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Who Says I Can't

Who Says I Can't [Kindle Edition]

Jothy Rosenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Two words have the power to change a person’s outlook: good . . . considering. Jothy Rosenberg has heard this nearly his whole life, starting at age sixteen when bone cancer led to an above-knee amputation of his right leg. Three years later, when cancer forced the removal of a lung and acted like a death sentence, this epithet continued. Rosenberg grew tired of only being “good considering” his disability. In the decades since he beat cancer, he has used athletics to overcome this social stigma. He turned his disability into a superability, often performing in challenging open water swims, cancer-fundraising bike rides, and treacherous skiing adventures better than “two-leggers.” And in the business world, when working in a reliable position failed to quench his need for risk taking, he plunged into entrepreneurship, launching several high-tech startup companies.

In Who Says I Can’t, Rosenberg teaches by example how everyone can overcome life’s obstacles to achieve and overachieve. Through his stories he shows that when the world says you can’t, courage and determination prove you can be more than “good considering.” You can be better than the rest. Not only that, you can use a positive attitude to inspire and stomp out stereotypes one leg at a time.

Anything is possible and Jothy s courageous journey proves that. In his book, you find the inspiration to take the first steps yourself toward a life of greater happiness and wellbeing. --Uta Pippig, legendary marathoner and president of Take the Magic Step

Jothy Rosenberg is not a celebrity but an Everyman, which gives his wrenching story of astonishing grit its inspirational power. After being told, when he was nineteen, that he had no chance of surviving the cancer that had already cost him one leg and one lung, Jothy made a decision: He would ski until he died. Instead he became one of the first beneficiaries of then-primitive chemotherapy, a champion one-legged, one-lunged skier, swimmer and cyclist, and an early model of how to triumph over cancer and disability. For anyone who trying to turn a cancer diagnosis, major disability, or even a major life challenge into a character-building experience, this well-written book is indispensable. --Jonathan Alter, Newsweek columnist, MSNBC commentator, cancer survivor

The Pan-Mass Challenge coined the term Living Proof some fifteen years ago. Nobody epitomizes that phrase, or our mission, better than Jothy Rosenberg. The challenges he has faced in his life have been hurdles, not walls, to leading a fulfilling life. In a world overflowing with hype and artifice, Jothy s journey and triumph is real and inspirational. He is a true role model. --Billy Starr, Founder and Executive Director, Pan-Mass Challenge

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 639 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 193545613X
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Bascom Hill Books; 1 edition (27 Dec 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00322P35K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #901,686 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Story 31 Jan 2012
By JanLuke
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At the age of 16 you find yourself with a rare form of cancer that requires you to have your leg amputated at the hip, At 19 the cancers back and you need your lung removed. So what do you do? Stay at home letting others look after you while you curse the world for dealing you a bad deal. Not if you're Jothy Rosenburg you don't. You thank your lucky starts you're still alive and set out to get as much out of life as you can. Jothy's tale is an inspirational story of one mans battle against the odds. Accomplished skier, long distance cyclist, open water swimmer and successful businessman he hasn't achieved these things despite his disability he achieved them because of his disability. Every time someone told him "You Can't" he became more determined to say "I Can"

As an amputee myself(below knee) I maybe got a little bit more from this book than most but if you're in need of some motivation to get yourself going in any area of your life then read this book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story, told well and told honestly 8 Feb 2010
By Andrew Kent - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jothy Rosenberg is an inspiration! I've ridden next to and behind him on many Pan-Mass Challenges, and while he doesn't know me, I now feel I know him. What I'd seen on during the PMC was a tough, strong cyclist with a heart of gold and a damn strong left leg (16-17+ mph on rolling terrain is nothing to sneeze at for two-legged cyclists). Now I know just how tough and inspiring he really is. This book is a must-read. The writing is clear and coherent. The stories are told plainly and well. It doesn't matter your connection with cancer, athletics, or cycling. This book connects at a level of humanity that's honest and unforgettable.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Says? Not Me! 6 Feb 2010
By Zinta Aistars - Published on
If you tell Jothy Rosenberg there is something you think he can't do, chances are better than good that is just the thing he will do. Chances are even greater he will leave you in the dust while doing it, too. He's like that. He's probably always been like that, but what has really strengthened Jothy's perseverance to take on life at full throttle, meet and beat every challenge he encounters, has been his experience of being a two-time cancer survivor.

Who Says I Can't is Jothy's memoir, published in 2010 by Bascom Hill Books. It is the story of "a two-time cancer surviving amputee and entrepreneur who fought back, survived and thrived." Jothy is an above-the-knee amputee with two-fifths of his lung removed, both due to cancer while still in his teens. He considers "considering" a dirty word (as in, "You're good, considering you are missing a leg!"). Jothy does what he does perhaps in some aspects because of his physical challenges, but he achieves excellence that can be measured against any able-bodied person. A math major at Kalamazoo College, he went on to earn a PhD in computer science at Duke University, authored two technical books, founded six high tech companies. He has also participated in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge bike-a-thon (supporting Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) seven times; has completed the swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco as part of a fundraiser to support Boston Healthcare for the Homeless 16 times; and has participated in countless other fundraising sports activities. He now lives in Newton, Massachusetts, with his wife Carole, and is the father of three children, grandfather of one. Writing a book to inspire others with his story is just one more item added to his long list of achievements.

"The book is about hearing the words, `You have zero chance of survival,' at the age of 19," Jothy says. "After already having lost one leg and one lung to cancer, as well as an extensive course of chemotherapy, it is about what all of that does to you. More importantly, the book is about how one goes about fighting back, recovering and thriving in the face of all that adversity."

Jothy lost his right leg to osteogenic sarcoma at age 16; his cancerous left lung was removed while he was a student at Kalamazoo College. Born in California, Jothy grew up in the Detroit area, the son of two physicians. His brother, Michael, was a Kalamazoo College graduate (1975), so he knew the college well.

"I wanted a school that was smaller than my high school and far enough away that I would not feel pressured to come home too often, yet I still wanted to be within a reasonable driving distance. I applied for early decision to Kalamazoo; I was not the slightest bit interested in any other school." (Page 39, Who Says I Can't.)

At the time of Jothy's dark diagnosis, chemotherapy was a new and experimental treatment. For the 10 months that Jothy underwent the tortuous process of chemotherapy ( he still feels nauseous when he remembers it), his professors at Kalamazoo College worked with him to keep him up to date with his college assignments. Professor Thomas Jefferson Smith was especially influential in young Jothy's life, and after jumping from one major to another, he settled on math in great part due to Professor Smith's caring attention.

"You have to keep in mind that this was before we had the convenience of computers and e-mail," Jothy says. "My professors brought my course work to my hospital bedside, often written out by hand."

Jothy writes about his years at Kalamazoo College in his memoir--and all that came after. He says he was inspired to do so, in fact, because of an earlier article that appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of LuxEsto. It got him thinking that he had a story to tell and that there might be others who might benefit from reading it.

"As a 16-year-old lying in a hospital bed with one leg gone, with a mind on fire with anguish about how I might live a normal life, and then as a 19-year-old with one lung trying to recover from chemotherapy and deal with a death sentence, I felt on my own. I was looking for inspiration, guidance, motivation--anything. I wrote this book because I want to help anyone facing a disability or serious life trauma deal with it better and faster than I did. Considering it took me 30 years to figure it out well enough to be able to write it down, I hope my experiences can shorten the learning curve for someone in a similar situation. "(Page 229)

Writing meant reliving. Jothy grasped how much it would have meant to him to hear the story of someone who had dealt with a similar blow and done well. A large part of what he had struggled with in those years, after all, was the feeling of being alone. Who to ask questions about learning to walk again? How to date when you might trip and fall on your face in front of a pretty girl? Without a role model or experienced advice, he did his best, and often, his best meant overachieving. If a two-legged person could do something, Jothy was going to outdo it. Even when it came to dating.

"I went on 40 dates in ten weeks when I was at Kalamazoo College," he laughs. "Each one with a different girl."

Not exactly the best way to develop a satisfying relationship. That's the kind of advice Jothy could have used. Summing up his advice from the book, he says: "You are tougher and more resilient than you could ever have imagined. Fight back just one little victory after another. Set a modest goal for something you can do to regain your balance and sense of normalcy. Achieve that and set the next goal. Before you know it, you are strong and inspiring others."

Jothy's "small" victories outsize those that most of us will ever achieve. Completing the circle of receiving healing and now giving back to others, he regularly participates in AIDS fundraising bike rides from Boston to New York--a ride of a mere 375 miles. His bike is specially fitted to him, so that he can ride with one leg. Jothy has become something of a celebrity participant, and his memoir recounts his grueling training, frustrations, and eventual victories.

"I have two main causes at this point," he says. "I direct a lot of my fundraising efforts for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. They were on the forefront of chemotherapy work in the mid-70s, and I am convinced it played a major role in my survival. I give them proceeds from the sale of this book and from the 192-mile Pan-Mass Challenge bike ride in which I participate every summer."

Yet when Jothy is asked about his proudest achievement, it is not the physical challenges he has met, not the bike riding, long-distance swimming, or being an expert skier. It is not even the many business startups with which he has been involved over the years. "Without question, it is the fact that my kids like me and are proud of me. Like any father, I am insanely proud of them, too. We are truly good friends, and that is not something I take for granted."

If the memoir is meant to give comfort and advice to those undergoing adversity or physical challenges, Jothy also hopes it gives those of us with limbs intact a better perspective on how to treat those who are different from ourselves. What he wants people to understand: "Don't stare, and teach your kids not to stare," he says. "But don't ignore such people either. Feel free to ask a question. Just remember, we get lots of attention for being different, and that can be tiresome. "

Jothy wouldn't call his early brush with death a blessing, challenging him to become a better man--although he believes it has in fact done that. "But I never sit around wishing it hadn't happened. I can't wish it away. It happened. So I make the very best of what I do have."

"Everything becomes difficult with a bad leg. I can't carry things. I can't walk any distance for lunch with colleagues or to catch a cab. I walk very slowly and laboriously through airports. I worry about just walking down the hall to my boss's office. It eats away at job effectiveness. It can affect how well I do my job, how likely a job promotion is, and therefore how much money I make. It affects my self-confidence in social relationships ... Dealing with the superficiality of the disability is important for self-confidence. Dealing with the anatomic, physical, structural, mechanical aspects of the disability is just as important for success. With these daily challenges to self-confidence and self-esteem, the disabled person needs a constant outlet where they can excel, where they can overcompensate, where they can leave the temporarily able-bodied people in the dust." (Page 228)

Along with insights into dealing with physical challenges, the book also provides an inside look at business startups. Jothy has been involved in starting, running or funding half a dozen startups. His memoir tells about the excitement of a new idea, the frustrations and danger zones of obtaining venture capital, the hard work of building a dream on a good idea, and then, at times, the heartbreak of having it swept out from under you.

Approaching his book promotion as he does everything else in life, Jothy is promoting it with everything in him. He has a Web site,, a fan page on the social networking site, Facebook, and he "tweets" regularly on Twitter as @jothmeister. He is currently on tour, giving talks and readings, signing books, and even trying to get a spot on Oprah's talk show. Someone should tell him he can't do it. And then stand back and watch what happens.

~Zinta Aistars for The Smoking Poet
5.0 out of 5 stars Courage with a Little Craziness Thrown in 4 April 2014
By Johanna Rothman - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jothy shows us what courage really is. From adolescence through adulthood, he shows, not tells, how he survived and thrived what should have been deadly cancer and emerged to live a full life.

He provides us glimpses into his dark days. He then shows us how sports, and later, business, helped him create a full life. With his family's support and his adaptability, Jothy has created a life many "two-legged" people only dream about.

The next time you think you can't, read something from this book. Rethink what you can and can't do. Maybe there is a way to do it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the guy's drive... 22 Dec 2013
By The Way I See It - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This guy is something else. So many people have no excuses to do what this guy did with legitimate excuses. I wish more people have what this guy has. Accolades to him and the people he touches!
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Says I Can't 19 July 2012
By Thomas Traynor - Published on
This book is both well-witten and inspirational. Jothy Rosenberg clearly demonstrates the importance of not feeling sorry for oneself and not underestimating the abilities of other individuals. Success is measured by how we react to negative situations in life and Jothy shows true success through his will to fight back and live his life regardless of the curveballs that have been thrown at him. In fact, he accomplishes things that many people without disabilities never accomplish. His book reminds us that every situation can be seen in a positive light. He serves as a role model for dealing with difficult things and bouncing back to not only meet but to exceed the expectations of others.
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