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“Life’s Operating Manual” author visits Carbondale

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“Life’s Operating Manual” author visits Carbondale

Aug. 24 — A “Tomversation” at Steve’s Guitars

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By Barbara Dills

Sopris Sun correspondent

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If you are a fan of comedy or a spiritual seeker, there’s a good chance you have heard of Tom Shadyak or seen one of his movies. The youngest staff writer for comedian Bob Hope when he was just 24, Shadyak went on to a successful Hollywood career as a director, writer and producer, best known for the films “Ace Venture: Pet Detective,” “Liar, Liar,” “Bruce Almighty,” and “The Nutty Professor.” More recently, he wrote, directed and produced the documentary “I AM,” which asks some of today’s most respected thinkers “What’s wrong with our world and what can we do about it?” The film, which was shown locally by Davi Nikent in early 2012 and won two awards at the 2010 Telluride Mountain Film festival, also addresses the question, “Why did one of Hollywood’s most successful directors give up a multi-million dollar career — as well as mansions and private planes — for a mobile home and a bicycle?”

A routine concussion from a 2007 mountain bike accident had something to do with it. Shadyak suffered for five months from post-concussion syndrome (PCS), a near deadly and extremely painful condition. In his new book, “Life’s Operating Manual,” he writes, “It’s a powerful thing to face your own death, how mortality can move one into action. And once I surrendered, a single thought came to mind: you cannot die without ever having told your story; you cannot die without ever having expressed who you truly are.” When he recovered from PCS, he immediately began work on “I AM.” He now devotes the majority of his time and celebrity to spreading his message and supporting the philanthropic work of the non-profit he founded, The Foundation for I AM.

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“Life’s Operating Manual” is a series of inspirational dialogues between the inner voices of Fear and Truth, a device Shadyak uses to explore and drive home the central, deceptively simple message of “I AM”: that a collective commitment to love and compassion — one person at a time — truly can (and will) change the world.

On Saturday, August 24, at 6 p.m., Shadyak will lead an intimate “Tomversation” at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale, in which he’ll share more about the inspiration behind his book and his motivation to encourage others to live a more examined life. This event is co-sponsored by The Wheeler Opera House and Aspen Writers’ Foundation (AWF). AWF has made a limited number of copies of “Life’s Operating Manual” available — you can pick one up at The Blend Coffee Company, 1150 Highway 133 while they last, or spend some time at The Blend reading one of the house copies reserved for the community there.  Due to limited seating at Steve’s, those wishing to attend the event on August 24 are encouraged to arrive early.

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Shadyak also will be appearing on Sunday, August 25, at 2:30 at The Wheeler in Aspen in conjunction with the MountainSummit film series, discussing a film that may be his next big-screen project. This will be that rarest of film opportunities — to talk about a movie before it is made.

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Next week in The Sun (if his schedule allows): Part Two, an interview with Tom.

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Shadyak presentation

Steve’s Guitars, 19 N. 4th Street, Carbondale.

6 pm, Saturday, August 24

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Copies of Shadyak’s book “Life’s

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Operating Manual” are available at The Blend.