Several weeks ago I spoke to our local Kiwanis Club, and after the customary greetings and salutations, I posed this question: Do you ever feel like God has blessed you more than you deserve? Well, I sure do and I give Him all the glory. I was blessed to have good parents who loved me, taught me right from wrong and, by example, taught me the value and importance of hard work.

Let me begin our visit today by saying that in 1968 I took the Dale Carnegie Course, and at the end of the course, my classmates voted for me to receive the “gavel” as leader of the class. A couple of years later my instructor, the late Bob Gannaway, came to see me when I was a printing salesman. He asked me to consider going into business with him to distribute the Earl Nightingale attitude motivation programs that were produced on cassette tape. At the time I was earning really good money, but I saw an opportunity to help a lot of people who were traveling the same school-of-hard-knocks road I had been traveling. This would also give me the opportunity to do a lot of public speaking, which I loved to do.

After a short period of time I learned that “Attitude” was the buzz-word in education, and schools and colleges were the best prospects to purchase my materials. At this time my new school administrator friends began to invite me to speak to their students and teachers. Over the next 10 years I would speak to more than 500 school faculties plus many commencement exercises, state conferences and also many out-of-state engagements. It was during this time, as I traveled in my car over 50,000 miles each year, that I really got an education. I had a cassette player installed in my car and would listen to all those great Earl Nightingale recordings over and over again, and this filled my mind with the wisdom of the ages.

Here is how fate works. I am sure that because of Earl’s influence, I decided to have my own radio program, and in 1980 I launched my program and called it “How to Plan Your Life.” My first station was KARN in Little Rock, and over the next 10 to 15 years the number would grow to over 300 stations coast to coast that would carry my program. During this time I got thousands of letters from listeners and decided to publish a book of my most requested shows. The title was “You Can Be the Best.” After three printings, I let it fall by the wayside when I started my weekly newspaper column.

A few weeks ago I got this book out and reread it, and realized that it is the best work I have ever done. At this point I decided to reprint, and the title would be, “The Best of Jim Davidson.” To confirm my thinking I asked a good friend, Kim Siegel, who works for an international book publisher, to also read it and give me some feedback. Here is what she said, “As I was reading through some of the sections, I kept thinking how your book would make a perfect gift for high school and college graduates. It is the type of book that someone could, at any point in their life, pick up and find a section that speaks to them. I did not get quite as far into it as I had planned because I found myself wanting to stop and ruminate on each story before starting the next. It really is a special collection and I thank you so very much for sharing it with me.”

This book is now published and is available from amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and from the publisher www.sbpra.com/JimDavidson Thank you.