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The Money Issue

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
April 16, 2023 1:55 pm

The Money Issue

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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This broadcaster has 330 podcast archives available on-demand.

April 16, 2023 1:55 pm

Jane Pauley hosts our annual "Money Issue." In our cover story, Mo Rocca looks at ways to cut the glut of meetings. Also: Erin Moriarty looks at Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News; Lee Cowan meets a man hunting for a Spanish galleon's treasure in the Bahamas; Martha Teichner finds out how a charity is cancelling billions of dollars' worth of America's medical debt; Conor Knighton looks at how rural general stores are being kept alive; Jonathan Vigliotti interviews novelist Laura Dave and actress Jennifer Garner about "The Last Thing He Told Me"; Seth Doane talks with Cindy McCain about her new job as head of the United Nations' World Food Programme; Nancy Giles gets some tips on tipping; Rita Braver looks at ways retailers are combatting shoplifters; and Luke Burbank checks out online sales of caskets.

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I'm Jane Pauley, and this is a special edition of Sunday Morning. It's the money issue. Our annual look at the many ways money impacts how we work, save, spend, live our lives, and we'll begin in the office conference room, where Mo Rocco will take the floor to ask the question, are meetings bad for business? Grab your coffee and hurry.

Everybody's waiting. Meetings where minutes are taken and hours are wasted. When you have a bad meeting, you feel compelled to tell others about the bad. You spread the poison.

It absolutely can negatively affect your productivity. Coming up on Sunday morning, meetings. The last thing he told me is a literary success story, a long time bestselling novel from author Laura Dave. Now, it's also a streaming series headlined by an A-list actor, Jennifer Garner. Jonathan Vigliati is in conversation with Garner along with Laura Dave. Actress Jennifer Garner has long been a bankable star, and she's betting her latest role in Laura Dave's The Last Thing He Told Me is no different. I haven't felt so drawn to a role.

I don't even know if ever or certainly not for a very, very long time. Turning a page turner into TV gold ahead on Sunday morning. Aaron Moriarty explains why money and a lot more is at stake in the Dominion voting versus Fox News trial getting underway this week. Martha Teichner looks at a charity working to stamp paid on America's mounting medical debt. Seth Doan is speaking with Cindy McCain, wife of the late Senator John McCain, about her new job as head of the U.N. World Food Program.

Plus Nancy Giles with tips on tipping and more. The Sunday morning money issue for the 16th of April 2023 continues after this. Let's meet in the conference room. Words that can strike dread in the hearts of workers everywhere. So are meetings a necessary evil or a waste of time and money?

Let's consult with Moraka. The building of the pyramids. Do you think there were a lot of meetings? Can you imagine?

Ping! Stop building. Come to an H.R. meeting. Like millions of workers, Kasnejachin felt entombed in what seemed like one endless meeting. I was spending nine to five in meetings. I was doing my actual work after five. And that just made me worse at home and made me worse the next day at work.

And as chief operating officer at commerce tech giant Shopify, he knew his coders and designers felt the same way. So people who build things, people who create things require focus. So if you're thinking about a problem and you're constantly interrupted, nothing good comes out of it. On average, meetings are taking up nearly half of our work week since the pandemic began.

The number of meetings has jumped 153 percent, according to Microsoft. Who is to blame for the preponderance of bad meetings? Companies started valuing managers over crafters.

We started building companies to optimize for people whose job it was to manage other people rather than do anything. Those who can't make something schedule meetings. We need to actually have you prove they can build something before we give you Google Calendar.

And then I think the world will be better. So in January, Shopify imposed a meeting moratorium, deleting almost all meetings with more than two people and cautioning employees about setting up new meetings. The company expects to liberate three hundred thousand hours this year alone. I expect that we will get at least 25 percent more work done because of a number of meetings that aren't happening. While we definitely could do with a little fewer meetings in our schedules, for sure, the bigger problem is ineffective meetings. But Steven Rogelberg says the issue is less about the quantity of meetings and more about their quality. But if we do our meetings better, there's lots of positive outcomes that come from it. As a meeting scientist at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Rogelberg's been studying the causes of bad meetings and their effects.

There was a meeting where I work. I wasn't there for it, but this meeting was so bad that it's already become legendary. I heard from people afterwards about this terrible meeting.

They seemed rattled, maybe even traumatized. Sounds horrible. There's something called meeting recovery syndrome. When you have a bad meeting, it sticks with you. It's not good enough to keep it to yourself.

You've got to tell someone else. I know what you're talking about, like people sort of huddling in the hallways and talking about how horrible it was. It's bad meetings. They hurt your productivity.

They drain you. They fatigue you. If you're experiencing MRS, it may be due to meeting bloat. That's when more and more people keep getting added to the meeting. Or it could be due to Parkinson's Law. Parkinson's Law is the idea that work expands to fill whatever time is allotted to it. So if a meeting is scheduled for one hour, magically it will take one hour.

But here's the good news. You can prevent meeting recovery syndrome with these tips from Steven Rogelberg. First, ask yourself, do you even have to have this meeting?

Could it instead be an email? As for your agenda, formulate it as questions to be answered rather than bullet points to be delivered. If you're the meeting host, don't do all the talking. In fact, software company Atlassian has a rubber chicken named Helmet.

If someone squeaks it, you've been talking too long. Now let's circle back to Shopify for its innovation in meeting mitigation. This is a regular calendar invite that I just sent out. The meeting cost calculator assigns a price to a meeting based on who's invited and for how long. The cost is $841.

How did you get to that? So it's an estimated cost. What would an average engineer cost? What would an average hour of a designer's time cost?

And add that up and put it down there. Meetings are not just neutral time. They cost money. Yeah, so people ask questions. What is this meeting for? Why are there this many people in it?

And those questions will put an immense amount of pressure on organizers to organize fewer meetings and leave the rest of us alone. Okay, that's our heart out. Now I'm going to give you back the rest of your Sunday.

You're listening to Sunday Morning on CBS News Radio. Medical bills are one of the leading causes of debt in this country, a burden that can sometimes be devastating. Martha Teichner has word of a unique charity starting to make a dent in all that debt.

RIP medical debt. That sounds like a scam. Natasha Pemsel, a preschool teacher and mother of four living in Covington, Georgia, received her letter in October 2021. We're sending this letter to you to share the good news. It sounded too good to be true. The $1,500 medical debt for her son Michael's emergency room visit way back in 2011 suddenly erased. It said abolished.

I said abolished. Okay, I know what that means. But this was no scam. I just kept picking up the letter and reading it over and over again. Like, this is amazing. How amazing? Since 2014, RIP medical debt has abolished more than $8.5 billion worth of medical bills for nearly 5.5 million Americans. How it came to exist is the story of a massive change of heart that began here, of all places, in New York City's Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011.

I have never experienced so much energy in my life. Jerry Ashton and a friend, both of them executives in the debt collection business, dropped in on the protesters. The experience upended their lives. When they discovered that there were bill collectors in Occupy Wall Street, they came to me and Craig Antico and said, could you help us go to the debt market and buy that debt so that we can forgive it and publicize it? In 2014, Ashton and Antico turned the concept into RIP Medical Debt, a charity that buys up delinquent medical debt at pennies on the dollar, just as debt collectors do, meaning even small donations have a big impact. We take $1 and turn it into at least $100 of medical debt relief by acting like a for-profit debt buyer.

Allison Sesso is president and CEO of RIP Medical Debt. Once we get our hands on those debts, we identify people that are 400% of poverty or if the debt is 5% or more of someone's income. As it happens, Natasha Pemsell's $1,500 debt is just about the average amount that RIP relieves.

You'd be surprised. It's not large amounts of money oftentimes that people are struggling under. Sometimes the debts we relieve are $500, $1,000, $2,000. One in every five households does have some medical debt in the U.S.

Yes, one in five. Dr. Steffie Woolhandler is a professor of public health at New York's Hunter College, who has studied medical debt. How big a factor is medical debt in bankruptcies in this country? Well, medical illness and medical bills contribute to the majority of all U.S. bankruptcies. Just how much medical debt is out there?

Prepare to be shocked. 80 to 120 billion a minute. In any given year?

Yeah, at this moment. Compared with the $8.5 billion of medical debt, RIP has abolished. RIP is not the solution.

RIP is a charity that sweeps up after the parade. The health care system is producing more people with unpayable debt than we can even handle. It is disheartening when you work and you contribute to society and you pay your taxes and you're a law-abiding citizen and then if something happens to you or your children, it's earth-shattering. For Natasha Pemsell, though, what RIP medical debt has been able to achieve is a kind of miracle. It thanks anyone who is doubting, is there any good in the world still?

It gives you hope that there is good somewhere. This week's episode of CBS Sunday Morning on the Radio is sponsored by Bank of America. And here again is Jane Pauley. It's a lawsuit seeking damages of $1.6 billion, a lot of money. But you could argue the cost pales in comparison to the real issues at hand in the case of Dominion voting versus Fox News. Erin Moriarty outlines how we got here and what's at stake.

We're grateful that you trust us and we will try to be worthy of your trust. Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs. Details of the election rigging are beginning to emerge from all around the country. Some of the best known current and former faces of Fox News may soon trade their anchor chairs for the witness stand in a Delaware courtroom. They appear on the witness list along with top Fox executives, including chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, in a defamation lawsuit that could have a devastating impact on the company. This is the strongest case you've ever seen? Strongest case in terms of the evidence. Lee Levine is a retired First Amendment lawyer who has litigated on behalf of major media companies, including CBS and Fox. I have never seen a case involving a public figure where the evidence of actual malice that they will have to put before a jury is stronger. Until it filed this lawsuit, few Americans knew much about the plaintiff, Dominion Voting Systems.

During the 2020 election, Dominion provided machines and ballot scanners to 28 states. On election night, Fox News took many of its viewers by surprise with this. Fox News decision desk is calling Arizona for Joe Biden.

That is a big debt. Chris Steyerwald, Fox News political editor at the time, helped make that call. I was surprised at how damn scared everybody was and how much just this intense fear. I knew that we were- Fear of viewers? Fear of viewers, fear about ratings, fear about Trump. What happened after that call was an exodus of angry Fox viewers, including President Donald Trump himself, to win them back.

President Trump won by not just hundreds of thousands of votes, but by millions of votes. Dominion alleges Fox intentionally allowed attorney Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and others supporting Trump to make false statements about Dominion. The Dominion software system has been tagged as one allegedly capable of flipping votes. The Supreme Court has said what is not protected by the First Amendment is the knowing falsehood, the calculated lie.

Dominion has already begun making its case in public, releasing texts and other communications obtained through litigation. Like this one sent by Fox chief political correspondent, Bret Baier, on November 5th, there is no evidence of fraud, none. Yet three days later- Potentially a stolen election. His colleague, Maria Bartiromo, interviewed attorney Powell, who falsely claimed she had proof that Dominion had rigged the election.

They also used an algorithm to calculate the votes they would need to flip. Part of the proof provided by Powell, according to court documents, an email from a woman who said she gained information from speaking to the wind. Bartiromo herself later described the email as nonsense and still- Wow, this is explosive and we certainly will continue to follow it. Over the next days and weeks, Powell and President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, continued to appear on Fox programs.

Sean, it was a national conspiracy. Fox also received communications almost daily from Dominion, refuting the false claims, but Fox never made a retraction. One could argue that at the very beginning, when Giuliani and Powell were first saying these things, they had no reason to believe they were false. But then, once Dominion started sending information to Fox saying, no, no, no, what they're saying is false, here's why, then a reasonable jury could find that Fox knew it was false or probably false and let them come on and say it again. In fact, court documents show that Fox's own fact-checking unit, known as the Brain Room, found claims about Dominion switching or deleting votes are 100% false. On the surface, this looks terrible for Fox, but isn't there some truth to the Fox response that the plaintiff is just cherry-picking?

Sure, yeah, I mean, they may be cherry-picking, but they're extraordinary cherries. It's just genuinely pretty shocking. Ben Smith has written extensively on media issues for The New York Times and now Semaphore, an online news site he co-founded. A big part of the case is the question of whether someone comes on your air and says something crazy.

How responsible for that are you? And it's tricky with live television. Somebody just suddenly opens their mouth and says something, and a court isn't necessarily going to blame the broadcaster.

So let me start by just saying, this time is yours. But if you invite them back again and again and again, even as your senior executives are saying this person is crazy, don't put them on the air. And Fox show producers, according to court documents, continue to put Powell and Giuliani on air because it was good for business.

Any day with Rudy and Sidney is guaranteed gold, wrote one producer for Lou Dobbs' show. What about Fox's argument, which is you've got a sitting U.S. president and his attorneys making allegations. That's newsworthy. And Fox argues that it had to cover it.

I mean, I think that's a pretty strong argument. Fox didn't invent Donald Trump. Fox didn't invent Sidney Powell. And even if they hadn't gone on Fox, they would have been out there defaming Dominion anyway. So I think Fox will say, this isn't really our fault.

We're just reporting on it. The judge has already ruled that statements broadcast by Fox were false and defamatory. And just this past week said Fox cannot argue those false statements were newsworthy.

Still, Dominion faces the biggest hurdle of all to convince a jury that Fox and its famous faces acted with actual malice, that they knew the claims were false or had serious doubts about them and erred them anyway. Former Fox News political editor Chris Steyerwalt. Didn't you in your deposition say by November 7th, when the election was called, nobody believed that Donald Trump had won, right? I said no reasonable person. That doesn't include all TV anchors in the category of reasonable persons.

I don't know what anybody believed in their heart of hearts. Fox News denies actual malice, asserting in court documents that it reported Dominion's denials and pushed back on Sidney Powell's allegations. She never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another, not one. I don't really think that's how defamation works. I don't think that if I defame someone and then you don't defame them that I get credit for the fact that you didn't.

And Fox also asserts that some hosts believe the allegations. In Maria Bartiromo's deposition, she says she still doesn't know what happened in the election. Does that get her off the hook for actual malice if she says, I still don't know.

I didn't know then and I don't know now. The very likely answer to that is no, that does not get her off the hook as one of my former partners has been quoted as saying there's no insanity defense in defamation law. In a statement responding to this report, Fox said Dominion's lawsuit is a political crusade in search of a financial windfall. But whatever happens in court, Dominion may already have won a victory by embarrassing Fox, releasing texts and emails that, among other things, appear to show Tucker Carlson supportive of Mr. Trump on air. An amazing, really an amazing conversation.

Expressing something else privately. I hate him passionately. Dominion has already won a lot. Two months after the 2020 election, Chris Steyerwalt lost his job at Fox. It was officially part of a restructuring. He says he was fired for doing his job too well. He has written a book pushing for change at Fox and all television news networks. I think what they've already won is getting this this basic admission that the news has to be the news.

You're listening to Sunday Morning on the radio. When you're getting married, it's not just about the big day, it's about all the amazing days on the way to your wedding day, like the pop the question and the champagne day or the venues booked invites sent. We are crushing this day, even the practice your first dance in your living room day. Zola is here for all of them from the how to make a budget to the way too many spreadsheets day. Zola's free planning tools show you where to start and help keep your planning on track every step along the way. Zola also has venues and vendors, save the dates and invites, free wedding websites and an amazing registry, all designed by wedding experts for couples like you.

From just engaged to the only thing left to do is say I do. Zola is here for all the days along the way. Are you shopping with Rakuten yet? Rakuten helps you be a smarter shopper and save money on just about everything. With the cash back from Rakuten, you can treat yourself to the things you love. With Rakuten, you get cash back on clothes, groceries, travel and much more. Even better, you can stack cash back on top of other deals like store sales and credit card points. The stores on Rakuten are the ones you know and love like Nordstrom, Best Buy and Petco and they have a ton of cool ones just waiting to be discovered. There are over 3,000 stores. It's free and easy to join.

Just go to now or download the Rakuten app today. That's R-A-K-U-T-E-N. To tip or not to tip? That is the question. Nancy Giles goes in search of the tipping point. At Dirt Candy in New York City, Amanda Cohen and her staff spend their day chopping, rolling and sautéing vegetables. What's the thing with human vegetables? I just really like them and you get to be so creative and have so much fun with them. We're like pioneers in the vegetable world and it's fun.

She's a pioneer in another way too. There's a no-tipping policy at her restaurant. What would you say is the biggest plus about having a no-tip system?

There's quite a few actually. One is my guests don't have to do math at the end of the night. They can drink as much as they want and not have to worry. My staff is really happy. They all feel like they're making a fair wage. And a happy staff stays. Right now you hear about this revolving door in restaurants and there's not enough staff.

I am over-staffed. I really respect the restaurants that have been able to stick with this. We just couldn't. Restaurateur Danny Meyer started a no-tipping policy in his restaurants in 2015. It took a lot of explaining because it's not the typical way that Americans go out to dine. But in that time, the consumers really got with the program. Then COVID hit. Restaurants closed.

Jobs were lost. When they opened again... New Yorkers were literally throwing dollar bills at our servers. We said, we don't take tips here.

After a week of that, I said to myself, this is insane. How can I say that I'm on the side of our staff and not permit them to benefit from putting themselves on the front line? Right. And so we did reinstate tipping.

Now, he says, he has to live with it. Unfortunately, if you're going to eliminate tipping in your restaurant in this country, and you realize that most other restaurants are not doing that, you put yourself at a decided disadvantage when it comes to people shopping menu prices. If and when this country says we're going to lay down our arms and stop tipping, we'll be at the front of the line. We've gotten used to tipping in restaurants, but now it seems we're being asked to tip everybody for everything. Do you tip the barista who gives you your coffee? What about the person that hands you a muffin or a bottle of water at the deli? And then there are gig workers, Uber and Lyft drivers, the people who deliver your food or your groceries or your packages. And how much should we tip?

And will the person who provided that service actually get it? We really do want to do the right thing. We want to tip and tip appropriately, but sometimes we just don't know. Even for etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, it's confusing. I walked up to the counter.

I bought a mug from a diner. They flipped that little tip app around, and it says tip 20, 25, 30. And then there is a button that says no tip, and that kind of feels, that feels uncomfortable.

But for that quick exchange that happened in less than six seconds, I hit no tip. As long as we allow one industry to get away with it, more and more and more industries are going to want that boondoggle. Saru Jayaraman says giving tips instead of wages began in the South after the Civil War. We in America uniquely mutated tipping from being an extra bonus on top of a wage to becoming a replacement for wages. That became law in 1938 as part of the New Deal when everybody got the right to a federal minimum wage for the first time, but tipped workers were excluded. She is the founder of One Fair Wage. Our fight is to just get everybody a full minimum wage with tips on top. For everybody to be guaranteed a full wage from their employer, like every other worker in every other industry, and let tips be what they were always intended to be. As for Amanda Cohen, she gets a good night's sleep these days. We are packed every night. Would you ever consider going back to the tip system?

Absolutely not. I think this restaurant is on the right side of history. It's Sunday morning on the radio. Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Senator John McCain, has taken on a new and vital role. She's the head of the United Nations World Food Program. And as she tells our Seth Doan, with world hunger on the rise, money matters. You're fighting hunger, you're managing people.

23,000. But a big part of your role is fundraiser, fundraiser in chief. I've only been on the job 24 hours, but I know I'll spend a good portion of my time fundraising and making sure that we have the means to be able to do what we need to do.

Hi guys, how are you? I may still be learning her way around the building. This is Seth, who's with us today from CBS.

This is the new boss. But Cindy McCain needs no introduction to the mission and potential of the agency she now runs. Earlier this month, on her second day on the job, we met McCain at the Rome headquarters of the World Food Program, or WFP. When I was a young aid worker on the ground, I mean, WFP was up here. This is the organization. Look at the work they do.

They're so incredible. They are more than 20,000 people working in 123 countries, with the ambitious and increasingly challenging goal of ending world hunger. But WFP tells us currently they have a quarter of the funds they need, a $17 billion gap, which is causing cutbacks. What prepares you for those sorts of decisions? To decide who can eat, who can't eat? I know. I don't know yet because I haven't had to make a decision like that. I know they're coming.

I know that's coming. WFP delivered food assistance to 158 million people last year, but says nearly 350 million people need it. An unprecedented food crisis, they say, worsened by COVID, supply chains, cost and conflict. Ukraine once produced about half of the WFP's wheat supply. The United States is WFP's biggest donor, contributing more than $7 billion last year. China, by comparison, is number 44 on the donor list, giving just about 12 million. Will you go after China to donate more? I don't know if go after is the right word, but I certainly will be engaged with China, as well as the Middle East and some other parts of South America as well.

McCain also aims to raise corporate funding. She's dedicated much of her life to humanitarian work, and over the last year and a half has been traveling with WFP in her role as the U.S. ambassador to the UN agencies in Rome. You've been critical of Russia in the past in your role as ambassador? As ambassador, yes. The world remains in the shadow of Russia's continued unprovoked and horrific war against Ukraine. Now you work for the United Nations, which includes all countries, Russia's on the Security Council. Do you regret what you said? No, I was representing the United States of America, and as you know, WFP is non-political.

Our goal is to feed people. Is that tough to shed your political side? Well, you know, everybody's got their own personal views, so I won't say that it's tough to shed it.

I keep it in its right silo over here. McCain has not kept her political views siloed in the past. Oh, it's great to see you. Thank you.

It's great to see you. Nor did her husband, John McCain, the longtime U.S. senator from Arizona and Republican presidential nominee. She was outspoken when she endorsed President Biden in 2020 over former President Trump, but reflecting her new role, avoided commenting on Trump's arraignment.

You know, it's the justice system at work. I don't know what else to say. This is a more diplomatic Cindy McCain than I've heard in the past.

My kids would get a kick out of it. A lifelong Republican, she's also good friends with the Bidens, who introduced her to John McCain. Is there any advice or counsel that your late husband, Senator McCain, gave you that — A lot. Is something that still sticks with you today something that you think about?

Do the right thing. He was always about doing the right thing. How much have you thought about him in taking on this role?

All the time. He's with me at every moment. What do you think about? What he would say. What he would think of all this. I know exactly what he would say and what he would think of it. And also, I think he'd be proud.

At least I hope he would. I can see the emotion in your eyes. We miss him. At WFP headquarters, there's a map of flashing lights marking places where food is scarce. The ones up here that we should be concerned about are these right here, because that's Haiti. It's a seemingly insurmountable to-do list. What made you decide to do this? This is a challenging job. It's potentially thankless. People will still be hungry. Why not stay home and worry about less challenging things?

Well, that's what my kids were asking me before I left. You don't need the work. No, but I want the work. It's work and fundraising to give food and hope to the world's hungriest. Who's next? It's Sunday morning on the radio. Gino. Hi. Hi, Gino. Vanessa, what brings you to the mall today?

I was just shopping, you know, with my girlfriends. That's Jennifer Garner in Juno, which was a big hit on the big screen not that long ago. She's just launched a new streaming series based on a bestseller from author Laura Dave.

They are in conversation with Jonathan Vigliati. Sausalito, California, is a Bay Area Bohemia best known for its views of San Francisco and maze of floating homes. There are about 400 floating homes here and in Marin County, and they are both incredibly private. And yet you have this wonderful community of people. For author Laura Dave, it was also the perfect setting for a mystery.

That dichotomy was something I really wanted to be the backdrop to someone who is both searching for community and also someone who needs to hide. These docs serve as the opening location for her novel The Last Thing He Told Me, published by Simon & Schuster, our sister Paramount Global Company. It was one of the best selling books of 2021.

And now, two years later, it's also an Apple TV Plus series starring Jennifer Garner that began streaming Friday. Remember how I lost my parking ticket on a second date? That was me. Sure, but it was my fault.

That I lost my parking ticket? I distracted you. Oh, wow.

That's true. The thriller follows Garner's character, Hannah, after her husband, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, vanishes, leaving her and her stepdaughter to piece together the mystery themselves. Tell me who sent you.

Go now. All while wondering how well they actually know the man they love. Your husband is not who you think he is. That million-dollar idea first came to Laura Dave 20 years ago following Enron's financial scandal and 2001 collapse. What I was most interested in was I saw Kenneth Lay, the CEO's wife, give an interview in which she said, my husband's done nothing wrong. And I was fascinated by the idea of a woman who found herself in the situation where the world was telling her her husband was someone and she believed him to be someone else. And that sort of ruminated for a really long time.

It would be another decade before Dave spun that idea into publishing gold. But patience and perseverance seem to have always been her virtues ever since she began working on her very first novel in her 20s. I was in a coffee shop working on finishing my novel and I spilled water on my computer and I lost the entire thing. And I remember distinctly lying on the floor of my childhood bedroom and my father saying, well, what are you going to do now?

And I said, well, I'm going to start again. That's the moment I became to myself convinced that I was going to write and was going to spend my life writing one way or another because no other option felt possible. The finished product, London is the Best City in America, became a New York Times bestseller, launching her career.

Dave has published five books since her latest. The last thing he told me is her most read yet. Catching the attention of Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine Media Company, along with a listers like Jennifer Gardner, who even wrote a letter to producers asking to play the title role. What did you say in that letter?

I think that I said I haven't done this. I haven't felt so drawn to a role that I needed to let you know why you need to cast me and why I'm right for this job. Laura, do you remember receiving that letter? Yes, a letter wasn't to me, but it was shared with me.

And so when Jim was just like, oh, well, I think I said this, I could tell you everything. This is one of the best letters I ever got to read. The power of a letter. A few letters.

Garner says she fell in love with the role while reading the book to her children, whom she co-parents with her ex-husband, actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck. We just devoured it. There's no other way to say it. We could not. Bedtime went out the window. We stayed up so late every night.

Sometimes it was me saying, I'm so sorry, we have to keep going. It's a cliffhanger. I have to see what happens. I'm sorry. I know you have school tomorrow. You're going to be tired.

That kind of review is music to Dave's ear. In fact, she says music, the song If I Should Fall Behind by Bruce Springsteen, plays a very real role in her writing. I will wait for you. And if I fall behind, wait for me. How many times did you say you've listened to this song?

I mean, on one computer it had 13,000. One of the best compliments I get is when readers reach out and say, I couldn't put this down. And I think listening to the same song, for me, I think puts a rhythm to the writing. It helps me move it in a certain way, move the book in a certain way so that there's almost a musical undertone. A musical undertone that she says sets the tempo for her exploration of the book's central theme.

I always start with a question. And for this novel, the question was, can you know the people you love the most? And what does it mean to love the people you love the most? So what I have learned is it's a constant knowing. It's a constant movement into knowing. And one of the gifts you can give people over a lifetime, the people you love, is to know and re-know them as they change and evolve.

And why was it important for you to send that message through your writing? Let me say first that I think it is possible to know the people that we love if we accept that the details about them might change. You can sort of know someone on a soul level. And when you're lucky enough to know someone on a soul level, that can be everything. Can I ask you that question? Can we ever know the people we love most?

What's your takeaway? I think yes and no. We may not know the details that we think we know, but yes, we can know the kernel of who they are. Although my parents, I think about them, they're pretty close.

But 58 years, that would start to get there, yes. So your parents know everything about each other. My parents might know everything. But I don't know, can you know everything about the person you love? Gosh, it's a yes and no, isn't it?

Yeah. With that original question from the last thing he told me still lingering, Laura Dave is already working on a sequel and says there's no doubt who she has in mind for that next chapter. Laura said when she was writing the role of Hannah, she didn't actually picture what Hannah looked like.

And now she can't imagine Hannah without your face attached to that body. Thank goodness. I could not be more grateful. I mean, this goes both ways. This is a meeting of the minds that doesn't end here.

You're listening to CBS Sunday Morning on the radio. We take a moment for a short tribute to a pioneer whose small idea changed pop culture in a big way. Mary Quant, the British fashion designer, died peacefully Thursday at her home in the south of England. Paired with her colorful, whimsical tights and mix and match accessories and named after her favorite car, the Mini, Quant gave us the mini skirt that epitomized the swinging 60s.

Mary Quant was 93. Next weekend, can science bring back the dodo bird? Plus, we'll visit the legendary Chita Rivera, talk with actor Rachel McAdams and catch up with the late, late shows. James Corden. I'm Jane Pauley. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning on the radio. Sunday morning, 24 hours a day. Check out our website.

Hey, Prime members. You can listen to CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. Or you can listen ad-free with Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts. Before you go, tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at slash survey.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-16 14:09:09 / 2023-04-16 14:24:52 / 16

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