My Son, The Novelist

So we were headed to camp last summer and Walter, one of my two 11-year-old sons, decides he’s going to write a novel. He worked on it for about an hour and that, I thought, was that. He came back to it in the fall and worked on it for a half an hour here, 40 minutes there. And then one day he told me it was done. I read it with trepidation. It couldn’t possibly be as good as he hoped it would be. But to my surprise, it was. I say this not just as a proud father but also … [Read more...]

Are Smartphones Hurting Our Kids?

Howard Gardner and Katie Davis, two Harvard educators, just published The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World, which details the depressing inner lives of young people who have been raised on smartphones. They coin the term "App Generation" to define young people who experience life primarily through the apps on their smartphones or tablets. Apps are terrific at solving problems, like how to find Aunt Millie's house or how to find … [Read more...]

The Perfect Valentine’s Gift Is Also A Future Family Heirloom

Roses fade and chocolates last only as long as your will power holds out. But a family heirloom is something that will last for generations and truly showcase your love. And one of the most personal heirlooms you can give is a custom-written memoir of a beloved family member. Whether it’s the history of your sweetheart or a cherished relative, a book about your loved one will preserve their story for many Valentine’s Days to come. What’s more, it’s something you’ll be able to pass … [Read more...]

The Lazy Person’s Guide To Achieving Success So Jaw-Dropping That Even Your In-Laws Will Be Impressed

Here’s the dilemma:  we all want to be fabulous and awesome and just plain astonishing, and we all want to be lionized and revered and honored for our greatness. We just don’t want to have to work too hard to make that happen. So how do you achieve genius status without wearing yourself out? Since I had no idea, I consulted the experts. In Outliers: The Story of Success, New Yorker writer and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell posited that there’s really no such thing as … [Read more...]

Overpaying High-Flying Indie Authors Fails; What Will Those Silly Major Publishers Try Next?

“Where’s my Fifty Shades of Gray?” You could hear disgruntled publishers pounding their desks from one side of Manhattan to the other. They all recognized, even though they didn’t want to put it in words, that their ability to identify the next hot book had withered. Little that they published was selling well. So they had to have a new strategy to find something to bring to market. That strategy amounted to overpaying radically for books from self-published authors who managed to … [Read more...]