I was so sad to read the news today: Jeffrey Zaslow, longtime Wall Street Journal writer and best selling author died in a car crash on Friday night. He was coming home from a book reading when he lost control of his car. He was only 53 years old.
I first found out about Jeffrey when somebody recommended to me his book “The Girls from Ames” a story of women and a 40 year friendship. As I read the book I began to forget this book was written by a man.
I read several interviews about him and I learned that he was interested in talking to book clubs. I was so intruiged: Every single thing written about him was so positive. In fact, the girls in the Ames book couldn’t get over the way he worked his way into their lives and how well he told their story.
On a whim, I e-mailed him at his contact information and asked him if he would be willing to speak via conference call to my book club. He responded within hours that yes indeed he would. He would be delighted.
We set the date for the meeting and my club read the book. We loved it. We looked forward to meeting an author, even if it was via conference call.
On the day of the meeting, Jeffrey e-mailed me ahead of time. He was running late and could we call him on his cell phone until he made it back into his office?
Is this guy for real?
Of course, yes, I called him on his cell phone to conduct our book meeting. It was amazing, he was able to work the room of 12 women via conference call like I have never seen anyone do. As people talked he could tell who was speaking by their voice and followed the conversation as if he were in the room.
In short, he was delightful.
But the story doesn’t end here. I e-mailed him back to thank him and he asked me if I would be interested in having one of the “Girls from Ames” come to my home for my home book club? One of the women was interested and willing to speak with book groups. Wowza!
After he arranged our meeting, Kelly, one of the girls from Ames, attended my book club and she was a wonderful speaker. She shared more about the book but she also shared stories about how the girls really enjoyed working with Jeffrey.
Afterwards, I e-mailed him and thanked him for arranging it. Of course, he e-mailed me right back that he was so glad it all worked out. He knew it would.
How to make sense of the tragic loss of one of the good guys? It’s one of life’s toughest questions. My condolences to his wife and three daughters. He was an incredible author. He was kind and funny. He was delightful. RIP Jeffrey Zaslow.