It was one of Oprah’s favorite books (before she started her famous Oprah’s Book Club.)
Oprah devoted an entire episode to ‘Simple Abundance’ and referred to it often.
She even invited the book’s author, Sarah Ban Breathnach, on her OWN show, ‘Super Soul Conversations.’
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Here’s the story of how ‘Simple Abundance’ found its way to Oprah:
“When ‘Simple Abundance’ was finally published in November 1995, my publisher told me it was a “woman’s book.”
That it would be a “slow burn” and depend on women’s “word of mouth” recommendations to each other.
Actually, “a woman’s book,” “slow burn,” and “word-of-mouth” are publishing euphemisms meaning “no publicity.”
And sure enough, there was none in those first few months other than through local bookstores.
How heartbreaking and upsetting this was—five years of work, struggle, sweat, and tears and no publicity?
‘Simple Abundance’ was going to just slip through the cracks and disappear?
I couldn’t let that happen.
I had nowhere to go for help except down on my knees.
The next day Heaven whispered in my ear: “Send thirty books to ‘The
Oprah Winfrey Show’ for every woman on her staff.
Let’s see if we can’t get women talking.”
Now this was a very unusual way to publicize books and it was before Oprah began her famous book club, which got women reading and talking about books in a new and exciting way.
My publisher’s publicity department had already submitted one copy of the book to Oprah’s producers, so they were understandably nervous about my suggestion being seen as serious overkill.
But I still couldn’t get the idea of Oprah out of my mind.
I made my case yet again to the publicity department and offered to pay for the books but asked the publisher to please send them, so I didn’t look like the desperate author I really was.
I guess they’d heard the passion in my voice because they finally said yes, and graciously sent thirty copies of ‘Simple Abundance’ as holiday gifts to the Oprah Winfrey staff.
(And I didn’t even have to pay for them!)
About a week later, publicity said that while the women all loved the book, the Oprah production team claimed it really didn’t work as the basis for a show.
To save face, I replied: “One day Oprah will pick up Simple Abundance and she’ll read something that will speak to her, and then it will be a show.”
The first week in February, ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ called.
Oprah had gone into her hair and makeup room and saw ‘Simple Abundance’ on the counter and wondered, “What’s this pink book I keep seeing everywhere?”
Oprah opened it and read something that spoke to her, and I was invited to come to Chicago the following week.
I asked if I could bring my thirteen-year-old daughter with me.
It was the best bring-your-daughter-to-work experience ever!
We arrived in Chicago the afternoon before the taping of the show and took a short walk from our hotel to explore Michigan Avenue and our surroundings.
We found the Terra Museum of American Art.
It was almost closing time, so we quickly strolled through the museum.
On the second floor I turned into an empty gallery.
And what do you think I found?
Robert Spear Dunning’s “Harvest of Cherries.”
The painting of the postcard that I’d lovingly looked at every day while I wrote ‘Simple Abundance.’
I still get shivers of delight remembering this full-circle moment and the spiritual confirmation that I had never been alone on the journey of
Neither are you.“
— From ‘Simple Abundance: 365 Days to a Balanced and Joyful Life‘ by Sarah Ban Breathnach