PORTLAND, Maine — When Dan Harris arrived at NEWS CENTER Maine in 1993 fresh out of Colby College in Waterville, it was evident that this was not your typical novice reporter. All the unfortunate characteristics of TV news rookies—the monotone delivery, the deer-in-the-headlights look, the cliché-littered writing—had somehow missed him. Smart, hard-working and confident, he was good at the job right from the start—and in television news, that almost never happens.
Not surprisingly, he moved briskly up the career ladder and just seven years after starting in Bangor, Harris landed a job as a reporter at ABC News. Once there, nearly all of his professional dreams came true as he traveled the world, covering everything from the aftermath of 9-11 in downtown Manhattan to the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. The stories were important, the settings often exotic and dangerous. Along the way, Harris writes, the work provided “what I would describe as journalistic heroin: the pure, sick rush of being somewhere you are not supposed to be and not only getting away with it but also getting on TV. I was hooked.”
Harris seemingly had it all, and that’s when the story gets even better. He was an eager and ambitious reporter, he acknowledges, “who got swept up, and swept away—and it all culminated in the single most humiliating moment of my life.”
I sat down and talked with him in 2014, soon after he’d written “10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works,” a book that became a major bestseller. It’s about meditation, and part of the story’s appeal is that Harris approached the practice with extreme skepticism—“most prominent proponents talk as if they have a perpetual pan flute accompaniment”—that ever so slowly turned into acceptance and then enthusiastic embrace.
In these unsettled times, when so many people are more stressed-out than ever, could meditation make you ten percent happier? I don’t know. What I do know is that I found Dan’s journey fascinating. Watch both parts of our conversation and listen to what he has to say. This much is clear: the guy knows how to tell a story.