Tell us about yourself.
I’m 68 years old, married for 34 years with three adult children and 3 grandchildren (and a 4th on the way). I’ve been a pediatric infectious diseases specialist for more than 35 years and feel guilty admitting that because in all that time I really should have figured out a way to prevent this pandemic before it happened. I’ve coached youth basketball and baseball, the latter all the way from T-ball through high school. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, so it was logical that my first ever book was about…baseball!
How did you get to be where you are today?
With the love and support of my parents, wife, and kids. Whatever the challenges of the day, month, or year, I knew I could come home and find sanctuary.
Have you ever been fired?
Thankfully, no. I’ve been an academic physician my entire career, and chaired our promotions and tenure committees at the University of Colorado School of Medicine for 17 years. As such, it was my opportunity to counsel young (and old) fellow physicians on how NOT to get fired, but rather get promoted and recognized for their good works.
What are your real passions?
First and foremost, of course, my family. An earlier book I’ve written, “No Regrets Parenting” reflects the love I have for my kids and my efforts to help others maximize and optimize the precious minutes during parenting. As I wrote, there are only 940 Saturdays between a child’s birth and her high school graduation – and by the time they’re starting kindergarten, 260 Saturdays are already gone! I also love writing, as I noted above, and reading. I collect rare and interesting books during my expeditions to the used bookstores and online book venues I troll.
If you won the lottery, what would you do?
I’d put money into trusts for our grandchildren – but not too much money, just enough to help them get by during tough times; trust babies with too much money historically make stupid decisions and fail to assume personal responsibility for their success. Then, I’d set up a foundation for the causes I believe in. Finally, I’d buy season tickets to the Colorado Rockies (my hometown major league baseball team) on the third base line (behind the Rockies’ dugout).
What do you do to help others be their best?
My goal in writing the books I’ve written is to use my personal experiences to help others become their best. The newest book, “No Regrets Living – 7 Keys to a Life of Wonder and Contentment,” is all about self-actualization and helping readers move past regrets they’ve had and on to a future where they can avoid new regrets. The book touches on faith, fate, self-forgiveness, finding purpose, and personal growth. I hope those guideposts help readers become their best.
Dr. Harley Rotbart on The Best Ever You Show
How do you help yourself be the best you can be?
The messages in “No Regrets Living” are informed by my personal experiences. I can truly say I’ve walked the walk I recommend for others, and I believe I am better every day for it.
What do you like to do in your personal life?
In addition to my book collecting and reading addictions noted earlier, I confess to having become addicted to the panoply of online streaming TV offerings. My wife and I indulge ourselves to an hour or two (maximum!) of streaming series over dinner each night. Please, please don’t tell our kids we watch TV during dinner – that never happened when they were younger and living at home.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future? I’d like to try writing fiction. A first effort was promising but was “scooped” by a Netflix series that used the same plot line I had designed and even some of the same twists and turns. It seemed so similar I suspected the Kinko’s attendant who helped me print a few copies of stealing the idea – of course I’m not serious, but it was creepy to see my story on Netflix from someone else. So, back to the drawing board (writing board?).
What is a book or two that you recommend?
John Kabat-Zinn’s, “Full Catastrophe Living”
Herbert Benson’s, “The Relaxation Response”
Rachel Naomi Remen’s, “Kitchen Table Wisdom”
Please give us one or two shameless plugs.
Eek! I may have already done that above…Okay, “No Regrets Living – 7 Keys to a Life of Wonder and Contentment” and “Miracles We Have Seen – America’s Leading Physicians Share Stories they Can’t Forget” are the two most recent books I hope readers will find the most inspirational and helpful for becoming their best ever selves.
What are some of your favorites? (books, websites, etc..)
I’ve noted some of the books above. I’ve also noted that now since our kids are grown, my wife and I watch streaming TV series. Our favorites: Breaking Bad, The West Wing, Homeland, The Americans. I’m also a political junkie – the website “Real Clear Politics” presents the daily yin and yang of political opinion.
Why do you do what you do?
I have been blessed to have a potpourri of careers within my career as a physician. I’ve been a laboratory research scientist, an administrator, a writer, and a counselor – all in addition to having the privilege of taking care of some of the sickest children in Colorado. That mixture has kept me inspired and fulfilled.
What are a few of your goals?
After a career in search of the eradication of disease, I’d like to move on to the eradication of evil. Of course that sounds impossible – evil has been part of our world since the biblical tale of one brother killing the other in the very beginning of the Bible. So how can I even suggest the eradication of evil as a potential change in the world which would improve our mental (and physical!) wellbeing? Because we have already proven we can eradicate, or severely reduce, plagues of diseases, the scourge of natural disasters, and the impacts of man-made accidents. Over the past 200 years, we have been able to relieve, to a great extent, each of those burdens. And now it’s time to prevent and cure the world of evil.
The root causes of evil, like the root causes of heart disease and diabetes, will, I believe, be identified and addressed. As a pediatrician, though, I can offer a head start in our search. I believe virtually every societal malady can be traced to childhood. The environment in which a child is born and raised is the single greatest determinant of that child’s future as an adult—and their propensity for choosing to do good or evil. Of course there are exceptions, but, as a general rule, a child raised with love and kindness, a child taught tolerance and acceptance, a child witnessing ethical and charitable role models does not turn into Adolf Hitler. Our focus for scientific advances to heal the world, to prevent and someday eradicate evil, must start in the home where that disease starts and spreads from adult to child.
What do the words "Best Ever You" mean to you?
Feeling, appreciating, and expressing gratitude for the many, many blessings in my life. A few moments of gratitude every day remind me of all that is good in my life, and give me hope for even better tomorrow.
For more information visit: Dr. Harley Rotbart