A Memoir of Disability, Perseverance, and Success
Date Published: June 27, 2023
From being a little girl in a village in China with polio to a tech executive at Apple, Libo Cao Meyers (曹力波) has had quite a journey in life—a journey steeped in rich family legacy and powered by determination, growth, and love. Over the years and the miles, she’s embraced her differences and has allowed no one—including herself—to set limitations on what she’s able to accomplish.
But just because she’s been successful doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Not by a long shot.
Along the way, Libo has overcome challenges as an immigrant in a new country, a person with a disability, a mother, and a woman in the male-dominated world of technology.
In Limp Forward, Libo boldly shares her story—both the hard and the beautiful—so that you may feel seen, be reminded of your inherent value, and find the strength you need to face your own challenges in life.
Every journey is unique, but Libo’s experiences contain insight that connects us all. Limp Forward is a captivating, unbridled exploration of the truths that guide us and shows what is possible when we pursue our full potential.
briefly describe the book?
It’s a Memoir that shared the first 45
years of my life, in which I shared stories of my life that are about
disability, perseverance, and success.
inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always wanted to write a book about
my life to share with those who are underprivileged and are still trying to
fight for their chances in life. Maybe I could just use the beginning of this
book to answer this question so that you know why this book was written.
To those who are underprivileged and invisible, yet still giving
everything to reach their full
potential, with dreams and goals.
To those who have been wronged and undervalued, yet still chasing
relentlessly for what is
right and fair, with faith and confidence.
To those who feel desperate and hopeless, yet still fighting against all
the odds with even a
slim chance of winning, with courage and perseverance.
To those who are fighters and dreamers, believing someday you may reach the
May this book give you the strength and inspiration to limp forward
during your darkest
How do you
make sure the information for your nonfiction books is accurate and up to date?
I’ve made sure every story told in the
book is accurate and best to my knowledge, and I had a great team to keep me
honest and ensure facts were checked. Of course, I started writing this book
back in 2020, so this book covers stories until around 2022.
literary success look like to you?
I think I’ve already reached success in
launching this book by sharing my stories with this world, and I’ve already had
early reviewers told me that this book gave them strength and inspiration by
reading it. Before I wrote this book, I told myself that as long as this book
made one person feel less lonely and gave some strength to that person to move
on with more courage, I’d reach my success.
outline your books beforehand? Why or why not?
Yes, I did, I always plan and set up a
structure of work before getting things started. It helps me to estimate
efforts, measure progress, and see far ahead. Before I started writing this
book, I’ve already had a big folder with all the outlines, materials, notes,
and so many artifacts that I know will be used for this book.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned while writing?
What are some publishing tips?
The most important lesson for me (not
necessarily for others) is that for a Memoir like this, I have to write it
myself in my own voice. I’ve tried to have someone else write it for me by me
telling the stories, however, it turned out to be a waste of my time and I had
to re-write the whole book from scratch, chapter by chapter and just work with
my editors to keep making progress slowly. That’s the only way I know how to
immerse myself into this book and dig all those feelings out as if I was
re-living my life. It was a very intimate experience and I sure hope my readers
will feel that intimacy reading this book.
Since this is my first book, I really
have no publishing tips for anyone. All I know is that there is so much work
associated with publishing a book. I thought before that the hardest part is to
write this book, but O Man there is a lot to it. I’d say definitely put in one
year's worth of work, after the book is written, just to publish it. Definitely
working with professionals in that domain helps, even if it’s a self-published
How do you
make non-fiction interesting and engaging while still being informative?
By telling stories that are unique, real,
and emotional to you. Those stories are all different from everyone’s
perspectives. I found this part easy, because I could read back my book and
feel that immersed feeling, and I am sure my readers would feel that as well.
For example, I shared the early years when I first get to this country as a new
graduate student, and there are so many humorous elements in those stories that
you couldn’t find them anywhere else in this world. There might be similar
experiences but they are not the same. There is also so much information in
this book that will take you back 20 or 30 years, before the internet, before
cell phones, and I definitely believe this book will bring smiles to a lot of
people’s faces as they were reading it.
What is your
favorite part of writing?
That’s hard to pick since I enjoyed
writing each chapter of it. But if I have to pick, I loved the chapter about
how I found my husband, as the 82nd man I’ve dated. That experience
alone can be made into a TV episode of “How I met your father”. I definitely
recommend single ladies out there to read that chapter. It shows how the
scientific mind can help someone reach success. Besides, it was funny as well,
and I see comedy in that.
What do you find
enjoyable or difficult about non-fiction?
Non-fiction is enjoyable because the
materials are already there, so the creation is mostly digging out your own
memory. The difficult part of non-fiction is to have the courage to share and
be willing to face the judgment people would throw at you after reading your
stories. For example, it was very hard for me to share the experience of my
depression that happened many years ago. Partially it was because those are all
very vulnerable moments in my life and were buried deeply that almost nobody
knew about it. It takes so much courage to share my own vulnerability with this
world since I’ve always been a very private person and had almost no social
media exposure before this book. However, I knew clearly that this book is for those
who really needed those stories from someone else so that they could see that
under the surface, we are all the same. Those stories would make people feel
less alone, so it’s all worth it.
topic suggested or was it something you were already interested in?
Throughout my life, many of my friends
have told me that I should write a book. But it took me so many years to get to
this point. In this book, I’ve shared all the challenges in creating it. I do
have to say that without the support from family and friends, I couldn’t have
gone this far.
types of research did you need to do for this book?
I did lots of research on the state of
China during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. I wanted to make sure the world
through my lens is a small reflection of those years. I learned a lot through
that research as well. Unfortunately, those are the years without much
internet, so the resource I could get is very limited.
this book appeal to? What age range would you recommend it for?
I believe this book is for anyone above
25, though some of my friends said it’s for everyone. I do know that my sons,
who are 10 and 12, are not able to finish this book due to its length and lack
of graphics. I think this book is for someone who had already experienced some
adversity in life and wants to seek the same experience from others to give
them strength in dealing with their own journey. Even if for people who are
already having a great life, it would be a fun read, since it's always
fascinating to me in reading about other’s life experiences.
What is your
I don’t know yet, but I usually always
have something lined up. For example, now I am trying to get my black belt in
Karate, training with my exoskeleton legs for a running event, and helping my
dad to edit his book. There is just so much to do in life, and I really don’t
know what’s the next one, but I do know that there is always a lot to look
little bit about yourself. What is your background? What is something people
would be surprised to learn about you?
Well, I grew up in Northern China. I got
polio before I was even one year old. I immigrated to this Country alone when I
was 24 for my graduate degree. I got my PhD and master’s degree in two separate
areas, after less than 4 years in this country. I then started working in
high-tech areas in Silicon Valley in 2004. I am currently at Apple trying to
enrich people's lives by building something great.
Almost all my friends see me as this
strong woman who could do anything, so I think people would be surprised to
know that there are so many things I still don’t have the courage to do — for
example riding a motorcycle. Recently my boys have been laughing at me for not
having the courage to try that, and I am OK with being the regular mom once in
a while for not being able to compete with them on something.
Do you have
a favorite book – fiction or non-fiction? How about one of your own?
I love the book “Born a Crime” by Trevor
Noah, and I encourage people to read both his book and mine, so that they can
appreciate how we are dramatically different, but in many ways very similar as
well in our life experiences.
Do you have
an author website or other platform where readers can find more information
about you and your books?
You can find all my social media links at
my personal website: Libomeyers.com
I will post more on social media, but no
promise, since I could be lazy at times, especially when dealing with social
About the Author
Libo Cao Meyers is a veteran of Silicon Valley’s culture of innovation, a board member, and a high-tech executive at Apple, where she helps build products that enrich people’s lives. Libo grew up in a village in Northern China and was diagnosed with polio as an infant. She did not let her disability quiet her ambition, immigrating alone to the United States at twenty-four and simultaneously completing her MS and PhD at Ohio University in two different engineering fields. From there, she once again put limitations aside and became an athlete by completing a Century Ride—a 100-mile bike ride—despite lingering leg complications from polio. She is proud to be part of the Cao family, which for the last 500 years of its 3000-year history, has kept a family record, each generation striving for more and contributing to a deeply-rooted legacy. She lives in California with her husband, Curt, and their two sons. For more, visit www.libomeyers.com.