The chipper ''Today'' cohost profiles people who've transformed their lives.

By Tara Fowler
Updated January 11, 2013 at 05:00 AM EST

Even the wine-sipping, hair-obsessing cohost of Today‘s fourth hour has her low moments. ”I always think about my life,” she says, ”and when I’m not at a great point I’m like, ‘Oh God, I go to work, I went on a date, and I watched Law & Order. Is that my life, seriously?’ But it is funny how you can make a little change and it changes a lot.”

Change is the theme of Kotb’s new book, Ten Years Later, which tracks the lives of six hard-luck cases: a 9/11 survivor, a woman who dealt with domestic abuse and lost 340 pounds, and others who’ve overcome major obstacles. ”To me it’s a book of hope,” says Kotb. ”If you’re in a real funk, the people in this book were in a worse funk and found a way out.”

It wasn’t easy coaxing out their stories, even for an interview pro. ”They were very reluctant,” she says. ”I totally get it. When I went through breast cancer and I [was interviewed] myself, I remember realizing, Wow, I feel naked. A lot of these people are sharing for the first time beyond their circle. I think most hope whoever reads their story will take something away.”