Born in 1932 into a proud and happy family in Portland, Oregon, Bill Porter was still an infant when his mother found out he had cerebral palsy. Despite the advice of doctors that he be institutionalized, Bill's mother was determined to keep him at home and help him live a normal life. In the inspiring new book Ten Things I Learned From Bill Porter (New World Library, $20, 160 pages, ISBN 1577312031) we see how her devotion and Bill's own perseverance paid off. Though his speech was slurred, and he had problems with painful and uncooperative muscles, Porter never felt sorry for himself or complained about his condition. Faced with unsympathetic unemployment workers who wanted him to stay home and collect disability, he began selling household products door-to-door and went on to become his company's top salesman.
Shelly Brady was a 17-year-old high school student when she first got a job assisting Porter by delivering products to his customers, and once she was out of college she became his personal assistant and, more importantly, his good friend. In her book, Brady shares the values and attitudes that made Porter such a special and influential presence in her life. His passion for his work and unflagging optimism are just a few of the qualities that made him a success and an inspiration for the thousands who heard his story, which was first broadcast on ABC's 20/20. Filled with personal anecdotes from Porter's life, this book is a marvelous and moving account of how one man's determination changed many lives in addition to his own.
Lessons like "live your values" may seem simple, but Porter's story (adapted into a television movie that debuted in July) is evidence that the simplest rules for living are often the most profound. Porter loves to say, "Never doubt that your life is important," and this book proves his point beautifully.