Leo Buscaglia

About Leo Buscaglia

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Leo Buscaglia was a highly inspirational personal development author and professor. He wrote more than a dozen books and sold more than 11 million copies printed in 20 languages. At one time, five of his books appeared on The New York Times best-seller list. He frequently appeared on public television in the United States during the seventies, delivering moving speeches that always ending in extended, individual hugs with members of the audience.

Profoundly Inspirational

I honour this man completely.

I began watching Leo Buscaglia on PBS (public television) broadcasted from the USA, when I was just a teenager. I was in awe of this man and his words. He completely captivated me, as he did his audience, with his way of speaking, so profound, so true, so important. He was a spirit guide embodied. I often wondered if he was like Jesus would have been to his contemporary audiences. Leo Buscaglia spoke such truth, in simple ways. In ways that affected your heart, deeply.

I have read most of his books, and every one of them is a treasure. Leo has always been down to earth. A man that rejoices in being human, living each of his human aspects out to their fullest.

I remember how he used to talk about autumn being his favourite season. As a teacher, he’d frequently conduct classes by getting students to gather fallen autumn leaves, bring them indoors, and sit amongst them, revelling in them.

I also remember how he found it astonishing that he got the copyright for “Love”, the title of one of his books. He was amazed that it hadn’t yet be used. “Love” was also the title of classes that he taught. How incredibly wonderful it must have been, to have the privilege of attending his classes.

At the end of every talk featured on PBS, Leo would get down in amongst the audience and give hugs to anyone and everyone who came to him. They were big bear, sincere and loving hugs, and you could see how precious an experience it would have been to be there!

Leo Buscaglia’s words and amazingly loving presence that could even be felt through a television screen, most definitely shaped my teenage years and significantly influenced who I am today.

Everyone should read his books, and if you have an opportunity, hear his voice, and see tapes of his talks. I guarantee, you will not be the same person after you have heard this man. Your heart will soften and open up.


Leo Buscaglia was born March 31, 1924. He was the son of Italian immigrants, and didn’t learn to speak English until he entered primary school in Los Angeles. His teachers mistook his fumbling language skills for mental retardation and placed him in a special education class. Under the wing of a caring teacher, he learned English and a lesson in compassion that would eventually lead him into a career as a speech therapist in Los Angeles-area public schools. Buscaglia served as supervisor of special education in Pasadena City Schools from 1960 to 1965. He then joined the USC (University of Southern California) School of Education faculty and taught special education and counseling at the university until 1984. After retiring from teaching, he served on the School of Education’s Board of Councilors. In 1989, Buscaglia gave real estate valued at $500,000 to USC.

Known as “Dr Hug”, he shook up the University of Southern California in the 1970s when he started classes on love, including “Love 101”, combining sociology and psychology. His first book, “Love”, came out in 1972 and examined the phenomenon of human love as the one unifying force in life.

Leo Buscaglia earned a bachelor’s degree in English and speech (1950), a master’s degree in language and speech pathology (1954) and a PhD in language and speech pathology (1963) from USC. In 1969, he taught a self -actualization course at USC. Love 1A begat Love, the first in a long series of Buscaglia best-sellers, including Personhood, Loving Each Other and Fall of Freddie the Leaf.

Sadly, Leo Buscaglia died of a heart attack on June 11, 1998 at his home in Glenbrook, Nevada, near Lake Tahoe. He was 74. He will be missed by many, many people.

Leo Buscaglia Foundation website

Visit the Leo Buscaglia Foundation website at leobuscaglia.org.

Search for books by Leo Buscaglia

Quotes by Leo Buscaglia

Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.

Don't walk in my head with your dirty feet.

The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position.

Don't hold to anger, hurt or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love.

The hardest battle you are ever going to have to fight is the battle to be just you.

Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations. Don't over-analyze your relationships. Stop playing games. A growing relationship can only be nurtured by genuineness.

I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate - it's apathy. It's not giving a damn.

If we wish to free ourselves from enslavement, we must choose freedom and the responsibility this entails.

The greatest risk is to risk nothing at all.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

If you don't like the scene you're in, if you're unhappy, if you're lonely, if you don't feel that things are happening, change your scene. Paint a new backdrop.

Life lived for tomorrow will always be just a day away from being realized.

The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It’s overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt.

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