A brief look at Leo Buscaglia
In the 1960’s, Leo Buscaglia, PhD was a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. Every day in lecture, he regularly looked for students that had, as he called them, “kind eyeballs”. These were students that radiated compassion and seemed particularly engaged and interested in what he had to say. It was important for him to know that he was making a real connection with young people.
One day he was shocked to discover that one of these students had committed suicide. In the following weeks, Buscaglia was so stunned by the news that he began deeply exploring the ideas of human disconnectedness and the meaning of life. Eventually, he organized his realizations into a non-credit class at USC called Love 1A. The class was extremely popular and formed the basis of his landmark bestselling book, LOVE: a warm and wonderful book about the greatest experience in life in 1972. It was the first book ever published with the title “love” and one of the first, if not the first, book dedicated exclusively to exploring the subject of love outside a romantic context.
Buscaglia got people thinking about love in a whole new way as an essential part of their daily existence. He showed how love was crucial to everything from happiness and health to world peace, while demonstrating how people could empower themselves through love to create changes in their lives, communities, and world. His intuitive message coupled with his charismatic personality helped him become a highly sought after presenter on PBS fundraising broadcasts and in lecture halls across the world. At one point, he had five books simultaneously on the New York Times Bestseller List. Soon after, he became known as Dr. Love.
Hugging was his trademark. It happened by accident when an attendee wanted to give him a congratulatory hug after a presentation. Seeing this, hundreds of others began lining up to hug Buscaglia, as well. Eventually, the hugging sessions lasted twice as long as the presentations, but Buscaglia always stayed until he embraced the last person.
He passed away in 1998 at his home in Glenbrook, Nevada near Lake Tahoe. Please enjoy some of Leo Buscaglia’s insights about his journey of love.
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