Author Sam Baker: Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life

An Interview With Pirie Jones Grossman

Pirie Jones Grossman
Nov 24 · 11 min read

Use Your Imagination. I fell in love with reading and learning at a young age — back then, we truly had to make our own entertainment so using my imagination was crucial. These are lessons I have passed on to my children, who would always ask to hear stories rather than simply be read to.

  1. Spread Joy: My lifelong mission is to spread joy, kindness, and spark creativity and learning in people of all ages, drawing on the valuable lessons he’s learned during his fascinating nine-plus decades on Earth. We could all use joy in our lives more than ever right now.
  2. Be Kind. My number-one piece of advice? No matter what, be kind, because at the end of the day we’re all more similar than you think.
  3. Age is only a Number. Age is no barrier to fulfilling your lifelong goals. You never know about life so you should live every moment on this earth, you should live it. You never know what’s happening tomorrow.
  4. Give Back. I learned the importance of giving back at a young age. My father, a cotton farmer, lost the family farm during the Great Depression, and his mother’s business was also shuttered at the time. Despite these financial difficulties, I recall seeing people come to our family home searching for food and work. My parents never turned anyone away.
  5. Use Your Imagination. I fell in love with reading and learning at a young age — back then, we truly had to make our own entertainment so using my imagination was crucial. These are lessons I have passed on to my children, who would always ask to hear stories rather than simply be read to.
  1. Treating everyone as equal. place honesty at the top of my list when I interview potential candidates for any job. I treat everyone as equal. When I was assigned to the NOAA Ship Pathfinder as Ship’s Officer, it was my job to hire personnel for the ship. I hired a black sailor to fill an open position. There were objections because there were no other black people on the ship. He turned out to be a great sailor, and it opened the door for the ship to adapt an open policy to future hiring.
  2. Prioritizing family. I think that having a strong and loving family is an essential part of a success story.
  1. To get the book from an idea into reality, it takes a lot of time the first time you do it. For example, It takes time to find editors. It takes time to vet illustrators who can take your vision and put it on paper. Colorists took my book’s images and made them come alive with incredible selections. Finally, finding a printer — and most importantly, an honest printer. The printer is vital to bring your book into its full potential. Vet them carefully for the quality of their work and financial stability to actually deliver your books. Our first printer ran off with our funds. Fortunately, we paid with a credit card and they were able to retrieve our funds and get our first book printed.
  2. Marketing your book (and yourself) takes time and money, and a real commitment to it. Using a Canva to design marketing materials and a crowdfunding campaign was instrumental in making it possible to launch Oscar The Mouse. It offers so many opportunities to be creative and imagine through design. I’m glad I have my daughter to help me with marketing to schools, libraries, the government and the public. It takes hours of work to build momentum, get appointments and network. To have success with marketing, it helps to have a marketing plan. Who do you want to reach? Where are those children and how can we reach them and their parents? How much time will you or your marketing person spend every day reaching out to those who are looking for or needing your books? Every step is an adventure.
  3. Be prepared to learn an entirely new field and continually move out of your comfort zone. Some of it is fun, and some of it is challenging. All of it has grown both myself and my daughter.
  4. Attach your book to a bigger cause. We are working to end Illiteracy. It seems that kids who don’t like reading love Oscar the Mouse. They tell me that they love that it’s funny and makes them laugh. Reading should be fun. It makes you want to keep doing it. The biggest joy I have is when children and parents let me know how much my books have meant to them.

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Pirie Jones Grossman

Written by

TedX Speaker, Influencer, Bestselling Author and former TV host for E! Entertainment Television, Fox Television, NBC, CBS and ABC.

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.