Hoda – How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee

By Hoda Kotb with Jane Lorenzini


About the Book:

From Booklist

            To millions of loyal viewers, she’s “Hoda Woman,” Kathie Lee Gifford’s slightly more restrained sidekick on the fourth hour of the Today show. Still others know her as a correspondent for Dateline, for which she has traveled from Baghdad to Burma and covered everything from hot zones to hurricanes. Now Kotb tells her own story, beginning with her Egyptian immigrant parents’ embrace of the American dream right to her nightmare year battling breast cancer and dealing with divorce. Throughout, Kotb’s voice is as infectiously enthusiastic as her trademark smile, each episode imbued with stalwart courage and sincere charm. From her fondness for the music of James Taylor to her fierce loyalty to New Orleans, Kotb’s memoir of life on the road, on the air, and in the trenches is not only an absorbing inside look at the high-speed world of high-stakes journalism, it is also one charismatic woman’s story of how a can-do attitude and caring family have provided the foundation and support for an exhilarating life. –Carol Haggas

About the Author:

            Hoda Kotb was named cohost of the fourth hour of Today in August 2007. She has also been a Dateline NBC correspondent since April 1998. In her twelve years at NBC, Kotb has covered a wide variety of domestic and international stories and has received numerous awards, including the 2008 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award and the prestigious Peabody in 2006 for her Dateline NBC report “The Education of Ms. Groves.” The four-time Emmy nominee also won the 2004 Headliner Award, the 2003 Gracie Award, and the 2002 Edward R. Murrow Award. She resides in New York City.

Jane Lorenzini is a freelance writer. She reported and anchored television news for fifteen years, thankfully crossing paths with her now dear friend Hoda at WINK-TV in Forth Myers, Florida. The two have laughed (and cried) their through the past twenty years. Jane also designs and manufactures her own line of custom stationery and paper goods called plain jane. She lives, writes, and draws in Tennessee.


            “Hoda, you’re not ready for Richmond.”… “Hoda, wait a minute. Ii have a buddy who’s hiring in Roanoke, Virginia. He’s leaving on a trip tomorrow, but if you catch him tonight, I’ll bet he’ll see you.” I said, “Tell him I’m coming.”

“Hoda, you are just not ready for Roanoke.”…”Hoda, wait a minute. I have a buddy who’s hiring in Memphis. He’s going to be at the conference I’m going to, nut I’ll bet if you catch him tomorrow morning, he’ll hire you.” So I said, “Tell him I’m coming.”

“Hoda, you just not ready for Memphis. But, best of luck to you.”…”Hoda, before you go, I have a buddy who I think will hire you.”

(Begin quote) “….I asked Steve, in this unthinkable situation, what he said to God. He just looked at me-for a long time. I thought maybe he didn’t want to answer the question. Finally, he said, “What do I say to God? I say, ‘Thank you.’”

“Thank you?” I asked.

“Yes. Thank you for not taking both of them,” he said.” (end of quote)

“It’s an honor to work at Dateline. I’m grateful. And one of these days, I’ll get Dennis Murphy in the perfect head lock, and he’ll cough up all his secret writing tricks.”

“Compartments, files, systems-not for me. here’s how I like my purse (and I swear I showed someone the contents the other day, and this is what came out): loose dollar bills, jam-packed wallet, a winter hat, a hardback novel, a thank-you card with a dog on it, Advil, one glove, a travel zip bag with 3-ounce bottles, mints, my checkbook, cough suppressant pills, a bottle of perfume, deodorant, contact lenses, a comb, an apple, and a Christmas ornament. Yeah. That’s my world.”

(Begin quote) “What’s going on?” I asked. My coworker proceeded to tell me that my apartment had been ransacked! I was shocked-until they began listing their evidence.

“Your purse was on the ground with its contents strewn about.”


“Your door was unlocked.”


“There was stuff everywhere.”

Okay… (end of quote)

“I had flashbacks of a trick played on me at WINK-TV in Fort Myers. The five o’clock anchors secretly sent a photographer into my apartment for their weeklong Disorganized!” series. They surprised me live on the air with the “home movie” of my domestic chaos. Are you sensing a theme here?”

Just one more quote (or I’d be quoting the entire book!)

“Believe me-we’re prepared for times when a guest or viewers may not embrace the humor of KLG. In the control room, producers have access to a “CYA” button that, when pressed, crawls the following across the bottom of the screen: “We would like to apologize for what she just said, what she is currently saying, and for what she is about to say.”

My Review:

            I have had many opportunities to be in the same room, at the same function, and to speak with Hoda Kotb throughout the last seventeen years or so. She has been the guest at many club functions and the guest speaker at others.

I can still remember my first encounter with Hoda. I met up with her to escort her to an event that I was chairing where she had agreed to be the guest speaker. She was so bubbly and friendly, and was never quiet! If she wasn’t talking, she was humming. She immediately captivated me. She has the ability to draw an audience in and hold them captive, no one wants to miss a word of what she is saying.

So, when she mentioned her book on the Today Show, I knew there was no way I was not going to read it. When I picked up the book to read it, before I even opened the cover, I was hoping that it would be like having a conversation with her. I was not disappointed. Her humor comes through ten-fold. It was like catching up with an old friend. So, Hoda, if you ever come across my review, I am a friend of Laura’s (in South Louisiana because I’m sure you will not remember me!)

I hope you enjoyed the quotes (I wanted to quote the entire book) and it makes you want to pick up the book and read it. If you enjoy watching Hoda on the Today Show, you will enjoy reading this book.

The book is available here: