews between Jensen and Crow, Bridges, Keys, etc., focusing on the things that they are most thankful for in their lives. And it isn’t all fame, fortune and glory, either. Actress Kristen Bell, whose interview opens the book, is thankful for Stephen Sondheim and her time spent volunteering in Brazil. Bestselling author Dean Koontz is thankful for his wife and his dogs. NBA star Yao Ming is thankful for his teammates and World of Warcraft. The book contains a highly mixed bag of responses.

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However, what’s most astonishing about Jensen’s book isn’t what each celebrity is grateful for — or that he was even able to wrangle so many interviews at all — but how open and inviting each celebrity seems to be. Not only does “On Gratitude” present the humble, down-to-earth sides of each person interviewed, in many cases, Jensen was able to get his subjects talking about highly personal moments in their lives, moments that shaped who they would become.

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