PW: You're a former world heavyweight champ, you're a preacher, you're a spokesman for Salton [maker of the wildly popular Foreman grills]. You have a lot on your plate. Why did you write George Foreman's Guide to Life.
George Foreman: You get into a good world, and you want to make certain that you leave it even better. There are not a lot of people who can tell you good stories about life. A lot of people haven't seen a good world. If you're going to fall, let me do the falling. The falling I've done, you can profit by it so you can see a good world. I figure if I can just lay a little pathway for those who are getting ready to go down the road, that road that will make them say, "Oh, what a terrible world," if I can just seal it up so they don't fall into those holes, then I can leave a good world. That's why this book is one of the most important things I've ever done.
PW: How did you write the book? A coauthor is credited: Linda Kulman.
GF: What she would help me do is to put it in English—get all the "duhs" out. And she was really good because sometimes too many words would come together, and without disturbing any of my writing she eliminated some of the commas and made it a real book for me.
PW: Did you write your words, or record them?
GF: The two of us e-mailed. I put this whole thing down on the computer. I'd e-mail, and she'd e-mail back, "What about this?" and I'd e-mail back, "What about that?" I love the computer. No recording because I've found that writing is easier than recording. You can just sit right down and no one bothers you and you get that keyboard, and you can come alive. You can put down every thought. You can start crying again, because I would, I would start crying, and I would dry up and go right back.
PW: In the book, you talk a lot about how to deal with the trials of life. I'm wondering about how one deals with fear, which you must have known during your boxing career.
GF: That's the only thing that differentiates boxing from all the other sports. The fear is real. There's a living fear that goes along with it, and I learned to use those fears. On an airplane, a kid once told me that he just couldn't conquer his fear when he had to do something. I said, "I boxed all those years and what was driving me nuts was that a few minutes before each boxing match I would get scared, trembling, but once we got into the ring it was all over. But those few minutes before, it was almost a death sentence. I thought I could be a great boxer if I could just get this out of my life. And for the first time, it was 1974, I'm in Zaire, Africa, fighting Muhammad Ali. I woke up, no fear! Stepped into the ring, not even a butterfly! First time in my life there was no fear. And you know what? First loss." I started then to seek my fears, point them out, acknowledge them. I learned how to keep my fears but use them as a tool. Fear is a necessity.
PW: What's the most important piece of advice you have on life?
GF: Learn to trust in yourself. There's not a better person you're going to meet in this life, and there's not anyone you're going to know any better than you. The best advice will come from within you.
PW: You've had so many careers that some of the younger generation don't know about your boxing achievements.
GF: I went to see Mike Tyson fight Lennox Lewis in Memphis. A group of teachers ran up to me and they said, "Oh, it's George Foreman, kids." And one of the teachers says, "You know, George was an Olympic champion, he was heavyweight champion of the world." A little kid screams, "No, that's the cooking man!" All the success I had in boxing was wiped out by the success of that grill. But you know what, I don't mind. Because it's nothing bad.