‘(P)Luck’: New book by La Jolla resident and twin brother shares life lessons learned in health care
At 81, twin brothers Alfred and Blair Sadler have gleaned much about health care from their years as a medical-legal team working on industry innovations, and in the decades since.
They’ve compiled that knowledge into a primer intended to help those in the health care industry and beyond. Their new book, “(P)Luck: Lessons We Learned for Improving Healthcare and the World,” is due out Tuesday, June 28.
“(P)Luck” is the fourth book co-written by Alfred, a resident of Carmel who practiced as a primary care physician for nearly 40 years, and Blair, a former law clerk for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania who was president and chief executive of Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego from 1980 to 2006.
“We’ve been accustomed to writing, and unlike most people who are always fighting over every word, we seem to get along,” Blair said.
The Sadlers picked up the information imparted in “(P)Luck” primarily from their teamwork from 1967 to 1976, when they collaborated to assist various organizations in four areas of health care: development of emergency medicine, ambulance service and 911; the early laws concerning organ donation and the first heart transplants; creation of the physician assistant profession; and the birth of bioethics.
The book’s title comes from the brothers’ desire to convey that their successes have been part luck and much pluck, meaning “courage, stick-to-it-iveness, grit, the willingness to take a chance, all of those things,” Alfred said.
“If anyone wants to make some change, it’s crucial that you not just think about it but you take action,” he said. “Once we take action, it’s amazing how much you make your own luck. … You can’t have the luck without the pluck.”
Blair emphasized that “(P)Luck” isn’t just for a health care audience. The lessons apply to anyone aiming to advance a passion in an important subject, he said.
Alfred said that when he and Blair began working together in the late ‘60s, “there were a lot of bad things going on. Martin Luther King was shot; Robert Kennedy was shot; there were race riots at the Democratic Convention. There was the Nixon presidency … the Vietnam War. So how did we succeed and proceed?”
“Our work really saved us,” Alfred said.
That message is relevant to people today, he added. “If we have meaningful work where we feel like we’re contributing to society … whatever our age, whatever our role in that contribution … then we’re going to feel a lot better and a lot less helpless and hopeless.”
Blair calls the 10th chapter “the heart of the book,” in which the Sadlers lay out and expand on their 15 lessons, named for literary references and containing adages such as “Lead from any chair” and “Take the road less traveled.”
One of the more impactful lessons is “Start where you are,” Alfred said. “Grow from beginner to expert. Find your voice.”
The Sadlers hope the book will “inspire and motivate people,” Blair said, and that it causes someone to say, “I’ve been thinking about an itch I’ve been wanting to scratch for a while and I’m gonna jump into that issue.”
“The biggest gift,” he added, “would be that somebody said, ‘You know, I am a rookie, but I want to learn all there is about something.’”
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