A Conversation with Mitchell Epstein, Author of Mr. Lucky

A girl running in the playground
Two girls solving a puzzle in a classroom

Video Transcript

Philip Tavill:

Hi, I am Philip Tavill. I’m the president and CEO of Children First, and I am here today with Mitchell Epstein, a longtime friend and a wonderful supporter along with his wife, Dawn, of Children First. Hi Mitchell.

Mitchell Epstein:

Hi Philip.

Philip Tavill:

So happy to have you here today. We’re very fortunate. Mitchell has written a book called Mr. Lucky, and he has dedicated a portion of the proceeds from the sales of his book to support our mission at Children First, and we’re so grateful for that. Mitchell, first of all, tell us about your connection to Children First and why you and Dawn are such passionate supporters.

Mitchell Epstein:

Well, there’s a lot of great organizations here in Sarasota, Philip, but I got to tell you, you guys do it the best. We really resonate with helping less fortunate kids and families, and we’re so proud to be part of this organization.

Philip Tavill:

Thanks, Mitchell. Beyond your philanthropy, you do volunteer work as well, don’t you?

Mitchell Epstein:

I do, and I’ve got to tell you, that’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. So I’ve been mentoring two amazing young men. Before I met them, they were both homeless. They got into a program, it required them to go to school full-time, work 30 hours a week, and have a mentor. Each week we’d get together, we’d talk about life, what’s going on in their life. It was phenomenal. I still get together with them and I’m so proud of the two of them. They both graduated college, one of them graduated two years ago with his second degree, an MBA. He’s a successful realtor.

Philip Tavill:

Wow.

Mitchell Epstein:

The first young man has already been hired by the city of Sarasota to be a policeman. There’s nothing more rewarding than watching people make their lives better.

Philip Tavill:

And those are really, they’re incredible stories. So I think it’s a good time to ask you about your book, Mr. Lucky.

Mitchell Epstein:

Well, we all had ups and downs in our life, and I’ve certainly had a lot of life-changing moments. Fell off a roof, face first. I’ve been held up at gunpoint. In the middle of the night, our house went on fire. We lost 85% of our things. A lot of family tragedies. But you know what? I took those stories and I wrote a book called it Mr. Lucky, My Unexpected Journey to Success. It’s a bunch of inspirational stories and life lessons, the things I learned from those situations, as well as the very successful business that I had.

Philip Tavill:

Why did you name it, Mr. Lucky, and how were you able to turn these incredibly challenging life situations into these successes later in life?

Mitchell Epstein:

Well, Mr. Lucky is not a person. It’s really a view on life. We’ve got so many choices. Things are going to happen every day, big things, little things, but we get to decide. Are we going to moan about those things or are we going to look for the good in those things? Are we going to learn from those things?

Philip Tavill:

A lot of people have those life experiences. Very, very few choose to write about them. Why did you choose to write a book about them, Mitchell?

Mitchell Epstein:

I really hope that by reading the book, people will resonate with those experiences and it’ll help them to deal with their situations. The reason I wrote it though was so that more people could benefit from my experiences, not just helping one or two people at a time like I have from the mentoring.

Philip Tavill:

What do you hope the impact of the book will be?

Mitchell Epstein:

Well, I share a lot of simple ideas, but they’re powerful things and I hope they’ll inspire people. When you read about my story, you see I’m not the smartest guy in the room by far, but I was able to be successful. Everybody can be successful in their life, and really it’s about having more joy in your life and being more prosperous in your life.

Philip Tavill:

It’s a very, very inspirational message, Mitchell. I’m very fortunate because I know firsthand that you have a beautiful family. And I’m curious, how did they impact your writing of this book?

Mitchell Epstein:

Maybe that’s why I call myself Mr. Lucky. I’ve been married for 31 years to my best friend. How lucky is that? And we’ve got a wonderful daughter. She’s 25 years old, so proud of her. They helped me. It’s hard to share your message and to bear your soul, and so they were very supportive in that as were a lot of other people,

Philip Tavill:

You and Dawn have been incredible supporters for all these years. You have stepped up. It’s truly inspiring that you’re donating a part of your book, sales to Children First and other nonprofits. Can you talk a little bit about why you’re doing that?

Mitchell Epstein:

What I can tell you is, and I found this out the last few years, the more you give, the more you get. And it’s just a pleasure helping an organization that does all the right things for families. I’ve been here, I’ve listened to the mothers stand up in front of a room and tell the impact that you have on their family and the fact that you don’t just work with kids, you work with the family. So important.

Philip Tavill:

I’m deeply grateful for that. We are deeply grateful for that. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit about Mr. Lucky and for everything you do for Children First. It’s really fantastic. Thank you, Mitchell.

Mitchell Epstein:

Thank you. We do the easy part. You guys do the heavy lifting.

Philip Tavill:

And thank you all so much for joining us. I want to strongly encourage you to get Mr. Lucky. It’s a wonderful book. There’s so much you can learn from it. And remember, the total proceeds from the sales of the book will be supporting Children First and the other fine institutions that Mitchell and Dawn have selected. Thank you again.