Invitation to Joy


Please accept Michael S. Lewis, M.D.'s Invitation to Joy, composed of sixty-eight full color photographs of birds from all seven continents.

"Wonder is the first of all the passions." –RENE DESCARTES

I am astonished by the improbable beauty and enduring mystery of birds.

Birds are miraculous. A European Swift can eat, sleep, and molt on the wing while staying aloft for nearly a year. Bar-tailed Godwits can fly nonstop from Alaska to New Zealand, more than seven thousand miles, in nine days. A Wandering Albatross can glide on its ten-foot wing span, without a wing beat, for five hundred miles. Thick-billed Murres can dive underwater to a depth of seven hundred feet. And, to open nuts they want to eat, Crows use cars as their personal nutcrackers, dropping nuts on the road for cars to crush. To further illustrate their cleverness, and maybe their playfulness, one Crow has been seen sledding down a snowy roof on a plastic lid, then carrying the lid in its beak to the top of the roof to sled down again.

For me, looking at birds evokes a sense of beauty and awe, and even that rare emotion, pure joy. From a boat on the Firth of Forth in eastern Scotland, I watched 150,000 Gannets put on a continuous and elegant aerial display near their home, The Bass Rock, a steep volcanic outcropping. It is one of those routine miracles that nature throws at us. Words that graphically describe this scene belong to Adam Nicolson, who wrote in The Seabird’s Cry: “The air is pulsating with birds, populating the sky like the blizzard in a shaken glass souvenir, and endless, like the creatures of a dream.”

Other examples of pure joy abound. Seeing thousands of Scarlet Ibises during the last hour of daylight converging on their roost site in the Caroni mangrove swamp in Trinidad. Watching a Peregrine Falcon, the world’s fastest animal, spot its prey and then dive-bomb in a spectacular head-first plunge, like a light- ning bolt with feathers, at more than one hundred miles per hour. Or stepping onto a beach on South Georgia Island, 2,500 miles north of Antarctica, and being welcomed by 100,000 pairs of King Penguins.

Sitting on the veranda at Asa Wright Nature Preserve in Trinidad was another occasion filled with joy. Hummingbirds hovered a foot away from my head before whizzing away to per- form more aerial acrobatics, accented with flashes of iridescent blue and green, their wings beating more than 60 times a second.

Sometimes, spontaneously and without warning, these moments become especially joyous and mystical. We feel a sense of wonder. We are immersed in the present moment and feel at one with the world. Abraham Maslow, often described as the father of modern psychology, coined the term “peak experience” to explain such events.

It was a delightful, challenging task finding quotations and aphorisms to accompany the images. I so hope that they engage you and add another dimension to the photographs.

In my travels, accompanied by my wife, to seven continents, I have been fortunate to pursue these marvels of grace and beauty. The photographs in the book are simply those that caught one person’s attention. A clear-eyed photograph captures a bird in one specific moment and makes possible a direct and more prolonged appreciation of its graceful virtuosity. Now I invite you to share in the joy of looking closely at these wonder-generating creatures.

The Himalayan Cataract Project
All the profits from this book are being donated to the Himalayan Cataract Project, an extraordinary organization co-founded by Geoffrey Tabin, M.D., which has been responsible for restoring sight to more than 800,000 people. Their website is

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One World

All proceeds from the book are donated to the Himalayan Cataract Project

Experience the One World iPad App! (FREE!!)


Photography has been a passion, as has travel, for Michael S. Lewis M.D. for 30 years. The result is One World: a View of Seven Continents.

Comprised of 262 magnificent full-color photographs, this book draws viewers into a world of exotic and ordinary places, architectural wonders, vast and small landscapes, people and animals – on land and under the sea.

Each photograph is accompanied by a quotation – sometimes inspiring, sometimes humorous. Always, the juxtaposition of the quote and the photograph is striking. The majority of the images also have a commentary from the author. This contributes to a deeper understanding of each photograph and helps us to better understand our connection to one another. We realize we are all notes in the same grand symphony.

After traveling the world and creating images of his experiences, Dr. Lewis wanted to enable those without sight to view their own surroundings. He is, therefore, donating all of the profits from this book to the Himalayan Cataract Project. An extraordinary organization co-founded by Dr. Geoff Tabin, it has been responsible for restoring sight to more than 200,000 people.

Albert Schweitzer said: “You don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.” Dr. Lewis hopes this book will change how we see our world, imagine it and connect to it. Our brothers are here too.

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Eagle Eyes

All proceeds from the book are donated to the Himalayan Cataract Project


Eagle Eyes is a children’s book about Kofi, an eleven year-old Ghanaian boy who thinks only about soccer and being an international star. Kofi’s parents become extremely concerned about his lack of interest in his school work and lack of concern for the feelings of others. When Kofi’s uncle, an ophthalmologist, comes to his grandfather’s village with his American colleague to perform cataract surgery, Kofi’s grandfather is one of the patients in need of the surgery.

After the operation, Kofi observes his grandfather’s emotion as he sees Kofi for the first time. This experience, combined with Kofi’s hero worship of his uncle, inspires him to apply himself to his schoolwork and greatly increases his empathy with others. He comes to the realization that there is much more to life than soccer.

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Seeing More Colors

All proceeds from the book are donated to the Himalayan Cataract Project


Seeing More Colors takes a fresh look at the teachings of Abraham Maslow, considered by many to be the father of modern psychology.  A professor at Brandeis University in the 1960s (I studied with him there), Maslow’s approach to psychology was simple, yet revolutionary. He studied the people in this world whom we most admire, then described their characteristics.

Among the most important of these qualities are the capacity to shape reality, appreciating the moment, focusing beyond oneself, humor and celebration, and loving and being loved. Using the results of Maslow’s studies as a framework, this book demonstrates -with stories, quotations, and photographs — how each of us can lead a more rewarding life.

Seeing More Colors is illustrated by my travel photographs from seven continents, as well as stories from my work as an orthopedic consultant to the world champion Chicago Bulls basketball team and the Chicago White Sox baseball team. Every page has a story or a quotation which has had a profound influence on me. Since each chapter is a contained unit, the book can be read one chapter, or even one page, at a time.

Seeing More Colors has readers describing it as “a life changer,” “an inspiration,” and “a book that resonates more deeply with each reading.”

Find out how the teachings of Abraham Maslow can help to transform your life.

Seeing More Colors is the perfect gift for any occasion.

All profits from the book will be donated to the Himalayan Cataract Project.

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