What Is This Book About, Anyway?
The book examines the talent of Santa Barbara’s Silver Tongue. It looks at Larry's four central abilities:
• to make people laugh
• to make them feel good (even as he insults them)
• to build unity (even as he plays the part of the verbal rebel)
• and, mostly, to motivate.
In short, this book is about the power of words.
Of course, as my father well knows, the power of words is anything but straightforward. Used by a skilled public speaker, words are often just a clever disguise. Larry will freely confess as much. It may come as a shock to the many people who have listened to him and laughed at his improvised, rascally humor, but his motives are far more serious than his repartee. Even his funny stories often have a secret mission. Confront him. Ask him flat out. He’ll tell you. He uses the power of words to invoke the power of love.
Here are the main premises of Larry’s philosophy:
Every loving act carries with it the power to transform lives, so all kindness matters.
Both the giver and the receiver benefit from compassion – sometimes in far-reaching and unexpected ways.
Reaching out to show love is not only good for the spirit, it can be the key to one’s destiny.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
Once upon a time, during the Depression, there was a woman named Jane who raised and supported three sons on her own. They lived in Newark, in a particularly blighted part of the Garden State. Jane worked full-time as a shoe clerk. The family was on relief – as they called welfare in those days. The boys went to the YMCA to stay off the streets. Jane loved her sons, urging them to believe in themselves, to be generous and to appreciate what they had. Decades later, when her eldest moved with his family to the earthly paradise of Santa Barbara, California, he took his mother’s philosophy with him. There, in one of the wealthiest areas of the United States, he succeeded spectacularly – not in making money, but in helping others give it to good causes.
He became a jovial and gentle Robin Hood, lightening the wallets of the rich – and leaving them all the happier for their donations. After more than four decades, his volunteering, his leadership and his wit are so widely known that the local newspapers call him Mr. Santa Barbara.
From a nobody in Newark to Mr. Santa Barbara – that’s the power of love at work.
Larry Crandell is in his eighties, but you’ll find him at work in his office six or seven days a week. He doesn’t put his success down to hard work or luck or even his cheeky sense of humor. For him, it’s all about love. For him, the definition of love begins and ends with his mother’s appreciation of, and devotion to, him and his brothers. Jane would sometimes say to Larry in all seriousness, “Cast your bread upon the waters, and it will come back toasted.”
Larry knew that she was really talking about love, the faith it engenders and the remarkable things it can achieve.