Official Website of Best-Selling Author


Bob Mitchell


“Sometimes life throws you a curve. Or, if you desperately need a heart transplant, a spitball with saliva oozing all over the seams.”  


Bob Mitchell is a novelist at heart.  But after he recently endured three near-fatal episodes of ventricular tachycardia, two harrowing months of waiting for a new heart (during which time a malignant tumor was inconveniently detected in his right kidney), partial nephrectomy surgery to remove the cancer, another month of waiting, twelve-hour heart and kidney transplant surgery, and spending a total of 100 days on life-support IV drips in four hospitals, a memoir centering around this life-changing saga was screaming out to be written. 

    Time for a Heart-to-Heart: Reflections on Life in the Face of Death is a very different kind of memoir and unlike any other in its category.  Not simply a narrative of the physical and emotional experience of what it’s like to need, go through, and recover from a transplant, this memoir is at its core a thought-provoking, heart-to-heart introspective monologue, and intimate dialogue with the reader, concerning life’s fundamental conflicts that the author pondered during his ordeal, that gave it clarity and perspective, and about which he had been thinking, teaching, and writing for over five decades: fear and hope, despair and joy, failure and success, pride and humility, thought and feeling, control and surrender, arbitrariness and justice, constriction and freedom, youth and age, life and death.  And the important lessons learned through hardship and struggle: perseverance, courage, patience, optimism, and humility, among many others. 

    Time for a Heart-to-Heart is eclectic in tone—at times philosophical, poetic, poignant, uplifting, confessional, hysterically funny, and nostalgic.  But most of all, it is an inspiring story of the triumph of hope and the human spirit in the face of the direst of circumstances and the ultimate challenge of survival. 


Bob Mitchell’s memoir Time for a Heart-to-Heart is a reflection of his remarkably eclectic life experience.  He has been a sports fanatic since birth and is also passionate about art, music, world literature, travel, food and wine, and dogs.  He is the author of eleven published books, including a volume of essays, a collection of poems, five nonfiction books, and three novels about sports and the meaning of life.  Bob studied at Williams (BA), Columbia (MA), and Harvard, where he received a PhD in French and Comparative Literature.  He has had careers as a university French professor (Harvard, Purdue, Ohio State), a teaching tennis pro, an award-winning advertising creative director, a teacher of advertising and creative writing (New York, Paris, Tel Aviv), and a novelist and has lived in seven states as well as Paris, Brittany, Angers, Besançon, London, Florence, Stockholm, Montreal, and Tel Aviv.  He resides in Carlsbad, CA, with his wife, artist Susan Ellen Love. 



News and Events

September 3, 2017

Book review by John Wilkens

in San Diego Union-Tribune

September 4, 2017

Review/excerpt on

September 13, 2017

4:20-4:40 p.m. (EST)

Interview with Dr. Mike Roizen on

RadioMD on his podcast, "YOU:

The Owner's Manual"

September Issue

Williams College Magazine

Entry on "Eph's Bookshelf"

October 11, 2017

11-11:30 (PST)

Interview with Larry King on his TV show, Larry King Now

December 1, 2017
4-5 p.m. (EST)
Interview with Heidi Godman
on WSRQ (Sarasota, FL) for her radio program, Health Check.

10:00-10:16 a.m. (PST)

Interview with Dr. Maurice Pickard on ReachMD's Book Club.

September 11, 2017


Reading/signing at Tri-City Wellness Center

Carlsbad, CA

September 25, 2017

6:30-8 p.m.

Reading/signing at East City Bookshop

Washington, DC



September 26, 2017

12:30-1:30 p.m.

Grand Rounds Lecture, Cardiology

3-4 p.m.

Grand Rounds Lecture, Internal Medicine 

Medstar/Georgetown Medical Center

Washington, DC

September 28, 2017

7:30-8:30 a.m.

Grand Rounds Lecture, Cardiology

Columbia University, 

College of Physicians and Surgeons

New York City



September 28, 2017

4-5 p.m.

Special Guest Lecture to Departments

of Cardiology and Internal Medicine

Mt. Sinai Hospital Center

New York City

October 30, 2017

[NOTE: Password is grandrounds 17]

7:30-8:30 p.m.

Reading/signing at Warwick's bookstore

La Jolla, CA

January 23, 2018
12-1 p.m. 
Didactic Lecture to
Internal Medicine Residents
UCLA Medical Center
May 14, 2018

12-1 p.m.

Grand Rounds Lecture, Cardiology

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Los Angeles, CA

August 25, 2018

Speaker on two panels (Process of Writing, Sports)

San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books

Liberty Station 

San Diego, CA


TED talk

Los Angeles, CA

For information about all of

Bob Mitchell’s books, click here:


Grand Rounds Lecture, Cardiology

Scripps Memorial Hospital

La Jolla, CA






“There are lots of memoirs out there about heart disease, but Time for a Heart-to-Heart is unique . . . thought-provoking and challenging, with lots of insight and wisdom, inviting any reader with a beating heart to contemplate nothing less than the meaning of life.  Plus, it’s a fun read filled with entertaining anecdotes from Bob’s colorful past.  As we used to say in Brooklyn, ‘What’s not to like?’  This is a must read.”


—Larry King, Founder, Larry King Cardiac Foundation (from the foreword)   


“                           ”

(A Whitman’s Sampler of quotes  from

Bob Mitchell’s memoir, Time for a Heart-to-Heart)

“I am filled with the contradictory feelings of first anxiety and then hope in anticipation of my transplant.  First, Think about it: having someone else’s heart beating inside your chest!  And then, Think about it: having someone else’s heart beating inside your chest! 

“What could Cole Porter have been thinking when he was writing his classic song “You’re the Top”?  Sure, he compared the object of his affection to all manner of superlatives: the Coliseum, the Louvre museum, a symphony by Strauss, a Bendel bonnet, a Shakespeare sonnet, Mickey Mouse, the Nile, the Tower of Pisa, the smile on the Mona Lisa, Mahatma Gandhi, Napoleon brandy, a summer night in Spain, the National Gallery, Garbo’s salary, cellophane, turkey dinner, the Derby winner, an Arrow collar, a Coolidge dollar, Fred Astaire’s feet, an O’Neill drama, Whistler’s mama, camembert, a rose, Dante’s Inferno, Durante’s nose, a dance in Bali, a hot tamale, an angel, a Botticelli, Keats, Shelley, Ovaltine, a boom, the dam at Boulder, the moon over Mae West’s shoulder, a Waldorf salad, a Berlin ballad, the boats on the Zuider Zee, an old Dutch master, Lady Astor, broccoli, romance, the steppes of Russia, and the pants on a Roxy usher.  But how could he have omitted Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Advanced Heart Disease Center from his laundry list of laudatory lyrics?  Maybe it had too many syllables.”

“Looking out my hospital window one sunny morning, I am feeling imprisoned.  Isolated.  Segregated.  A pariah.  Like some criminal, or a leper in a colony.  Like Quasimodo and Frankenstein.  Like van Gogh and Beethoven.  Like Camus’s Meursault and Kafka’s Gregor Samsa.  I am, to paraphrase the wry 1950s comedian George Gobel, feeling like the world is a tuxedo and I’m a pair of brown shoes.”

“Actually and paradoxically, now that I am thinking about it here in my hospital room, every single meaningful value I have ever espoused has an equally viable value attached to its opposite.  I see these pairs, these dichotomies, not as positive vs. negative, as is often the perception, but as being in a very deep sense symbiotic, both contradictory and complementary.  Whether it’s success and failure, passion and struggle, justice and injustice, luck and self-determination, humility and hubris, knowing and not knowing, or imprisonment and freedom, the apparent antagonists are always symbiotic, joined at the hip with their opposite number, like a plover bird cleaning a crocodile’s teeth.”

“I am remembering Linda Loman’s poignant and pathetic monologue in Act I of Arthur Miller’s glorious play Death of a Salesman.  About her mediocre, unsuccessful husband, Willy, she tells her son Biff, ‘He’s not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog.  Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person.’  The world without me?  But then, I am thinking of all my recent, human feelings of self-doubt, frustration, failure, insufficiency, fragility, vulnerability, and humility.  And of that scene on the bridge between the flawed George Bailey and Bert the cop toward the end of the film It’s a Wonderful Life, when George ultimately realizes that he did, after all, make a real, palpable difference in other people’s lives.  The world with me!”

“And here’s the absolutely amazing and paradoxical and ironic and meaningful thing about all this thinking that I did throughout my 100 days of being in the various hospitals: all the fruits of my thinking, all the lessons I learned, all the learning I experienced about the human condition and about life were forced upon me by my very imprisonment, by my horrendous ordeal, by the tests and trials and tribulations that my dire and life-threatening condition foisted upon me, that the circumstances of my life teetering on the brink and on the edge of mortality compelled me to consider and to confront.  In the midst of complaining silently about or obsessing over physical pain or mental anguish or when this ordeal will ever ever end, I forced myself to think.  Past the grim present, and into the past and the future and the abstract.  About all the issues and conflicts that I had encountered during my checkered life.  And oddly enough, this deep thought gave my horrific experience in the here-and-now great perspective, great clarity, and even great meaning, tempering my flaws with insights, my limitations with potential.”

“Cut to Santa Barbara, CA.  It is June 10, 2001.  I have moved here from Paris in April, and this morning I meet my soul mate, the love of my life, a woman (aptly) named Susan Ellen Love.  She is an accomplished artist, working on the side as the head of the gift department at a local gourmet market, the one where Oprah shops for groceries.  I enter the store in search of a grapefruit spoon.  We meet and chat raptly for forty minutes.  (I end up buying a grapefruit knife.)  I call her up the next day, and we go out on our first date, a long walk on a gorgeous local beach.  We chat so intensely and for so long that we lose track of the time and end up at a nudist colony.  That evening, we return from dinner to my rented house and engage in a passionate first kiss.  I experience an arrhythmia, my defibrillator shocks me, and I crash to the floor in a daze.  Susan is also in shock, certain that her kiss has killed me and that she has, unwillingly and unwittingly, become a murderess.”

“I am appreciating all the lessons I have learned through my adventure, how they have deepened my understanding of everything I have endured in the past, what they have taught me about the greater meaning of my experience here on Earth and of the challenges, pain, and conflicts that life has a way of throwing at me, at all of us.  A second sip of my dark amber nectar, another glance at the Picasso etching, and a homespun yet deeply profound line from a George Strait song suddenly pops into my head: ‘I ain’t never saw a hearse with a luggage rack.’  One of the reasons I love country music is that, despite the (sometimes charming) questionable grammar and (sometimes charming) cloying sentimentality, it occasionally produces a lyric so oddball and hysterical and profound that, shoot, it could make you drive your car clear off the dadgum road when you listen to it.  Which is precisely what nearly happened to me when I first heard Strait warble those lyrics.”




To purchase Time for a Heart-to-Heart online,

click any retailer below:



For media and publicity inquiries, book events

and appearances, and speaking engagements,

please contact Bob’s publicist, Kirsten Kim, at

To communicate with Bob about Time for a Heart-to-Heart or to arrange a Skype session

for your book club, please write him at

May 29, 2019

Grand Rounds Lecture, Bioethics and Humanities

University of Washington Medical Center

Seattle, WA

March 6, 2018