Larry King Live Weekend
Jesse Jackson Tells Why 'It's About the Money'; Ed Koch Exclaims, 'I'm Not Done Yet'; John Irving Talks About His 'Movie Business'; Tom Feltenstein Imparts 'Uncommon Wisdom'Aired January 15, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
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LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, four outstanding authors. Joining me from Atlanta, Reverend Jesse Jackson gives us his practical and spiritual pointers for accumulating wealth. In New York, the quintessential New Yorker, Ed Koch, talks about everything from politics to his recent health conditions. And in New York, novelist John Irving, riding high on the success of a new movie, "The Cider House Rules." He tells us why it took 14 years to get made. And in Los Angeles, author Tom Feltenstein tells us how to take control and become successful in both business and life.
And they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening, and welcome to another one of our special Saturday night LARRY KING LIVE's in which we bring four well known-author's to our screen with books we think deserve your attention.
The first one is "It's About the Money," and its co-author is Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., and he comes to us from our studios in Atlanta. He is founder of course of the Rainbow/Push coalition, a former presidential candidate. The book is published by Times Books.
Give me a little history of this book, how it came together, and why are you co-authoring it, Jesse?
REV. JESSE JACKSON, CO-AUTHOR, "IT'S ABOUT THE MONEY": Well, co- authoring it with Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., the last few years we put a focus on Wall Street, on opening up access to capital and building bridges between the Wall Streets, Silicon Valley on underserved Americans. Congressman Jackson makes the case, in addition to opening up the big picture, that personal finances are so very important, because if people spend more than they make, they can not make progress. We find so many working poor people using credit cards as substitutes for money, and then trying to bail out with lotto tickets. The poorest counties and wards spend the most money on the lotto, by and large, because they don't understand the market, the science of the stock market. So it means something as basic as, how do people move from lucky finances to planning their way out of debt.
KING: So you're saying that the underclass, or those less privileged in America, through no fault of their own, should be investing. But where do they get that money to invest? JACKSON: First of all, it's not the underclass. Mrs. O'Sheila (ph) McCarthy from Mississippi, she washed and ironed clothes for university students, but she saved more than she spent, and so in time, she gave the school a million dollars for college students for graduation -- I mean, for scholarships. I mean, she was wise as a squirrel. She put some acorns away from the winter and did some future planning. There are however, some other high-profile athletes, actors, actresses, they make a million, they spend a million-one, so they have a bigger bucket and a bigger hole, and they fall deeper, end up owing taxes, because they don't have a disciplined plan of having the science to finance this.
And I think the real target oftentimes is not the underclass so much as it is college students. They graduate with a diploma in one hand and five credit cards in the other, and with that, they have no sense of how to rent a car and buy a house, rather they rent a house and buy a car. They have no sense of life insurance or fire insurance, of when they're married to have a companion insurance, if one dies, the other will inherit the house, and it will be automatically paid for. Or something as basic as, if you get a 30- year mortgage, if you pay on your principal, and interest once a month, if you can put an extra note in there for principal, you can turn a 30-year mortgage into a 15-year mortgage. So it's about learning the science of money.
KING: So the answer is education, right? In other words, if you don't know about this, then you don't do it?
JACKSON: But it's education about the markets, education about the money. Last -- three months ago, I said to the staff, if you have a child 6 to 18, I will give them $200 if they take a 10-week stock market course, and so it became 75 children. The first five or six weeks, Larry, it was, when will we get our money? When we will in time for Christmas? About the last two weeks it was about Intel, and Microsoft and Novell. They began to talk Silicon Valley. They begin to talk stock talk. So we took them down to the stock market to get them, along with Merrill Lynch, their body of stock. One young lads said, I don't want to put on my T-shirt, Reverend. I said, but all the other kids have T-shirts. She said, I want to put on my own T- shirt, and Old Navy. I said why? She said because, I want to advertise my stock.
My group will be buying Gap for Christmas, so our stock is going to rise. Her mind had shifted from give me and buying to earning and saving, investing and leveraging. And so it is fundamental that we talk about the economy itself, learning about the money.
KING: Money talks. The Montgomery bus strike worked because it affected the city of Montgomery's income.
JACKSON: Well, having the power to do an economic boycott for the Montgomery or South Africa is one way to effect mass money, but you would not go from renting a house to owning a house by doing a boycott.
KING: No, I don't mean that. I mean, money talks. JACKSON: Money has leverage. We are organizing a thousand ministers, who will begin to teach their congregations how to get out of debt, plans to get out of debt and don't choose a bear volatile (ph) market over a bull market, and then plans for targeted stock purchase. To begin, we're going to take 35 ministers, with the support of Dick Grasso of the New York Stock Exchange, and give them a one-week intensive course in learning the science of the stock market. You can have a BS degree, a master and Phd and still never learn about the science of how to make money grow. They often say that money does not grow on trees. It does grow on trees if it's planted in money mud.
KING: You quote in the book Isaiah Thomas, the former great NBA star, who says that, "The answer is in the Internet, the purest form of business, because no one knows your race, and all stereotypes are erased." You're all just punching in numbers." Are you teaching that, too?
JACKSON: We really are, because we find so many of our urban and rural schools do not have Internet. In those cities, every city I visit, there are at least two new buildings, a new ballpark and a new jail. In rear of the the first-class, fully wired jails, unwired schools. So our youth, by not being able to learn the Internet, they can't get on the superhighway, they can not grow with America's new industry. They are not a part of that growth, and so teaching them that process, we want to begin to get computers in the Sunday school rooms of our churches, get them in people's homes. We must close that digital divide, and we can.
Once children catch on the science of the new Internet dynamic, they'll close many gaps. Africa -- we'll take a trade mission to Africa, for example, in February, we're taken -- it's a telecommunications trade mission to Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, because they may have missed the kind of underground or cabling, Larry. But in the wireless revolution, they can go over that stage of communication, and with Internet and wireless, they can come into the new age real fast.
KING: The book is "It's About The Money." Our guest is Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. The publisher is "Times" books. Ed Koch is still to come.
Some more with Rev. Jackson right after this.
KING: We're back with Jesse Jackson, coauthor of "It's About The Money," published by Times books.
Aren't people like Bill Gates going to be a big help giving you equipment and the like?
JACKSON: I really think people like Bill Gates, and Michael Armstrong at AT&T and Ivan Seidenberg at Bell Atlantic, these people now see the advantages in wiring the schools, because face it, if we green-line redline America, the ghettos, the burroughs, the reservations of rural America, these underserved areas represent money, market, talent and location. And they are the next wave of sustained economic growth in America. And so wiring these homes, and schools and churches is a sound economic thing. So as Clinton would say, it is both good as well as practical.
KING: Jesse, why have minorities generally distrusted the bank, or the stock market or savings?
JACKSON: Well, of course there is this hangover from the stock market crash of '29 that many people have; that's one part of it. But I think more than that, is that we've not known banks to be at places that came to us with an educational plan for business development. They've not been very accessible to us. Percy Sutton (ph) of New York, for example, to buy WLIB, had to go to 63 banks. He was turned down every time. He got the cable franchise for Queens and New York. He could not get it financed. He had to cut a deal with Time Warner.
So when we've gone to banks, we've faced a redlining. We've faced closed doors. Now we are trying to convince banks and insurance companies that their market for growth is in underserved areas that simply have money,, and market and intelligence. So behind the redline is not just Jackie Robinson and ball players, behind that redline is money, market, talent, location, scientists and consumers.
KING: Is there a spiritual side to this, too?
JACKSON: You know, the spiritual side is that in the fullness of our lives, you can't separate spirit from body. In the book of Exodus, the Israelites asked the Egyptians to lend them some gold, some diamonds, and the Bible says, the Egyptians gave it to them, and they became spoiled. They thought they were getting these resources just to wear them and engage in conspicuous display. They were preparing to go to Canon. They would not go to new land without a resource base. And so even those who are spiritual need to have an economic base, they need to have entrepreneurship, and employment and education and health care. There is a spiritual dimension.
The New Testament's the parable of the Tallis (ph) -- one had five, one had three, one had one. The one who had little and did nothing with it lost it. Those who use it, who invest it, good things happen to them. We want to teach people the science of economic growth and security.
KING: So the teaching is in techniques they can use. They're also taught at the same time, money is the root of all evil. Is there a tendency to just have it and spend it?
JACKSON: Well, there are those who are taught that money doesn't grow on trees. Money does grow on trees if it's planted in money mud. If you plant that money in your bosom or plant it in a lockbox, it will not grow. If you plant that money in growing stock, that money will grow.
But then we have been taught, by and large, that the lottery is the poor man's market, and that the Wall Street is for them. I submit to you that we must teach people the science of reading the Nasdaq, reading the New York Stock Exchange, reading the stock page, not just the sports page and the front page, and as people are taught that -- that's why a thousand churches will begin to teach it, so people will know better, they will do better, and with more discipline, they will in fact take a little and do much more with it.
I've seen people who have much and end up with little, and I've had seen people who have little and do much because of knowledge and discipline.
KING: By the way, isn't that starting to work already? Don't we see many more minorities now involved?
KING: The stock market.
JACKSON: Well indeed, because again, historically you go to Wall Street. It's been a street that's been a closed-door street. Now we've been opening up offices down there. The case I've tried to make with Wall Street investors and lenders, is if you want growth, you have something we want: You have money, you have infrastructure and you have know how. We have something you want: money, market and talent.
Now, to invest in urban America or rural America is a safer investment, more secure and closer to investing in a third world market, in a developing market. And so President Clinton actually took a new markets initiative, saying look bankers, look insurance companies, look investors, there is right beneath your nose people who need.
You know, you look at Harlem, New York, not a single car dealership. That is irrational. Up in Alaska (ph), not a single chain store in Harlem with hundreds of thousands of consumers. That is irrational.
So we say take off the cultural blinders and see not just race; see money, market talent, and also when you close the gap between what people need and how far they have to travel, everybody prospers.
KING: Thank you, Jesse, as always.
Great seeing you.
JACKSON: Thank you very much.
KING: Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr, coauthor of "It's About the Money."
Mayor Ed Koch has a great new book out. And he's next.
Don't go away.
KING: We're looking at four terrific books tonight. Still to come, Tom Feltenstein, author of "Uncommon Wisdom," and John Irving, author of "My Movie Business" and the screenplay for "Cider House Rules." With us now is my good friend Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York and author "I'm Not Done Yet!: Keeping At It, Remaining Relevant and Having the Time of My Life," published by Morrow.
Is this a how-to book, Ed. Are you telling...
ED KOCH, AUTHOR, "I'M NOT DONE YET!": It is a how-to, and you don't have to be interested in politics to read it and to like it, and I believe it's the best book I've written, and I think it's got a lot of humor in it and how to spend your time after you have been pushed out of your job because you're 65. And in my case, people threw me out when I ran for a fourth term for mayor.
But in the last 10 years, from 65 to 75 years, which I am now, I've done a lot. I now have seven jobs. I've had about 11 at my high, and I believe that you should not retire. It doesn't mean you will do exactly what you did before, but you can keep active. And if you don't, the brain is like a muscle, it will atrophy.
KING: Did you think, Ed, of retiring when you were defeated? And that's a low point, to be defeated.
KOCH: Never. Never.
KING: You never said, that's it, I'm done?
KOCH: No. I knew immediately when the returns were coming in that I was going to lose to David Dinkins, and while everybody's crying, I'm saying to myself, so help me God, I'm saying free at least, great God all mighty, free at least, and I started to plan with a good friend of mine what I would do. I'm a partner in a law firm. I do movie reviews in eight newspapers, on television. I do a political column every Friday in "Newsday." I do commercials. I do, at the moment, seven different things, and I only count as a job something that has an independent source of income.
But it doesn't mean that you've got to make a lot of money -- although I have, since I left office -- it means you've got to keep occupied. You've got to be relevant. You want people to ask you your opinion. You don't want to -- when you leave your last job because they have arbitrarily said you got to go, you're 65, you don't want to be put out on the shelf.
KING: You've written some terrific books. Before we get into some specific local things and national things, why do you call this your best?
KOCH: Well, I must say, it's the most intimate, most revealing. I decided that I wouldn't hold back. I would tell the truth as I know the truth. And it may not be my last book, but I don't think I could write a better book.
KING: And still, no thoughts of retiring?
KOCH: No. I expect to die at my desk. And I don't... KING: Is 65 a stupid age to make people retire?
KOCH: It's ridiculous. I mean, you know, think of the Chinese. The reason the Chinese are the oldest and wisest civilization is that they revere the elderly, the people who have experience, the people who have been there, done that. What do we do? We make them obsolescent. We throw them out. We say, they're some young whipper snapper who can do the job cheaper. Cheaper isn't necessarily better.
KING: Have you changed a lot over the years, Ed. When you were in Congress, you were known as one of the most liberal members of Congress.
KOCH: I was.
KING: As a mayor, you were sometimes called conservative.
KOCH: I was.
KING: Where is Ed now?
KOCH: Reasonable, common sense Ed is the way I like to be thought of. What is wonderful is that after the people threw me out, four years later, they were saying to me, you must run again, mayor, you must run again, and my response was always the same -- no! The people threw me out, and now the people must be punished.
KING: By the way, what makes -- you have been both praising and critical of Giuliani over these years.
KOCH: I have.
KING: What -- we've got a minute to the break. What makes a good mayor?
KOCH: A mayor has to be a good administrator, but he has to have a heart. Regrettably, Giuliani is a good mayor in terms of delivering services, but he has the heart of the Tin Man of "The Wizard of Oz," and that prevents him from becoming a great mayor.
KING: So in other words, even if your garbage is picked up on time, and your streets are clean, and your crime is down, and the fire department gets there in two minutes, that's not good enough.
KOCH: They will remember that Giuliani said that if a woman in welfare in a shelter doesn't want to work -- and she should work, I agree with him -- I'm going to throw you out on the streets and I'm going to take away your children. I mean, this is monstrous conduct.
KING: Our guests is Ed Koch. We'll try to draw him out in the next portion. He's the author of "I'm Not Done Yet!," from William Morrow. And still to come, John Irving and Tom Feltenstein.
Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back with Ed Koch.
In your recent column, you supported Hillary Clinton. She's behind in the polls. Can she win?
KOCH: I believe she will win, and the reason I believe that is because her positions on a number of issues are the positions that most New Yorkers will be supportive of, and secondly, her secret weapon is this fact that Giuliani is not capable of not taking the low road, and he will shoot himself in the foot a number of times before the election is held at the end of this year. And if you take the two, on the merits, she's better than he, and he will help her win by his low conduct.
KING: She has negatives, though, does she not?
KOCH: They both have terrible negatives. They both have baggage. This is not a case where one is pure and the other is not, but she has less baggage.
And I must say, that when she enters a room and people come to see her who are not necessarily for her, when she is finished talking -- and she never uses a written speech, she talks without notes -- invariably, they stand up and cheer her. I think one of the mistakes that her campaign is the making is that she's not being interviewed enough on TV, not showing her personality, which is very warm, and she has got to do more of that, and I've told her that.
KING: That she should be out there. In the presidential primary of your party, who are you supporting?
KOCH: I'm supporting Bradley. And it isn't that Gore isn't someone I dislike or, to put it another way, I like Gore. I supported him for president in the Democratic primary in 1988, but I believe he is the victim of Clinton fatigue, as Safire has defined it, and that he can't be win in the general election. Because I want to tell you, I believe that George W. Bush is a first-rate candidate. I used to think he was an empty suit, but if you watched the debates of the Republicans, they were terrific. They were funny. They were intelligent. And he came over excellently.
So if we think we're running against a second-rater without gravitas, we're dead wrong. And I believe the one who can beat him, on the other hand, is Bill Bradley.
KOCH: But he doesn't come without baggage.
KING: Why can Bradley win?
KOCH: Well, because I think people respond to him as a very honest guy who has thoughtful solutions, and who you can believe. Whereas they think of gore as dull, they think of Bradley as laid back. It's the same quality. KING: By the way, the things you mentioned about Gore are unfair, aren't they? He's the victim of Clinton. He didn't do anything wrong.
KOCH: Well, the only thing is, is that he was much too effusive about Bill Clinton. And I happen to think Bill Clinton is a fine president, but he is a scoundrel in his personal life, and it took a long time for Gore to wake up to that.
KING: Who's going to be the next mayor of New York.
KOCH: We'll I'm for Peter Vallone. But there are three candidates that are running, and I believe it'll be a very tight race. But Peter Vallone for me is the one, he being the speaker of the council, the one I worked with when I was mayor. I know he can do the job.
KING: Is that, do you agree, the second toughest job in this country?
KOCH: Being mayor of New York City?
KOCH: It's unique. And the reason is, is that people think you can solve every problem. You can't. But they have given you their trust. They see you as their right arm. They want you to help them, and whereas, I used to say, you know, if you don't like the president, it costs you $400 round trip to fly to Washington to picket him. You don't like the governor, $200 round trip to Albany. You don't like me, come on down to city hall, $3, and they came. I loved it.
KING: Another thing, you also appointed Judge Judy to the bench, did you not?
KOCH: Judge Judy and her husband.
KING: Who replaced you?
KOCH: Yes, they replaced me because I wasn't sufficiently theatrical. And so they said to me, you know, Judge Judy has nine million viewers, you only have three million. Three is good, but not as good as nine million. I said, you do whatever is in your best economic interest. They said, we'd like to get Judy's husband, Judge Jerry, who I put on the criminal court. I said -- My mother's expression, gesundheit, get whoever you want. I've had a wonderful time serving as the judge of "The People's Court" for two years, and I'll go on to other things. And I remain very friendly with the producer, and Judge Jerry is doing quite well, not as good as his wife in terms of numbers, but he's doing very well.
KING: The little Cuban boy. What should we do?
KOCH: Send him back to his father. This is ridiculous what we are doing here. Let's assume a kid came from China or Russia under the same circumstances, and his mother is now dead, wouldn't we say, if the father is someone who people conclude is competent and decent and loving. Now it may be that you have to have a public hearing before a judge to determine that the father is capable of caring for this child, but assuming that he is, without question he should be sent back.
KING: Mayor, do you -- we've only got 30 seconds -- do you miss being mayor?
KOCH: Not for a second. I loved it...
KOCH: ... it was apex of my professional life, but I'm not done yet.
KING: And that's a great title for a terrific book. Thanks, Ed.
KOCH: Thank you.
KING: Ed Koch's book is "I'm Not Done Yet!: Keeping at It, Remaining Relevant, and Having the Time of my Life." It is published about by Morrow.
One of the great novelists, in my opinion, is John Irving. His book, "The Cider House Rules," is a terrific book and even better movie, if that's possible. He's next, and then Tom Feltenstein who has written a great self-help book called "Uncommon Wisdom."
Irving is next, don't go away.
KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.
One of the best movies I've seen in a long, long time is "The Cider House Rules," with Michael Caine and a great cast. It is a -- book was written by John Irving, who also wrote the screenplay, who also wrote the book "My Movie Business: A Memoir." Basically it's about writing a novel and also writing a screenplay.
And John, we'll begin -- after congratulating you on a great movie -- by -- I interviewed Erskine Caldwell once, and he said a screenplay and a book is apples and oranges, and when he looks at a movie made from one of his books, he never judges it on the book because they're just two different things. You agree?
JOHN IRVING, AUTHOR, "MY MOVIE BUSINESS: A MEMOIR": I totally agree. I'm not one of those writers who feel that a novel is somehow incomplete if there isn't a film made from it, nor do I feel that a good book is damaged if a bad film is made from it. In the past, I've been happy to let my films go into the hands of directors without my involvement, but in the case of "The Cider House Rules," I felt, well, let's have an experiment. It's an experiment that took 14 years. I didn't count on that. I didn't count there would be four directors.
But it's been extremely gratifying. I never thought I'd see a film based on one of my novels that I felt as proud of as I feel of the novels, and -- but I do, in this case. I feel very proud of it.
KING: You should be.
What for you, John, was the most difficult aspect of writing for the screen?
IRVING: Well, I think if I wrote shorter novels -- mind you, a manuscript of a screenplay is somewhere between 115 to 135 pages. My manuscripts, especially "The Cider House Rules," that was a 500, 600 page manuscript. So from the outset -- before there is a collaborative process, before there is a director you like and a producer you believe in, even before you start discussing what the screenplay might be -- you have to come to terms yourself with which characters you're going to lose, which storylines you're going to lose. The process begins by throwing three-quarters of the material away, and trying to remain emotionally faithful to the effect those characters have on readers on the screen.
KING: Are you therefore much more comfortable writing the novel?
IRVING: Well, it's my day job, sure. I don't know that I'm going to wear the hat of screenwriter too many more times. I'm doing it again with another of my novels, the "Son of the Circus," which we hope will be in production in India this year. I've only been working on that film for ten years now.
KING: Why does it take so long, John?
IRVING: Well, the writing process doesn't take long. It takes me four to five years to write a novel. I don't think it's ever taken me longer than six months to write a draft, and a pretty finished draft, of a screenplay. But all of the pieces have to be in place. You not only have to have a director you approve of, you have to have a producer who approves of the director, and you have to have a studio, a company, that's going to support you the way you want to make the film. Miramax is to be congratulated for having the courage to make this film at all, I mean, given its potentially controversial subject matter.
KING: Yes, the controversy being a -- your hero, in a sense, and there are wonderful heroes in this books, commits abortions long ago?
IRVING: Well, I wanted to avoid the contemporary conflict. The so-called "right to life" position is given no expression in "The Cider House Rules," either in the novel or in the film.
IRVING: The orphan who doesn't want to perform abortions, who has been trained to be a physician but who does not want to do that part, has no objection to the old doctor performing abortions, nor does he feel that women should be denied the right to have them. He just doesn't want to do it himself. He's an orphan. All his mother gave him was own life. That's understandable.
The argument is -- it's a historical argument. You have to be faithful to what you've learned how to do, and if the women have no other choice, why should the doctor have a choice either? It's a different argument. It's not today's argument. It's a way, I suppose, of asking a bigger political question, which is, this was the time when abortions were illegal, when that procedure was largely unsafe and unavailable, and these were the kind of conditions that existed because of those conditions.
KING: In your secondary plot, where did you learn to write about the black experience, do you think, so well?
IRVING: Well, I went to work in the apple orchards in New Hampshire when I was 15, 16 years old, and there were black migrant crews from the south picking apples in those years, and I heard lots of stories. This novel and film is set a decade earlier, it is set in the '40s, and most of the stories I heard from the pickers when I was working in the orchards in the '50s were stories from the '40s, from the period of the war, and I patched that together as best they could -- as best I could.
I mean, it seemed to me that the climate of those migrants' camps was very remindful of the climate of an orphanage, and to have this young boy leave the orphanage to find another life, only to find himself in the presence of other orphans, that was a part of the story.
KING: My guest is John Irving. It's a brilliant movie, "The Cider House Rules," and his book, "My Movie Business: A Memoir," is out from Random House. And we'll be back with more, and then meet Tom Feltenstein, author of "Uncommon Wisdom." More with John Irving after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE CIDER HOUSE RULES")
DELROY LINDO, ACTOR: New pick? You got lots of experience, I expect.
PAUL RUDD, ACTOR: Almost got no experience, Arthur, but he's smarter than I am. He's a fast learner. Mr. Rose is going to teach you the apple business.
LINDO: Well, I believe this is history. We are making history, Wally, ain't we? We are making history, having this young man stay with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE CIDER HOUSE RULES")
MICHAEL CAINE, ACTOR: What you will find is people like the poor people who get left here, only nobody takes care of them half as well. And you won't be able to take care of them either. There's no taking care of anybody, not out there.
TOBEY MAGUIRE, ACTOR: You know, I'm grateful for everything that you've done for me.
CAINE: I don't need your gratitude.
MAGUIRE: I don't need this. I know all about my condition.
CAINE: It's your heart. You ought to take it with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: John Irving has written 10 novels, including the wildly acclaimed "The World According to Garp" and "Hotel New Hampshire."
I've been around along enough to have interviewed people like John Steinbeck. He told me once that a novelist sits down and is a good storyteller. That's all it is. I tell a story. That's what Dostoevsky did. Is that what you do?
IRVING: I hope so. I don't think you can saddle any good story with a political or an ulterior motive. Those things have to come organically out of the characters, organically out of the story itself.
I never, for example, set out to write an abortion novel or to write a film about abortion. I set out to write about the relationship between an orphanage physician and an unadopted orphan. And naturally, I discovered in the historical research, most of which I did at Yale Medical Historical Library, that the subject of abortion was inseparable from orphanage hospitals and the lives of orphanage physicians at that time.
KING: But when you sit down, you're not saying, I'm writing the great American novel. You're writing a book, a good story.
IRVING: I usually begin with the characters. Who are they? How do they meet? What are their conflicts? Where do they end up? And until I know where they end up, I can't imagine where I want the reader or the audience to jump into that story. It begins with the people. And if you think of their relationships, their conflicts and the other people who cross their path, the chances are that the story will be there.
KING: Did you have a say in the casting of Michael Caine?
IRVING: What was extraordinary about the relationship between the producer, Richard Gladstein, Lasse Hallstrom, the director, and myself was that we agreed to agree, just the three of us. We said that if there was a matter of cast, of script, of cutting the picture that one of us felt strongly opposed to, the other two would try to accommodate. And we kept to our agreement. The three of us agreed to agree, and remarkably we did.
KING: Were you there for most of the shooting?
IRVING: I was there for maybe three quarters of the shooting.
KING: Were you impressed as we were with Caine? IRVING: Oh, I knew...
KING: I mean, were you at all surprised? He had to adopt a new accent.
IRVING: I've always been impressed with Michael Caine, but I was thrilled with the prospect of him being Dr. Larch. And I thought he handled the accent brilliantly, just brilliantly.
IRVING: But I was also impressed with Tobey Maguire. I think it's Tobey's movie. If that boy didn't have the right innocence, the right sense of recognition, in the end I don't think the whole film would have worked. I thought the entire cast was wonderful.
KING: And you're working on a screenplay now of what book?
IRVING: "A Son of the Circus."
KING: One of the few Irving books I have not read.
IRVING: Well, it's set there. It's about a doctor who deals with crippled children and who also deals with getting children off the streets and into the circus, where their lives generally in India would be safer. It's a complicated story, and right now we hope to be shooting it this year with Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange.
KING: Red Smith, the great sportswriter, said writing is easy. You put the paper in the typewriter and bleed. Is writing hard for you?
IRVING: No, not writing is hard for me. Being away from writing for one reason or another for any length of time is hard for me. I started writing when I was 14. I never imagined I'd be able to support myself at it, but I've been very lucky. And I feel it's a privilege to be able to stay home.
KING: Yes, may I say it's a privilege to read you, and you're now a brilliant auteur of the screenplay. "The Cider House Rules" is magnificent. Thanks very much, John.
IRVING: Thank you.
KING: John Irving -- what a book, what a film.
Tom Feltenstein, author of another terrific book, "Uncommon Wisdom: How to Live a Joyful Life With Financial Success" -- I read parts of it every day. He's next.
Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We told you of four terrific books tonight. The fourth is "Uncommon Wisdom: Live a Joyful Life With Financial Success," published by Lebhar-Friedman. The author is Tom Feltenstein.
And we welcome Tom to LARRY KING LIVE. As I said earlier, I read parts of this book every day. What do you mean by "uncommon wisdom"?
TOM FELTENSTEIN, AUTHOR, "UNCOMMON WISDOM: LIVE A JOYFUL LIFE WITH FINANCIAL SUCCESS": Well, uncommon wisdom is just the opposite of wisdom. Every time we're -- we talk about wisdom all the time. But what I want to do is to create wisdom in a sense that there's balance in people's lives. And I attacked it from the business standpoint because I think that's where we can make the biggest difference in the arena today is in the business world.
KING: Without losing what matters in the other world.
FELTENSTEIN: Exactly. What I'm trying to do is put the two together, the harmony, the compassion and the business world. And we just did 25,000 surveys of employees. Self-esteem is so low in the work place today. Only 35 percent of the people would recommend where they work or where to work -- to come and work at that place. Or in the restaurant industry, 27 percent would only recommend it as a place to eat as opposed to a place to work.
KING: What is your profession?
FELTENSTEIN: I'm a strategic marketing guy. And I grew up working for the biggest hamburger chain in the world.
FELTENSTEIN: McDonalds. I'd made thousands of televisions commercials, and I got it all mixed up. I kept making the commercials, but I didn't take care of once we brought the customers inside the restaurants and the employees there, which I call "internal customers." I always said if we treated other external customers the way we treat our internal customers we wouldn't have any customers.
KING: It's a gem of a book. You learns something on every -- it seems so logical. Why don't more people know this, that if we treat the help better everything's better?
FELTENSTEIN: Well, there's only a few companies in the country that do do that. If I were to ask you...
KING: I'm one of them. We're proud to be part of that, by the way. Not to boot our own, but they're a very socially conscious company.
FELTENSTEIN: No, and they're terrific. But when you ask people, where did you go for great service in America in the last 30 days, everybody just stands there and they can't think of it. And then they always are going in and telling their internal customers, well you've got to give great service to your people, to the guests that are coming into your facility. And I always say to them, well, if you haven't seen it, how can you model it for them?
KING: You say it begins with parental warmth?
FELTENSTEIN: Parental warmth.
KING: You talk about parental warmth and influence on adult social adjustment as an important factor, how we're treated as children.
FELTENSTEIN: I grew up in a "Leave it to Beaver" family in a small town in St. Joseph, Missouri in the '50s, and I was grounded. My mom and dad rooted me in the foundational principles of integrity, of love, of compassion. And it was a very spiritually-based home, and that's how I grew up, and that's what I wanted to do in terms of the business place.
You know, I always used to think that business was over here and spirituality was over here, but they are really one and the same.
KING: But hasn't the emphasis been profit is our most important product?
FELTENSTEIN: It sure has. It's what we call "fool's gold," and we are chasing and chasing, and I'm out there chasing every day to get the fool's gold, which is the money. But it's really not the peace, it's really not the gift.
You know, I'm the most difficult person that I have to work with, but if I can begin to love Tom, then I can begin to love my fellow human beings. So my real gift to mankind is working on Tom, and then that's the gift that I have to give out there.
KING: How have you learned this gift, Tom?
FELTENSTEIN: It's come through trial and error.
KING: There were errors, right? I mean, there was stuff you did back in McDonald's days that you would never do now?
FELTENSTEIN: Absolutely. You have to have a breakdown to have a breakthrough.
KING: Did you have one? I mean, did you...
FELTENSTEIN: I've never had a severe breakdown. I have been very blessed in life. I have never had a drinking or, you know, drugs, or had a bankruptcy or any of those things. I've been blessed, but it was always kind of, it wasn't authentic. Every time I would be chasing. I would be going here, I would going there, running to make this speech -- I do a hundred speeches a year -- and then I would be fulfilled. You would get the applause. But then I would leave and get in the car or on a plane, and it didn't feel good to me. It wasn't like I was really giving something. It was fool's gold.
KING: So it evolved? FELTENSTEIN: It evolved over time. But it really started to evolve when I was in my early teens. And as I grew and went through my business career, and we spent all these hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing to bring customers to buy our product, only to be turned off by a negative experience once they walked in.
KING: So what do you make of all the success in this country? Look at all the -- everybody's happy, they are booming, you have got a president who had all these personal problems but he remains -- we rate him tops because everybody is doing well.
FELTENSTEIN: I know. But talk to the employees. Talk to the internal customers. Ask them how they feel. Once you get by, that I bought the new car and I bought the new house, ask them how they really -- if they feel self-fulfilled, and if they really care about themselves and their family.
And this whole balance issue -- it is nuts, isn't it? With the technology that's come down, it is driving us crazy. We've lost that emotional bond, that connection, and we don't have that anymore.
KING: In other words, would you fly your own airline?
Tom Feltenstein is the guest. Back with our remaining moments. His book is "Uncommon Wisdom: Live a Joyful Life With Financial Success," and, I might add, a terrific book that I look at every day. We'll be back with more after this.
KING: Hope you enjoyed tonight's show. Our guest is the Tom Feltenstein.
List four main reasons people are unsuccessful: You list negative attitudes, procrastination, ignorance about money and success, failure to set goals. What's the biggest -- what do you mean by ignorance about money and success?
FELTENSTEIN: Well, I think that we have a false premise of what money can really do for us.
KING: We think it's everything?
FELTENSTEIN: It's everything. We think money is God. We have got to separate the two. Money is not God. God is about how we feel inside. It's about the compassion. It's about the venture. It's -- you know, business is over here. But so is God and so is spirituality. All the great companies that are having the biggest successes, the scores are the highest on the internal customers on how they feel about themselves.
KING: Internal customer is the worker?
FELTENSTEIN: Yes, that's right.
KING: Why do we have negative attitudes, do you think? It would be so much nicer to be positive, but we are all guilty of it.
FELTENSTEIN: So why are we always -- I have a thing on my mirror at home that I've had for 20 years, and it says,"Stop making the other person wrong." I look at it every day that I'm home. Stop making the other person wrong. We are always trying to find fault. Why can't we walk in someplace and find the goodness, instead of trying to find what's wrong with everybody else? It's crazy.
KING: It's an eastern philosophy isn't it?
FELTENSTEIN: Well, yes, because, well, you know, I look to Buddha, you know, to Jesus, to Gandhi, to Mother Teresa. If you follow and just practice how their lives were lived, are there any better role models in the world?
KING: Why do we procrastinate? Why do we put off to tomorrow?
FELTENSTEIN: Well, because the last minute is always the greatest moment, and it's the only time that we get anything done.
KING: All contracts are settled?
FELTENSTEIN: All contracts -- I mean, in Japan you spend 10 days there, and you negotiate, and on the way to the airport they finally say, they give you the counteroffer, and they know you have to accept it because you're going to get on the airplane.
KING: They know what they're doing.
FELTENSTEIN: That's exactly right.
KING: And you talk about five qualities to be successful: integrity, industry, intelligence, knowledge and courage.
Tom, you've written a terrific book.
FELTENSTEIN: Oh, thank you so much, Larry.
KING: I couldn't recommend it more, and I thank you for giving us this time.
FELTENSTEIN: Very nice to see you.
KING: Earlier Jesse Jackson, and former Mayor Ed Koch, and John Irving. And as we have said, four terrific books. And Tom's is "Uncommon Wisdom: Live a Joyful Life With Financial Success," published by Lebhar-Friedman books. You do yourself a favor if you get it.
Have a great weekend, thanks for joining us. We will see you Monday night. For all of us here at LARRY KING LIVE from Los Angeles, good night.
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