The Story Of How George Saunders’ Commencement Address On Kindness Became A Global Phenomenon

by • May 30, 2014 • Charlie Rose, InspirationComments (0)2926

George Saunders (born December 2, 1958) is the acclaimed American short story writer and essayist whose work is frequently published by The New YorkerHarper’sMcSweeney’s, and many others.  Saunders has won the National Magazine Award four times in his career, and was recently awarded the PEN/Malamud Award, the 2013 Story Prize, the 2014 Folio Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award for his critically acclaimed collection of short stories entitled Tenth of December: Stories.

In 2013 Saunders delivered the commencement address at Syracuse University, where he also teaches as a professor of English.  A simple little speech, Saunder’s advice to the students focused on the importance of kindness.  Later that summer The New York Times reprinted his speech and it went viral like no one could have imagined — the article was shared more than one million times.  The unexpected surprise of the speech’s success inspired Saunders’ publisher to convince him to expand the speech into a small book, and the result is the new title Congratulations, By The Way: Some Thoughts On Kindness (Random House, $14.00).

Saunders recently sat down with Charlie Rose to discuss the entire phenomenon and you can watch it in full above.  Random House also commissioned the following animated short to accompany the book which you can watch below, as well as the original video filmed on May 11, 2013.

SEE ALSO: Listen To Philosopher Judith Butler’s McGill Commencement Address On Value Of Reading & Humanities
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