Wake Up Running

Wake Up Running Cover-402

Ever Thought About A Career That Allowed You To Work Overseas?

David Egee had to wake up running to live his dream of working and traveling throughout the world. ADHD as a child, Egee suffered through many years of reading and writing impairment. "I was ADHD before the expression became a household word.”

Egee overcame this learning handicap to become the Director of the American Hospital in Beirut at the age of 35, dealing with such Middle Eastern luminaries as Yasser Arafat and Muammar Gaddafi. Later, working out of Dubai, he established hospitals throughout the Middle East (Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran), just before the region exploded.

In the 1980s, he worked for Hospital Corp. of America (HCA) in England, setting up hospitals and nursing homes. When HCA bowed out of Britain, he founded his own nursing home company, eventually setting up and staffing over 50 homes in the UK.

From there, he went on to create and own a number of nursing homes in England, finally selling out at age of 68 and retiring with enough money to take care of himself and his family and live comfortably for the rest of his life.

"Thanks for sending me David Egee's book with the wonderful title, Wake Up Running...  I loved his honesty and the way the book is written — it is so direct and easy to read and it is fascinating to follow his (and Dale's) journey as decisions made, luck, and events take them so far from their beginnings.”

~ Brigid Keenan is an author and journalist. She has worked as an editor on Nova Magazine, The Observer, and The Sunday Times.

JJ Semple on David Egee’s Life Story

"David Egee's life story, Wake up Running, features so many remarkable accomplishments (overcoming ADHD; Middle East career in Libya, Kuwait, Lebanon at a time of international crisis; London-based, UK nursing home principal; Director of the American Hospital in Beirut; childhood in Newtown CT, 40 years before the infamous bloodbath) it's almost impossible to single one episode out. Nevertheless, his touching account of his father's death with dignity is the highpoint of the book for me. You can feel the author's emotions as he narrates an event that turns out to be an insightful forerunner for today's burgeoning call for greater tolerance of the right to die when and as one chooses.

"A marvelous memoir of an extraordinary life — from small-town America to the Middle East, idyllic Provence, and 'cool Britannia'! Both poignant and searingly honest — yet full of humor.”

~ John Andrews was The Economist’s most experienced foreign correspondent.

He has been Deputy Editor of The World-in, West Coast Editor in the USA, Paris Bureau Chief, Washington Correspondent, EU Correspondent, Asia Editor, China Editor, Southeast Asia Editor and Industry Editor.

“David Egee's book, Wake Up Running is a blueprint that shows you how to work, travel, and live overseas. Is it easy? Having lived and worked overseas myself for many years, I know it's not. Part of it is luck, of which, Egee has loads. Everything from becoming the Director of the American Hospital in Beirut at the age of 35 to taking the last plane out of Lebanon with Italian embassy personnel when the Civil War got too hot.

Editions Tilleul author, David Egee's book receives favorable review in The Newtown Bee:

"Newtown resident and Egee family friend Bart Smith feels the chapters about Newtown 'could be of interest to people' who live in town, Mr Smith said. In his opinion, the author succeeded in completing his memoir, 'for the experience. He didn’t do it for money.'

"The job was especially challenging because Mr Egee is dyslexic. He said, 'And, I don’t spell well. It was a challenge, which is why I did it … I survived.' He said, 'My personality and ambition helped me immensely, and my father’s willingness to do whatever it took to get me educated.'

"Chapters in his book make clear the efforts and struggles spanning Mr Egee’s education."

"It wasn’t always easy. Egee faced political as well as social and cultural obstacles. One of the last Westerners to leave Libya after Gaddafi’s militia began hassling foreigners on the street, he was warned not to attract attention so he drove his newly purchased car to the airport, left the keys on the seat, boarded the plane and departed. But in spite of his vanishing overnight, the Libyan government continued to send payments to his company for a hospital he was never able to build!"

The Author on Newtown, CT in the 1950s

"I was raised in Newtown, CT, a small, idyllic New England rural farming community 60 miles from New York City. In the 1950s, Newtown was evolving into a residential and light industry area for middle and upper-middle class people starting new families. There were just enough rich upper class New Yorkers creating “second homes” to give the town an air of exclusivity. It was a Saturday Evening Post magazine-cover community with all the Norman Rockwell characters you can imagine, a far cry from the infamous Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took place there in 2012, 76 years after I was born.

"David was the dumbest student we ever had at the school.”

"By my 3rd year in school, I began to realize that I was not the smartest student in the class. John Verdery, the headmaster of the Wooster School described my deficiency in his book, Partial Recall: The Afterthoughts of a Schoolmaster, 'David was the dumbest student we ever had at the school.’ This refrain was echoed throughout my educational career. Fortunately, Verdery believed in me as a person and acted as one of my mentors.


David Egee stands to the left of the Wali of Nizwah, surrounded by his entourage, 1970

“Later on, I consoled myself in the belief that you don’t need to be too intelligent to be educated, and you don't have to be educated to be successful. You just have to work harder and ‘Wake up Running.' I believe I was genetically attuned to challenges. Education was a challenge – a difficult task, but I got through it.

Three events made Egee's success possible

  1. A casual visit to the American University of Beirut. The construction of a new 400-bed hospital funded by the US government. This would become a center of medical excellence, serving the entire Middle East.
  2. The demand and price for oil throughout the Middle East. Hence, an unthinkable wealth became available for creating infrastructure projects all over the Middle East and North Africa — defense, education, and healthcare being among the highest priorities.
  3. The election of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her privatisation of many infrastructures, including parts of the National Health Service. This allowed me to build and manage private, long-term healthcare facilities throughout England.

"I wrote Wake up Running because it was a challenge and because it was there to write. Once, after I finished telling my daughter about negotiations with Yasser Arafat, my experiences in Libya, and the day that Muammar Gadhafi distributed his ‘Green Book’ to every single individual living in Libya and announced that Libya was now a Jamahiriya (1), she asked me, 'Pappy, why don’t you write these stories down?’ "


Dale and David Egee with children. London, 1980.

"Studs Turkle wrote a non-fiction book in 1974 titled: Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, an entire 640 page book of ordinary people being interviewed about their employment experiences. The book became extremely popular. I imagine that his interviewees enjoyed talking to Turkle and they enjoyed talking about themselves. I am one of those people who, after looking back on my life, I decided that I wanted to talk out loud about it because I believe it will interest other people.

"Having finished writing my story, I now realize that writing a memoir leaves one exposed to criticism — and ridicule — perhaps even to shame. The author, Stephen King, wrote in his book, Stephen King | On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft that if you wanted to write your autobiography you had to '...get right down into the cellar of your life.’ I haven’t pulled any punches or left anything out. From cellar to attic, I stand by my achievements."

(1) The word jamāhīrīyah was derived from jumhūrīyah, which is the usual Arabic translation of "republic". However, Gadhafi intended it to mean ‘State of the masses.’  

© Life Force Books 2017