The Bookseller: How Elizabeth Found Her Road

Bookseller Elizabeth at McNally Jackson book store in Soho, knows what you want to read. Photo: @JoshGosfield

“I am told I taught myself to read before I was 4. I’m the third of four kids in a family where I was loved but not attended to. My earliest memory is being dropped off every Sat morning at the library (while weekly grocery shop happened) and there I read and chose my maximum book stack (10?) for the week. I don’t remember anyone guiding me, so I just worked my way through shelves. First in Kids. And then (because no one told me not to) Adult. My father was an English teacher who is legally blind, and we talked of books from as early as I can remember though we share almost no reading taste. I love books, but just as much, I truly love helping people find the right book. I find shelving soothing. I love digging around to see that a section has all it could and should. New title Tuesday never fails to bring excitement. Thinking about ways to present books so readers find what they want, but also what they might not otherwise discover, is still thrilling.”

Find Your Road is a NEW SERIES we’re excited to share with you, based on our upcoming book. The book is filled with stories and strategies on how to find work you love that pays the bills. Visit us on IG @Camille_Sweeney to see more and share with the community there (in the comments) how you found your road.

The Musician: How Stewart D’Arrietta Found His Road

Australian musician Stewart D’Arrietta plays around the world and back.

“I started learning piano when I was put into boarding school at the age of 6. My first band, I was 14. After studying law, I enlisted in retail management, and at 26, opened my first shop, women’s clothing, young women’s clothing. I’ve always loved women’s fashion. I was a ballsy kid. Over the next 2 years, I opened 7 more shops. But I stretched my capital too far, went broke at the age of 28. I went back to law school. In my last 2 weeks, I was chastised for not being ready to file my conveyance for an imaginary client. Right then I decided the only thing I really enjoyed doing was music. I thought if there’s an afterlife, the only thing that would have relevance in that world would be music.” 

Ever since then, that’s what it’s been about for Stewart—music. One song, one show, one city after another, around the world. When you hear Stewart growl or stomp or smash chords on his keys, you feel every effing step he’s taken. He’s been called an Aussie “national treasure” by critics. (Stewart and Josh – aka my husband – are writing a musical about JFK that’s driving me crazy cause the song they did last week…I can’t get it out of my head!!)

Find Your Road is a NEW SERIES we’re excited to share with you, based on our upcoming book. The book is filled with stories and strategies on how to find work you love that pays the bills. Visit us on IG @Camille_Sweeney to see more and share with the community there in the comments how you found your road.

These Two Hormones Divide Winners from Losers

What our biology primes us for.

Sometimes winning can be as dangerous as losing. Take James Altucher, blogger, podcaster, provocateur and occasional Observer contributor. Rewind to 1998 when Altucher had just sold Reset, his web-design business, for $10 million. With his windfall he set out on a mission to teach the stock market a lesson. His first trade? As he told us, he “poured all of his money” into a software company, the name of which he no longer remembers. But he does remember this: In one hour he made a cool million. That jackpot was proof of Altucher’s genius. And he was primed to keep at it, going mano a mano against the market to make another million dollars every day for the rest of his life.

Continue reading “These Two Hormones Divide Winners from Losers”

The Comeback: How One Entrepreneur Reversed His Fortunes

Pediatrician Michel Cohen founder of Tribeca Pediatrics had a booming business, a best-selling book and downtown NYC celebrity baby cred until the bottom dropped out. How did he get back on top?

NY Observer Pediatrician Michel Cohen Photos by Francesco Sapienza/For New York Observer
Pediatrician Michel Cohen Founder of Tribeca Pediatrics photo by Francesco Sapienza

From the outside, fit and photogenic French-born physician Michel Cohen was on his way to becoming the 21st century’s answer to Dr. Spock. In the early 2000s he ran Tribeca Pediatrics, a smart, hip, high-quality New York City practice that catered to the neighborhood’s smart, hip parents, whose children he saw in his signature quirky medical office — think Pee-wee’s Playhouse meets a Wes Anderson film set. The media loved him and parents appreciated his common sense, low-intervention medical approach to children’s health.

Things were going so well that he opened up another office in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, the healthcare industry was in flux with expanding regulations, upheavals in technology, rising pharmaceutical prices and dramatic cuts in insurance reimbursements. As a result, many doctors were abandoning their private practices to join corporate healthcare clinics and hospitals. (A report from Accenture shows that the percentage of U.S. independent physicians plummeted from 57 percent in 2000 to 33 percent in 2016.) But Cohen, who spent his days biking back and forth across the Brooklyn Bridge, managing his growing practice, seemed to be bucking the trend.

Or so he thought. One morning in 2008, he received a very disturbing call from his bank. “They told me I was $400,000 in debt,” Cohen says. “I was in complete shock.” To make payroll that month he had to borrow $30,000 from a friend.

Our story in Entrepreneur’s Startups Magazine here

To Change Someone’s Mind, Stop Fighting

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What if everything you thought about being
right was wrong? What if the urge to win arguments turned out to be life’s No. 1 killer of dreams? 

But…but…but, isn’t arguing our national pastime?  Continue reading “To Change Someone’s Mind, Stop Fighting”

How to Deal with Us and Them?

One biologist, two prairie voles, some hormones and an explanation. Why we love and hate and what we can do about it.

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Why do we always see the world as Us versus Them when it only leads to cronyism and prejudice and, at its worst, bigotry, war and genocide?

This may sound strange, but it starts with love.

But what is love?

Biologists have some theories. You can read plenty of articles about the neuropeptide oxytocin dubbed with some super-cute nicknames, including “the love molecule” and “the cuddle chemical.” These simplistic, feel-good labels do a disservice to oxytocin, which along with its partner peptide, vasopressin, serve as the hormonal glue that keeps humans and other animals sticking together in couples, families, packs and even nation states.

Continue reading “How to Deal with Us and Them?”

Is Donald Trump the New Hickory?

What can the reign of the 7th U.S. President tell us about the 45th’s?

Andrew Jackson, 7th US President, nickname Old Hickory; Donald J. Trump, 45th US President-elect

A real-estate-rich, thin-skinned, temperamental, yet charismatic celebrity who runs a tell-it-like-it-is political campaign attacking corrupt elites and promising a better life for the common man is accused of being unfit to serve, but after slogging through a mud-slinging campaign, complicated by sex scandals and an electoral college kerfuffle, he shocks the establishment and thrills his supporters by thrashing his more-experienced opponent and winning the ultimate prize—the highest office in the land.

Introducing the President of the United States. . . Andrew Jackson? Continue reading “Is Donald Trump the New Hickory?”

What We Can Learn About Politics from the High School Lunchroom

o-aolcdnMany of us non-Trump voters now feel like victims—underdogs, isolated, helpless, hopeless, anxious and angry, afraid for tomorrow. Our political power seems to have shrunken to the size of a confetti flake never deployed from the rafters of the glass ceiling at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on election night.

So, now that “the mean girl” is heading for the White House, and we’re heading for…we don’t know where—who can we turn to show us a way forward?

Actually, we learned an amazing lesson about how to handle mean girls from 16-year-old Natalie Hampton. Continue reading “What We Can Learn About Politics from the High School Lunchroom”

On the Road: Six New York Times Photographers

From the mouth of an active volcano to a desertous plain that one explorer called, ‘the sort of place one gets into in bad dreams,’ intrepid photographers show us what it’s like to be on the road around the globe.

"I wanted to do a road trip across this place where there seems to be more questions than answers." David Maurice Smith, photographer, for The New York Times Magazine
“I wanted to do a road trip across this place where there seems to be more questions than answers.” Nullarbor, Australia, photographer  David Maurice Smith, for The New York Times Magazine.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there,” wrote Lewis Carroll.

Six New York Times photographers, some of whom I interviewed for The New York Times Magazine, were given the opportunity to get on the road in any destination of their choice.

Continue reading “On the Road: Six New York Times Photographers”

One Designer Fights Destruction with Creativity, Hate with Love

How to respond to tragedy?

Luis Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal. He was 22 years old. I can't stop crying. —J.K. Rowling
[Victim of Orlando nightclub shooting] Luis Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal. He was 22 years old. I can’t stop crying. —J.K. Rowling
In the wake of a mass murder, the images of the victims flicker and fade while the images of the killer fix, as if in some chemical bath, leaving a permanent stain on society. We watch helplessly as the killer’s self-propaganda videos and fire-arm poses outpace and eventually obscure the images of the victims in gentler moments of beauty, joy and love.

Visual artist and designer Rafael Esquer and his studio mates at Alfalfa Studio, want to invert this equation. Continue reading “One Designer Fights Destruction with Creativity, Hate with Love”