Friday, December 25, 2020

Deryck Richardson on Why We Should All Go Play and Get The Ultimate Road Map to Winning the Game of Life

In this interview, Deryck Richardson talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, Go Play: The Ultimate Road Map to Winning the Game of Life.

“As kids, we don’t overthink things.” ~Deryck Richardson

Borders had never much existed for Deryck, even when he was younger, and this was how he got into all the many things he did. As an African-American who grew up in a white suburb, he got acquainted with grunge music, which seemed strange to his relatives in urban neighborhoods, who were not used to “white music.” HIs first job was when he was fourteen years old, working for a “boiler room” organization which called up people to donate money to another organization. He was taught the fundamentals of sales and got “addicted” to commissions, and as he and some others were underage kids, the Attorney General of Ohio shut that down twice while Deryck was there.

Deryck went to school because he was a teenage father and, after dropping once out of college, went back in because he wanted to coach and needed a degree for that. It was then that he realized that, while he wanted to teach, he wasn’t motivated by the idea of working for a paycheck, so he got out of teaching and got into the mortgage business. He made some “big boy” money until the mortgage industry crashed in the early 2000s, then went into insurance, after which he then became a “serial entrepreneur,” owning an insurance agency and a marketing firm which is one of the fastest-growing companies in Columbus, Ohio in 2020, as well as a coffee store and being a community volunteer, author and speaker.

Deryck remarks that he had always been “the leader of the pack,” when growing up, particularly as he was the first in their group to do such things as drive a car and get a job. He had been a sales manager at the age of twenty, which reflected this “knack for leadership,” particularly since he was managing older people.

Deryck’s life experiences are a living testament to the philosophy he espouses in Go Play, noting that, as kids, whenever Mom told kids to “go play,” she didn’t specify what the kids should play with, so the kids were pretty much free to do anything they wanted. This is an attitude that Deryck remarks is something that adults don’t do “often enough,” as adults consider their life experiences and expectations of what they’re supposed to do whenever they select the things they decide to do - which is typical of the “vast majority” of people, in Deryck’s experience. “The go-getters don’t really care what people think,” he says.

Failure and stress, as well as mental health considerations as depression and anxiety stemming from failure, are, in Deryck’s opinion, some of the blocks that keep people from just going out and playing. “If you get knocked down and you’re really determined to succeed at it, you’re just gonna get back up,” he remarks. He also remarks that the people around one are likely to have failed themselves, which leads to their not having faith in one, which means, essentially, that one’s own circle of friends, acquaintances and family are likely not going to enable one to ascend. Deryck admits he feels “different” from those in his immediate circle, and while he has attempted to bring some of these along with him in business, they have decided to not go with him. “If you’re not gonna keep up with me, I’m gonna leave you,” Deryck notes after mentioning that, as he ascends, he no longer expends the energy to “reach down” to help those in his circle. Not allowing others to influence one’s decisions or actions, is, the key to doing what one wants to do, Deryck emphasizes. “They’re not you,” he remarks; “you are the only person who is you in this world.”

Deryck admits that he’s been broke before, has had failed relationships and has failed “a million times.” “I’m lucky because I get hurt all the time,” he remarks, “I get bruised all the time. And if luck means that I get back up again, then I guess I am lucky.” He also notes that luck occurs when hard work meets opportunity, and which is why he continues to put the hard work in and continues to be willing to take on the opportunities that come his way.

Deryck admits that a lot of the concepts in his book are “brand new” concepts, as this is all about setting one’s mindset. The twist here is bringing the reader back to the reader’s childhood, when the reader was seven and immersed in the mindset of just playing, of just doing while not listening to people, rather than failing when others say you fail. In addition, Deryck includes stories from his own life. “If you’re going from level to level continuously, like in a video game, then you’re winning,” he remarks, “you’re continuously improving.” He also made the book a short one, at one hundred pages, as he didn’t want readers to finish it, rather than for a racer to get to “Chapter 7” and then just put it on the shelf, never to be read again. (He’s working on two follow-up books which are, essentially, the other parts of the original, three-hundred page book which he conceptualized.)

Where the book is concerned, Deryck notes that one of the reasons it is relatable is that it can bring the reader back to the state of childhood where everything is possible, as well as that it shows how relevant the concepts are to one’s daily life, thanks to several stories that highlight these concepts. (Deryck then gave the story of the lumberjack who came out of retirement, and commented on how this would apply to everyday life, as well as how two of his present businesses came to reside in the same office, due to his willingness to change directions.)

Where today’s environment is concerned, Deryck remarks that the year 2020 is “an example of why people need to ‘go play,’” remarking that the situation, for him, was one he hadn’t encountered before. He gave the example of starting a vacation with his wife on March 15 of that year, then needing to return on the 16th to coordinate the continuation of his business, as the state of Ohio ordered businesses to close down that day. He had his tech team set things up so that his people could work for home, and he remarks that those were some of “the best decisions I made in a 24-hour period.”

Deryck advises those who have an idea to “act on it.” “What’s the worst that can happen?” Deryck asks, adding that it just might not be as good as it was, and one would still gain some wisdom and knowledge and experience if it doesn’t pan out.

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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Jim Taylor on How to Survive and Thrive When Bad Things Happen

In this interview, Dr. Jim Taylor talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, How to Survive and Thrive When Bad Things Happen: 9 Steps to Cultivating an Opportunity Mindset in a Crisis.

“Look at your life. Look at things that you might want to change. Then take action.” ~Dr. Jim Taylor

Until the age of sixteen, Dr. Taylor was “an underachiever” who sabotaged his own efforts. He did, however, like alpine skiing and decided to be the best alpine skier in the world, which was why he entered a skiing school for ski racers in Vermont. He didn’t work hard in the first two years, and in the summer after those years he realized he needed to work hard at everything he did. This flipped a switch in his mind, and this drove him to becoming an international skier in the years to come. He took up psychology which, and he says: “Psychology chose me.” He then pursued his career in psychology and is now on the path of helping others with the challenges in their lives.

Dr. Taylor has never been driven by fame or money, doing things he is passionate about, particularly by sharing ideas with others. “Writing is a part of my being,” Dr. Taylor also says, adding that, if he doesn’t write about something, he’s not being authentic to himself. His main philosophical objectives are being true to oneself, following one’s passions and being willing to do the hard work. Dr. Taylor also remarks that, if one is driven by fame or work, one might achieve success with it, but there won’t be passion, meaning or joy in doing so. Where he is concerned, fame or recognition follows from doing what one is passionate and joyful in doing.

Where words are concerned, Dr. Taylor notes that these are descriptive of what one is communicating, as well as creating a shared understanding. Where the word, “crisis,” is concerned, he defines it as “a situation or event that arises suddenly, which disrupts lives and threatens the status quo.” Crises also have long-term effects on individuals and groups, and he notes that, psychologically, human beings don’t like the following things:

  • Unfamiliarity
  • Unpredictability
  • Uncontrollability

Crises thus create instability, which threatens the main human need to survive, and trauma, which has physical, psychological and social elements to it. Where the present situation (December 2020) is concerned, Dr. Taylor points out that there are several crises that are presently and simultaneously taking place, creating a “perfect storm of crises:” Covid-19 (both a personal and global health crisis), a global economic crisis, a personal financial crisis for those who have lost their jobs, a political crisis and a climate crisis, each of which are serious in themselves.

Where humans are concerned, humans are, evolutionarily speaking, hardwired to react to crises, but not in the way that the present situation demands, Dr. Taylor notes. Back when human beings emerged, the crises that they faced was an immediate, physical threat, and to resolve this, humans resort to a “fight or flight” response, which is triggered by the amygdala, whose purpose is to filter incoming information as quickly as possible, to create an immediate reaction. Modern crises, he notes, are different, as these are distant and indirect in nature, as well as beyond our immediate control, and require a different response, a different approach, one which employs the human prefrontal cortex, in what Dr. Taylor calls an “opportunity mindset.” The prefrontal cortex is the thinking part of the brain, one of the things of which it does is to weigh risks and rewards in the long term. This enables us to:

  1. create a “can do” attitude (“This is a tough situation, what can we do?”;
  2. be calm and purposeful;
  3. be deliberate and focused in response.

Dr. Taylor refers to the present situation with Covid-19, pointing out that, with an opportunity mindset, humans will focus on what they can do, to help regain control of one’s life; and where Covid-19 is concerned, Dr. Taylor notes that such measures include wearing a mask, staying at home, taking care of oneself (eating and sleeping well, exercising, looking after family and community) in a conscious and deliberate way, and physical distancing. (Dr. Taylor prefers to use “physical distancing” instead of “social distancing,” as we human beings, he points out, need to speak with other people - something which wouldn’t be possible, if “social distancing” were to be strictly followed.)  This, he notes, “takes effort,” but it is possible.

Dr. Taylor also notes that, psychologically, humans like routine, as this creates a sense of familiarity, control and predictability, and that this has been disrupted in the present environment. Social isolation is also harmful to humans psychologically and socially, he remarks, as we are social beings - even moreso  because we need to connect to solve the present crisis. Boredom, which is due to lack of stimulation is something which, he also notes, drives bad behavior, such as having too much screen time or drinking or eating excessively.

Where opportunity thinking is concerned, one should think of the situation as a challenge, rather than a threat, Dr. Taylor says, as a challenge is a situation that can be dealt with, while a threat is something one would want to run away from. Those who can would be advised to reflect and reset, as well as to make changes in their lives, as the old routine might not exactly be the life one wants, and one’s present support systems are designed to support that old routine. Finding something that re-ignites one’s motivation, something which fires one up, is also important where finding opportunity is concerned, as this will get one active, which makes one feel better, rather than withdrawing and doing nothing.

Dr. Taylor notes that a crisis hits one with “a tsunami” of negative emotions, which is why mental health issues - anxiety, depression and the like - have spiked during the pandemic. Doing something to create positive emotions - joy, excitement, fun, meaning - is important to answering the challenge, as positive emotions “turn the volume down” on negative emotions, making one less overwhelmed with what is going on; and positive emotions make one feel better, which has physical, psychological and emotional benefits. Social support and connection is also very important, as such support mitigates stress, and such support could be personal (such as from friends and family) or technical (such as receiving information from doctors who give proper information on what Covid-19 is all about and what to best do about it). Being grateful, according to Dr. Taylor, has been shown in studies to make one feel happier, by giving and receiving thanks.

Where differences in approach are concerned, Dr. Taylor points to the present political leadership in the United States, where some apply the hard-wired solution of “fight or flight” and essentially flee the situation by “sticking their head in the sand,” and where others use the opportunity mindset to get people to thinking about, and doing things, that would best suit and overcome the situation.

Where the present pandemic is concerned, Dr. Taylor notes that we should all stay vigilant; look for ways to make one’s life as good as it can be, given the present situation and mandates given; and don’t get complacent or “fatigued.”

(Those interested in getting in touch with Dr. Taylor can do so at his website,, from where his podcast, “Crisis to Opportunity,” can be accessed.)

Purchase from Amazon: 

How to Survive and Thrive When Bad Things Happen: 9 Steps to Cultivating an Opportunity Mindset in a Crisis by Dr. Jim Taylor

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

James Buckley on Soccer and the Math Behind the Perfect Goal

In this interview, James Buckley, Jr. talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, It’s a Numbers Game! Soccer: The Math Behind the Perfect Goal, the Game-Winning Save, and So Much More!.

“Everybody loves something.” ~James Buckley, Jr.

James has had a “very lucky career,” as he liked writing and sports since he was a child, and feels very lucky to be able to combine both interests in his work. Most of his work, such as biographies, is non-fiction for young readers, and he enjoys telling young people stories about the world they live in. James also loves introducing young people to the sports that he loves, mentioning that young people are just starting to jump into sports, while the adults who have been in it all their lives have a lot of insight into these. The It’s a Numbers Game! series shows how to combine math with a sport, to help kids better understand and enjoy the sports so highlighted.

Where writing is concerned, James jokingly remarks that, whenever he lacks inspiration, he looks at his refrigerator, which has all of his bills attached to this. The reminder of all the bills that need to be paid “cures writer’s block pretty quickly,” he notes. His favorite advice to young would-be writers is to “start in the middle,” and then get on to the end and the beginning later on, as well as writing about the things they are interested in and know about. Writing is something that comes easy to James, and is an activity he enjoys.

James, who started playing soccer at the age of seven, went over the history of the game briefly, going over the establishment of two different kinds of ball games (rugby football and association football) in England, and association football being called “soccer” in the United States, as the game that is presently called “American football” was already popular. He notes that immigrants brought soccer into the United States, and even today, he plays soccer whenever he can. He also shared that, during a recent World Cup, his city hosted a mini-World Cup, and there were enough players to form twelve teams.

James remarks that, when kids talk about sports, they talk about numbers, so math is a natural entry to start a conversation on a sport, adding that math and sports are usually a part of kids’ lives, and that it’s easy for kids to become familiar with math concepts if these are shown within the context of a sport. The book shows the basic math involved with the sport, such as averages and percentages, as well as such physics and geometrical concepts as triangles, vectors and diagonals, as a soccer game involves a lot of this.

Soccer doesn’t have as many statistics as sports like baseball, simply because there aren’t that many data points in soccer, which is a very free-flowing game, compared to other games, according to James, who then gives examples of some baseball statistics. That said, new statistics are presently being added to soccer, to create deeper levels of analysis, thanks to the statistics revolution that is presently taking place in sports. 

James notes that a soccer fan will pick up the book because it’s about a sport of interest, and then learn some math that one didn’t know before, while a math fan will get depth on some things that one would not be familiar with. Soccer has sixteen “Laws of Soccer,” which makes it a simple game to play, and which thus makes its basic easy to learn and understand, and is one of the reasons why it is so popular. The math involved is also easy to understand, compared to, say, baseball, which requires calculus to generate some of its statistics. Soccer thus makes concrete, to an eight-year old, esoteric (to that child) math concepts, as that child can see these play out, every day, in real life, James adds.

James appreciates readers, particularly those who read his books. “Readers make writers’ lives,” he notes.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Melissa dela Cruz on Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy (The Chronicles of Never After 1)

In this interview, Melissa dela Cruz talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her novel, Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy (The Chronicles of Never After 1).

“If you’re a writer, you write for yourself, and you write to entertain yourself.” ~Melissa dela Cruz

Melissa had always wanted to be a writer since the age of eight, and she wrote her first article at the age of 11 on Francine Pascal, creator of the Sweet Valley High book series. Her writing the article opened up the possibility of her being an author at the age of twenty-two, and even as she worked for such companies as Morgan Stanley, she continued to write, with her first published essay coming out in 1996 and with her first published novel (and the third she had written to that date) coming out three years later. She got into journalism as she was advised to create an audience for herself as well as to prove that she could write professionally and meet deadlines. Nowadays, Melissa remarks, there are several ways to create a platform and an audience, due to social media, and authors could always try self-publishing, to get their works out, and that children’s literature has grown in the past twenty-five years.

Melissa’s favorite author is Enid Blyton, who wrote hundreds of books. Melissa, herself, writes for children and young adults, and she remarks that book publishers buy and publish series books in pairs. She writes about four or five books a year, “which is not rare in the children’s book industry,” she notes. Where her process is concerned, she takes “several years” to think about the concept, then focuses on an idea, then creates an outline, from where the drafts are written out, after which the book is edited; and given the way her process works, she can edit several different books at the same time. Melissa does create outlines and does some planning, but in general she wants her stories to “surprise” her, so she allows her stories to grow as these go along. 

Melissa draws inspiration from her experiences, as well as those ideas that interest her. “It’s about which idea can be executed for a book,” she notes. Melissa also remarks that she doesn’t work all the time and writes when “it’s easy,” so she doesn’t get burned out, and this enables her to write out “a lot” in a short amount of time. She also remarks that she’s able to get into her books everything that she wants to put in. “All my jokes are in there,” she remarks. To keep herself fresh, Melissa reads a wide variety of books.

Melissa’s creating stories for young adults comes from her identifying with these, and notes that she, along with other children’s book writers, empathize with kids and teenagers. This also comes out when she visits schools, as she admits that she is “on the side of the kids.” “That’s part of my sensibility,” she adds.

Never After builds from Melissa’s previous work, the Disney Descendants series (where she wrote Disney fairy tales), and puts her own original spin to some of these fairy tales. The main protagonist is twelve-year-old Philomena who enters the Never After world, and thanks to reading about these, she knows more about the worlds than the characters in them do. Other supporting characters also go on the journey with her, and where character development is concerned, Melissa will have “a lot of fun” writing that out.

Where her success is concerned, Melissa remarks that all authors work to become successes, which means that they need to believe that they will do well, and have the drive and the will and the desire to succeed. She notes that authors approach becoming authors in several ways, and that people can become authors at any age, citing the example of her own husband, who became an author in his forties. Melissa also advises one to learn how to handle success, as well as to distance oneself from how well or how bad one’s books are doing in the marketplace. “You have to enjoy the work, you have to like what you’re doing, you have to like yourself as a person,” she advises.

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Monday, December 7, 2020

Nicholas C. Nicholas on How His Novel Pericles and Me: A Novel of International Intrigue Was Based on Real Life

In this interview, Nick Nicholas talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his novel, Pericles and Me: A Novel of International Intrigue.

“If you’re full of life and can laugh at yourself, you’ll get along pretty well overseas.” ~Nick Nicholas

Nick was born in Pittsburgh, as the child of Greek immigrants, who put a lot of stock in education. Nick got a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Physics, and a Ph.D. in Physics and Mathematics. Most of his career was spent working for the United States Department of Defense, and this entailed a lot of travel, such as in the Middle East and eastern Europe. Nick admits that he was interested in different places, and a lot of what he wrote in Pericles and Me is drawn from those experiences.

Early during his career, Nick was an engineering officer in the first simulated Apollo flight, which meant that he wore a pressure suit and did all the tasks that the astronauts would go through during their mission proper. The work gave NASA a good idea of what to expect during the mission, including such factors as fatigue amongst the astronauts.

One of the places Nick went to was Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis requested the National Science Foundation name him the Senior Program Manager for the Middle East. As such, he got to know quite a few high officials, and while he was well-treated, as he was a visitor in a culture that was hospitable to guests, there were some aspects of middle Eastern culture that “perplexed” him. One of the things he noticed was the easygoing willingness (in Western eyes) of those he worked with to delay projects if needed, telling a story to highlight this. He also learned Arabic, and some of his efforts to do so, as he remarked in a story, made him a minor celebrity in the city.

Another place Nick went to was the Ukraine, shortly after the Soviet Union broke up, and his partner suggested they help the Ukrainians decommission their nuclear weapons. The pair went to the main Ukranian diplomatic representative, and their intended original 30-minute meeting extended to three hours, which ended with their being invited to Ukraine to decommission nuclear weapons there, starting about February, 1992. It was also here that he met a three-star general who told him that the Soviet Union was terrified of the United States’ nuclear arsenal, stating that, if the Soviet Union, which cared only about winning and not about how many people would actually die, had the same numbers in their nuclear arsenal that the United States did, they would be the ones to launch a first-strike nuclear attack. It was also here that he befriended a man who was assigned to follow him around, and that man, who was just trying to do a job, became his adviser.

Nick also was in Germany, working on the Pershing missile system to tweak these to be better effective against the Soviet missiles that were then pointed against Western Europe. The United States had 600 nuclear armed missiles in Western Europe at that time, and it was also while he was in Germany that Nick was approached by a spy and approached to be a spy for the Soviets. Nick promptly reported the contact with security, which ended that situation.

Nick was at a meeting where the cost of nuclear strikes was analyzed, and it helped when he thought of casualties in terms of stadiums full of people, to bring the full impact of such strikes home. He also noted that it was President Regan who supported the nuclear arms race that kept the Soviet Union in check until its economy collapsed, with the Soviet Union being disbanded on December 31, 1991.

“There are a lot of true events in this,” Nick remarks about Pericles and Me, “and I challenge readers to separate the true events from the fanciful ones,” particularly because some of the most “outrageous” things were true. One of these events was when he and his partner spent a night in an insane asylum because they couldn’t find hotel accommodations. Writing the novel was actually a cathartic act for him, as some of the things that he saw and experienced during his career bothered him, such as the disjunction between what was actually saw, on the ground, and what American higher-ups believed what was going on. He just “started writing,” with no plot outline, and it took him three months to write 400 pages, with an ease of flow that surprised him greatly. He then had it reviewed, edited and published, and the resulting story has several facets in it, as well with most of the characters in the book being based on people Nick actually knew. He found writing a novel to be more “relaxed” compared to writing technical papers, and he found the advice he learned from one of his college professors - “By God, you’re going to be able to write simple declarative sentences” - to hold true when it came to diplomatic conversations, as different languages have different nuances, which result in a lot being lost in translation.

The device of using Pericles was a way Nick used to compare present and past history, particularly since the Athenians did a lot of things that the United States did, where foreign policy was concerned. One such parallel was the Athenians sending a fleet on a friendship visit to the Black Sea to quell some restive natives there, and the United States sending their Great White Fleet to the Pacific to show that the United States was interested in protecting their territories there. Where using Pericles was a plot device is concerned, one of Nick’s editors wanted him to bring Pericles in gradually, but after giving Pericles’ initial introduction into the story to two of his grandchildren to read, he decided to keep the introduction as it was, as his grandchildren liked it.

Nick acknowledges that he’s “not F. Scott Fitzgerald,” but since the story of Pericles and Me is entertaining and reasonably humorous, “that is good enough for me.” He is presently working on two books, How I Won the Cold War and I’m Not a Greek, I’m from Pittsburgh, with the latter playing on the dual cultures that most Americans have, with one part of their culture being American and the other being the ethnic group that they descended from.

Purchase from Amazon: 

Pericles and Me: A Novel of International Intrigue by Nick Nicholas

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Susana Stoica on Healing with a Loving Heart

In this interview, Susana Stoica talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Healing with a Loving Heart: Discover the Power of Energy Healing.

“Keep healthy, look for alternatives and help others to help yourself.” ~Susana Stoica

Susana had always been interested in how the brain works, and she had the option of being either an engineer (her father was an engineer) or a doctor. One of her cousins was a doctor, as it turned out, and after an experience where she learned that being a doctor was, according to her cousin, all about “cut people into pieces,” she decided to become a computer design engineer. The latter was close to her interest in discovering how the brain works, and her thesis was on computer systems which mimic the brain’s neural cells, at a time when research on this particular aspect was in its infancy.

It had been decades later, while Susana was working on neural computer design, that her husband became so ill that he likely needed hospitalization. As was typical of European males, according to Susana, he resisted going to a hospital, so she took up a healing course, during which time her hands acted on their own while she was healing on someone. The person she was working on at the time wound up being recovered from a long-term illness which her doctors couldn’t solve. This incident actually scared her off healing for a time, but she later returned to doing so after she healed her son of a tumor. The doctor who looked over her son’s tests told Susana that such healing “doesn’t happen,” and after learning about what she did, the doctor began recommending clients to her.

When Susana moved from her native country of Romania to Michigan, she worked with doctors to diagnose the illnesses some patients had. One of the things she helped out with was helping the doctor figure out what came first, as proper medical treatments do rely on such information. Susana could see the “timestamp” of the sequence in which the particular conditions appeared, and this helped the doctors heal their patients that much faster.

“Healers don’t actually heal,” Susana remarks, adding that everybody is born with an energy field that radiates from within the physical body and surrounds the latter. This field is what enables the “healing” of the physical body, and due to stresses and traumas in life, the energy field doesn’t work properly. Healers thus balance the energy field, which allows the body’s physical healing properties to work. Healers either see the energy field or, in Susana’s case, feel it with their hands. That said, Susana can, on occasion, see the body and its organs, and she first checks the person’s present energy field, particularly its combinations of frequencies. She then can sense the differences in an energy field where the body is injured, such as a missing part of the energy field where a bone is broken or heat over an inflammation. Susana also mentions that, when a person is sick, the frequency of that person’s energy field vibrates at a lower frequency than usual, and which thus means that that person has less energy available for their recovery.

Susana notes that, in children, the vibration of energy is particularly strong, so a single healing session is usually enough to heal that child. For older people, such as adults, the concern, when healing, is when the body accepts an existing injury as part of its “new normal” of being in a healthy state, and thus maintains that injury. The healer thus works to nudge the field back to its previous, uninjured state, one prior to the “new normal.”

Diagnosing by using energy healing is more sensitive than present technological equipment, Susana notes. She then explained a case where she worked with a young woman who had a bruise in her brain, one which MRI equipment didn’t detect. Susana’s healing efforts enabled the woman to have children, which she couldn’t have been able to do with the medications her doctors had given her.

One of Susana’s reasons for writing Healing with a Loving Heart was to inform people that there is still hope for healing even when modern medical technology essentially judges that there is no way to heal. Susana then remarks that she has worked with ALS cases (which is a condition when neural connections are broken) which aren’t traditional ALS cases, such as metal poisoning or a severe imbalance in the body’s trace minerals, which was what happened in an ALS case that was referred to her. Another of Susana’s reasons was that she wanted to pass on the knowledge she had accumulated, so that, once she passes on, it will be available to others.

An interesting aspect of her book is that, at the end of each chapter, there are suggestions given to people for them to ask their doctors, so the latter can better diagnose whatever condition they have. She also notes that anyone can use this energy to heal and to energize themselves.

Where the present (at the time of the interview) concern with Covid-19 is concerned, Susana remarks that Covid-19 didn’t appear to her like any illness she had encountered. She remarks that, with such illnesses as flu, whatever the variant, the same part of the energy field will be affected, but with Covid-19, the virus attacks the weak parts of the body, and this will likewise be reflected in the energy field, which means that the weaknesses in the energy field, caused by Covid-19, will vary from person to person. The virus, at the start, was highly virulent, but at the moment it’s less so, being more like the seasonal flu. That said, it could be taken in through an exchange of bodily fluids, so proper hygiene measures need to be taken to not get it, such as wearing masks and washing hands. Keeping in touch with others is likewise important in resisting the virus, and technology helps out greatly here, as is breathing clean air, since viruses and bacteria do not like oxygen.

Susana recommends that one should look for alternative doctors or alternative health practitioners, if a doctor says that one cannot be healed, as they might be able to help. She also recommends helping out others whenever possible, as doing so would be good for one’s own energy as well as for the person being helped.

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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Dr. Mark Schillinger on Young Men's Ultimate Weekend (YMUW) Adventure Camp

In this interview, Dr. Mark Schillinger talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his workshop, Young Men's Ultimate Weekend.

“Go out of your way to listen to what they are trying to say.” ~Dr. Mark Schillinger

Mark grew up in Queens, where “everybody could hear everybody else,” in a family that had a history of depression and suicide. He thus turned to ways to manage the stress he felt, which took him on a path to exploring spirituality. This led him to a yoga center in Manhattan, and an even deeper exploration of Eastern philosophy and spirituality which led him to a career as a chiropractor. He even studied quantum physics, as he says that “quantum physics is spirituality,” given that the two describe the same reality and perceive reality similarly - something which helps him with his work as a life coach, enabling his clients to create a different perception of what reality is.

Mark moved to California from New York and hurt his back while working in a bakery. He found the experience of working with a chiropractor to heal his back fascinating, and this led him to becoming one. As a chiropractor, Mark delved into the nervous system, which he remarks is something which what chiropractor works with, as every cell in the body is connected to a nerve. The job of a chiropractor is to loosen up the body so that the nerves could work properly, and from there the body to likewise work properly; and this knowledge was what helped him out when he was having some problems with his own son’s nervous system. His work with the nervous system was also what got Mark into working in stress management, focusing on the neurology of that concern, to the point that he is now a registered instructor who can help clients relax.

Mark notes that all people love to connect and need people to connect with every day. Where the present pandemic (Covid-19) is concerned, Mark notes that humans are “innately wired” to know how to deal with such pandemics, given that such are a feature of human history, but that the present culture and societal setup doesn’t allow for the connection and relaxation necessary to deal with it. Mark’s work thus involved first teaching people how to relax, and then connecting with their own, personal values to consequently equip them with the tools and routines necessary to live their life in such a way that they can handle the stresses they encounter.

The Performing Stars of Marin was the first non-profit organization that Mark got involved in. It was set up to help primarily underprivileged children develop their artistic and creative skills, which he points out is necessary for them to handle the demands that their culture will place on them.

The Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend was conceived by Mark as a way to create a “rite of passage” for young men. He notes that this is important nowadays, given all the distractions that are available today, as young men lose their natural drive to strike out and be their own man. This also helps parents help their children lead into the young adult world at that time of the latter’s lives (12 - 14 years old) when they start to “tune out” their parents and work things out for themselves. Such developing kids need to live in a community that reinforces that their parents know what they are talking about, where lifetime values are concerned, so that the kids can become responsible and capable members of the community, while simultaneously discovering who they are and realize that the universe doesn’t revolve around them.

As an example of a rite of passage he observed, Mark cites the example of a rite of passage he observed in a small Samburu tribe in Kenya. Although he wasn’t told the details of the rite of passage, he observed that the result was that the young men of the tribe were proud to be the protectors of their tribe, to be the ones responsible to ensure their tribe was safe and secure, and proud to offer their skills to the community and its well-being. The purpose of a rite of passage, Mark notes, is to allow parents to release their children into the community, so that the latter takes care of them and reminds them of their various responsibilities. Establishing such, Mark adds, creates a calmer, safer and more cooperative community - something which is lacking in present culture, Mark notes, resulting in young men feeling isolated and alone and, from there, creating “all sorts of wacky stuff” about what their role in the world is. Such young men, he adds, are usually good young men who lack leadership, more than anything else. Mark also remarks that, if young men feel respected, and if the proper respect is given to them, then the young men will respond by respecting themselves, rather than regarding their elders with hatred and distrust, which results in those same young men acting out destructively and aggressively.

Mark also does rite of passage activities for parents, pointing out that, in today’s society, parents themselves are under so much stress that they need to learn how to let go of their son as a boy and relate to him with respect as a young man. He notes that parents need to have the skills available to relate with their son, and learn how to create an atmosphere of respect, and Mark notes that his training is based on consequences, which parents and young men alike appreciate, after which he gave an example of how a pair of modern-day parents learned enough skills which enabled them to deal calmly with a temperamental son whom they would otherwise have dealt angrily with.

Where modern-day devices are concerned Mark also notes that these create an atmosphere of instant gratification, rather than getting in touch with their drive to succeed in the outside world, contrasting this with how kids, fifty years ago, lived. The “old ways” no longer work, and he adds that young men who know how to bring their gifts and talents into the community, and who know how to be at peace with themselves, to be true to themselves and know who they are, are more likely to contribute to their families and communities.

Where the Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend is concerned, the highlight is when the participants undertake an intense event called “Letting Go of the Boy,” where the participants release all their past pains, hurts, disappointment and anger in their lives to date, after which they are happier and more relaxed and more aware that they need to be responsible for their own well-being. This is followed up, a few hours later, by a sweat lodge event where they learn to relax, trust their intuition and be connected with something that is bigger than they are. Mark notes that a quarter of those who participate totally get what the rite of passage is about, and a quarter of those who participate don’t, although the seeds of future growth are planted in them, with the remainder falling somewhere between the two extremes. He remarks that the way the participants greet their parents at the end of the course is different from the way they would have greeted them at the start of the workshop.

Mark would advise people who see any young men to consider that these are the future, and to greet them and know that they have been seen to be friendly and worthy of respect. He also recommends that people interact with young men with respect, and they will become those that society needs.

How to contact Dr. Schillinger:


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens Paperback by Sean Covey 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sandy Tolan on His Book, The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East

In this interview, Sandy Tolan talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East.

“The idea of reaching out to someone else who’s not like you and seeing what’s possible, I think, is a powerful message for our time.” ~Sandy Tolan

Sandy was a big fan of the Green Bay Packers, and his childhood fantasy was to be an announcer for that team. As he grew up, however, he became interested in covering issues and telling stories in the voice of the people telling them. He then became a freelance journalist, traveling to such places as Latin America and the Middle East, and has been to the latter region twenty times in the past two decades or so. Sandy is particularly interested in the way indigenous people are connected to their land, as well as the way outside forces have competing claims for such land, giving the example of the Navajo people being forced off their land because a profitable seam of coal lay beneath it. He is also particularly interested in how the lives of those who should have benefited from the natural resources in their lands actually being impoverished, and along the way learned a lot about power and the abuses thereof.

Sandy is also a professor, teaching journalism in the University of Southern California, and for him, the draw of doing so is teaching the next generation the tools of storytelling, so they can share the stories that they come across in the best way possible. He notes that he comes from the school of journalism that is all about “narrative non-fiction,” which is essentially telling a real-life story while sticking to the rigors of good journalism, such as accuracy and fairness. Sandy believes that, if one cannot tell a story well, one’s work will blend with the background, so to speak. He also mentions that humans, as social animals, have always loved to tell stories, which connect us with fellow humans as well as create empathy and understanding.

Where the present situation between Israel and the Palestinians is concerned, Sandy remarks that the basis of the conflict is that of control over land, rather than over religion. The conflict is a relatively modern one, and it has its roots in the 1890s, when the political Zionist movement was formed, and whose leader main leader and movement’s founder, Theodor Hertzl, campaigned for a Jewish homeland, as Jews weren’t particularly welcome in Europe. He considered several different places, such as Uganda, Argentina, the Sinai Peninsula and Alaska, but the popular choice became that of Palestine, which was then under British rule. Impetus for Jewish settlement in Palestine was given by the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which stated that Jews have a right to their own homeland, in Palestine. Jewish emigration to Palestine then increased over time, particularly after Hitler’s oppressing the Jews, and tensions began to rise, as the Palestinians didn’t, after all, want to be expelled from the land that they had lived in for generations. When the state of Israel was created in 1948, the Palestinians, expectedly, resisted living as a minority in a Jewish state. This was what sparked off the First Arab-Israeli war, which ended with 750,000 Palestinians being driven out of their homes and towns; and it was this which well and truly began the high state of tensions that exist to this day.

The Oslo Peace Accords were declared in 1993, as an attempt to ease tensions, and in this agreement, the Palestinians compromised and agreed to stay in only part of the lands and homes they had been declaring as theirs for them to return to in the past few decades, despite the Israelis destroying some 400 villages specifically so that such return wouldn’t be possible. Despite that, Israel continued, over the subsequent decades, to colonize the lands that were supposed to be for the Palestinians, according to this agreement, which resulted in the Palestinians essentially being subjected to occupation in their own territory, with Sandy giving the example of Palestinian school children needing to pass through multiple checkpoints just to get to and from school from their homes.

The Lemon Tree stems from Sandy’s attempt, in 1998, to find a way to present the situation from the point of view of different people, who identify with their own sides and situations, to provide an alternative point of view, in the United States, of the establishment of Israel as a heroic event. His search for such a story led him, after several interviews, to that of a single house which had two owners, with the original house being built by a Palestinian who became a mayor of the village that it was in. The Palestinians were expelled from their house when Israel had been established, when the son of the house’s owner, Bashir al-Khairi, was only six years old. A Jewish family from Bulgaria settled into the house when one of the family’s daughters, Dalia Ashkenazi, was still a baby; by that time, the lemon tree that had been planted in the house’s garden was already bearing fruit.

It was shortly after the 1967 war when Bashir and two of his cousins were able to cross into Israeli territory, drawn by their desire to know when they could return to their own homes, to see what had become of these. Meanwhile, Dalia had wondered what had become of the previous owners of the house her family had moved into, and when Bashir arrived, and when Dalia greeted him, she recognized who he was and that he could provide some of the answers to her questions. Bashir asked to enter and see his father’s house, and Dalia let him in, which started a friendship which was somewhat rocky at times, with the most obvious one being the fifteen years that Bashir had been incarcerated for supposedly being involved in a supermarket bombing that killed three people, but which lasted for decades.

It was after Bashir had gotten out, and after their reconnecting and reestablishing their friendship, Dalia began wondering what to do with a house which, by legal right, was hers alone, after her parents had died, but which she considered to be owned by both hers and Bashir’s family, and after speaking it over with Bashir, Dalia turned the house into a daycare facility for Arab children living in Israel. Sandy notes that this is significant, given the present situation, and also remarks that, so long as there are no major structural changes in how those in authority deal with the situation, it is only a rare and small indicator of what can be done.

Purchase from Amazon: 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Wendy Teasdill on Integrating Philosophy in Yoga Teaching and Practice

In this interview, Wendy Teasdill talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Integrating Philosophy in Yoga Teaching and Practice: A Practical Guide.

“At the end of the day, I think we find our own path.” ~Wendy Teasdill

Wendy began her involvement with yoga to help her deal with her hepatitis, which required her to undertake a lifelong regimen of rest and proper diet. As she was an active person, she got into yoga through pranayama, which are specific breathing exercises intended to enable one to tap into, and accumulate, cosmic energy. 

Wendy then investigated Iyengar yoga, which is yoga developed, practiced and taught by a man named B. K. S. Iyengar, who had gotten into yoga to improve his own health. Iyengar yoga involves precise approaches to the asanas, long holds and a lot of discipline which reflected Iyengar’s own being a hard taskmaster. Wendy did get a lot of training and a firm foundation in yoga discipline and training, but when she got pregnant, Iyengar yoga didn’t entirely work for her, so she developed her own, personal style. This was because Iyengar yoga, like most yoga that were first brought to the West, were “very masculine,” as these were designed for male bodies, and not all of Iyengar yoga applied to female bodies, particularly pregnant female bodies. Wendy notes that people should follow Iyengar’s example, but to not necessarily all of the methods taught and develop their own, personal style.

Where yoga during pregnancy is concerned, Wendy notes that the more challenging poses shouldn’t be practiced. As an example, Wendy mentioned how the downward dog pose caused her to throw up, and why, and instead focused on doing the cat position instead. Wendy also mentioned that, due to the influx of progesterone in the pregnant female body, some challenging yoga poses might be easier to do, as the pregnant female’s body is more flexible. Wendy does not recommend that one do such challenging positions, as once the progesterone is gone, one could end up with overstretched and damaged ligaments and tendons, which could result in pelvic problems and vertebrae going “out of whack.”

Wendy has always liked writing throughout her life, so writing books seemed natural to her. She has written all her life, and writing books were as much for herself as these were for others. Where Integrating Philosophy in Yoga Teaching and Practice is concerned, Wendy hopes that all yoga practitioners can get something from it. The book itself contains the answers to the questions that she had when she started out in yoga, trying to make sense of the rationale and the philosophies behind it. Where the philosophies are concerned, Wendy focuses more on the philosophies defined in yoga itself, rather than Cartesian dualities which, she notes, are integrated into the structure of the English language. She points out that the mind-body connection is a recent concept in Western philosophy, whereas this could be thought of as being a part of one of yoga’s main philosophies, which is that “All Is One.” (The other main philosophy is the separation of the divine from the worldly.)

Wendy points out that the word “yoga” means, “to unite,” and that the poses that are associated with yoga weren’t originally part of the practice. These physical exercises became part of yoga practice later on, to the point of their becoming a dominant aspect of the practice, and are intended to help unify one’s mind, body and spirit. Wendy also notes that there are several different styles of, and so many approaches to, yoga, which are intended to suit different natures, and that creation, maintenance and destruction are the modes of nature, with each person having personality traits in each of these modes.

Where contemporary issues are concerned, Wendy believes that people can get insights and answers to questions, sometimes to the point where the questions disappear, and doing so requires practice. She points out that the questions asked are strongly influenced by one’s background, social conditioning, one’s friends and the media around, and that yoga takes one to a place where things are not conditional, enabling a different take, insight and approach. Yoga, Wendy remarks, enables one to find points of rapport rather than separation, and the information in the book enables one to get a stepping stone to understanding. Wendy then gives an example of how focusing on the pelvis can help one progress in one’s understanding.

“It’s an endless journey,” Wendy remarks where life is concerned. “We each have to make it for ourselves.”

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Saturday, November 7, 2020

Paul Schulte on the Race for 5G Supremacy: Why China Is Surging, Where Millennials Struggle, & How America Can Prevail

In this interview, Paul Schulte talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book which he co-authored with Austin Groves, The Race for 5G Supremacy: Why China Is Surging, Where Millennials Struggle, & How America Can Prevail.

“If you’re gonna compete, compete!” ~Paul Schulte

Paul is presently a Senior Fellow at a Chinese university and the Singapore University of Social Sciences, and used to be a Senior Fellow at Hong Kong University and at Tufts University in Boston. He has also been teaching MBA students for the past twenty years or so, and has been involved as a researcher and a research analyst with such companies as Credit Suisse, ING, Nomura and the China Construction Bank.

The idea behind The Race for 5G Supremacy is: what would it take for the United States to create an “Apollo Program” so it could catch up with China in 5G implementation? Paul’s digging into the program, along with co-author Austin Groves, brought up sociological challenges that need to be addressed for such a program to be successfully implemented. According to Paul, millennials have high levels of anxiety and depression, and a proportionately large number of them are dropping out of employment with Fortune 100 companies, which are the ones who are in the best position to launch 5G technology.

The Apollo Program came out of the United States’ national drive to win the so-called “space race,” placing a man on the moon before any other nation - particularly the then-Soviet Union - did. This involved not only technologically related companies but also the public funds necessary to develop the aspects of the program for which there were not yet any technologies or solutions available. The three main aspects of the Apollo program which are still presently influencing the world today are:

  1. The development and present deployment of intercontinental ballistic missiles
  2. Technological innovation, with companies born out of the program, such as Intel
  3. A massive PR drive which showed the world that “America can,” which caught the imagination of the world and developed American soft power throughout the world

China didn’t have a legacy technological infrastructure that relied in copper, which meant that they could start from scratch, rather than deal with established interests which would want to keep the old technology viable. This meant that their movement into digitizing the physical world, using such technologies as the Internet of Things (IoT) and creating technologies to handle and process the enormous amount of information necessary to analyze peoples’ movements as well as how to operate cars, buildings, traffic and to create smart cities.

One example of an existing Chinese technology is the Super App, which is one, single application which a user can use to do such things as paying fines, borrowing money, dealing with the government, getting a wedding certificate, buying insurance, reserving at a restaurant - the things that people in other nations can do only by physically going to such places. Paul notes that none of the present Western tech companies created such systems. “You ever heard of Google Pay, or Amazon Pay?” Paul asks. “No, because there isn’t.”

Paul notes that China is years ahead of all other nations in such technologies as quantum space technology, digital currency, autonomous car research, smart cities, among others. By comparison, the American Federal Reserve is only now starting to venture into digital currency (which China has been doing for six years), Facebook is now only starting to venture into digital blockchain currency (which Alibaba has been doing for fifteen years), and China’s been working on smart cities for at least four years. Tesla is the only Western company conducting research on autonomous cars, compared to several Chinese ones. China has also rolled out 5G in several cities, placing them a few years ahead of the United States.

Paul notes that technological companies are the ones who are in the best position to benefit from rolling out such technologies as 4G and 5G. “If you create the rail, companies will go on the railroad,” he analogizes. Because China has the first-mover advantage with 5G, Paul opines that the United States is presently blocking China’s implementation of 5G in other countries to buy time for the United States to catch up.

5G allows for far speedier data transfer - ten to twenty times faster - than what is available with 4G systems, using equipment that is physically far smaller than what is presently being used in 4G systems. Paul notes, however, that the average consumer might not be willing to pay extra so he or she can download an entire movie within a few seconds, so the ones who would greatly benefit from this would be such organizations as logistics companies and cities, and would be used for such things as managing traffic, as 5G enables processing of a large amount of data, such as that gathered where all kinds of human movement are concerned. Companies and organizations that would be able to make the most of 5G will be port companies, taxi companies and urban planning organizations, just to name a few. Paul also notes that China has put up 50,000 5G stations across that nation, covering 80% of China, creating connectivity with even some of the most rural areas.

One of the sociological aspects involved creating a technological “Apollo Program” is the belief that China has stolen all the technology it presently uses, rather than recognizing that they have innovated a sizeable amount of their presently working technologies. This belief creates the mindset that the United States is a victim and that China must be punished, which also creates an antagonistic atmosphere that hinders innovation. He also points out that pushing the idea that government is all bad will get the United States “nowhere,” because the government has to be involved, in the same way the United States government was involved in the Apollo Program.

Paul notes that several events have made their mark on the mindset of millennials (which is the cohort of the population born from 1980 onwards), some of which are:

  • Oxycontin (Oxycodone) being launched in the United States, which started off the present opioid crisis, one of the results of which was parents being addicted while their children were growing up (1996)
  • The Asian financial crisis (1998)
  • The Columbine massacre, which was the first of the many school shootings which still continue to this day (1999)
  • The September 11 attacks launched by al-Qaeda, which brought down World Trade Center Towers 1 and 2, as well as damaged the Pentagon (2001)
  • The Iraq war (2003)
  • Hurricane Katrina, which brought an awareness of the potential destruction that could be caused by climate change (2005)
  • The global financial crisis of 2007, which was when people started to lose faith in the financial system
  • The largest percentage of population in the United States, to date, which is presently incarcerated

These events, and others, have “traumatized” the millennial generation, creating in them the mindset that institutions cannot be trusted and in governments that deny climate change - and it doesn’t help that millennials likely know someone who is addicted to opioids or who has been incarcerated. This mindset is the reason that millennials don’t like to work for Fortune 500 companies, particularly since they are likely to leave the company the moment they see something that isn’t right.

Paul notes that there are several workshops in the book, several of which are two-page workshops, which can be used to enable communication between millennials and their corporate bosses, pointing out that corporate America needs to redo the way they handle millennials. He also points out that the MBA program methodology, as well as the present HR function in companies is 50 years old and “anachronistic,” that the general teaching pedagogy needs to be aligned with millennials’ needs and that the issues around drug addiction needs to be addressed, to name a few things. One example of a workshop in the book is how to interview millennials, and that pay scales need to be re-evaluated, particularly since millennials have a better grasp of technology than any boss that they might have in the company.

Paul remarks that, if someone who is presently working in a company thinks that the way a company is doing things is “stupid,” that person should get around five other people, leave the company and set up their own company, using their better system, and “make a lot of money,” as companies aren’t going to change on their own. Paul remarks that this is a reality, adding that he has worked with banks who have paid lip service to changing their systems for decades and which have, de facto, not changed.

Purchase from Amazon: 

The Race for 5G Supremacy: Why China Is Surging, Where Millennials Struggle, & How America Can Prevail by Austin Groves & Paul Schulte

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Sharkie Zartman on Winning at Aging & Staying Fit, Free, and Loving Your Retirement

In this interview, Sharkie Zartman talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Win at Aging: How to Stay Fit, Free, and Love Your Retirement!

“We have been given the gift of time.” ~Sharkie Zartman

Sharkie is a former member of the USA volleyball national team who has, since then, become a member of the Hall of Fame in three different organizations and has coached different teams to two state and one national title. “This is exactly what I wanted to do,” Sharkie remarks of her athletic experience, adding that knowing how to train and take care of one’s body is important. She adds that she didn’t think that much about nutrition when she was starting out, and notes that this was at a time when the research on the power of food was yet in its infancy. Sharkie has, since then, studied up on nutrition and now has a good grounding on which foods can help one get to one’s physical goals.

Writing books are an extension of her teaching, Sharkie notes, adding that she started out because she needed textbooks for her courses and couldn’t find the right ones which would fit what she taught. Sharkie decided to focus on ageing because she realized the “poor attitude” present society has towards ageing. “Ageing is inevitable, but we can control how we age and the rate at which we do so,” she remarks, adding that her work involves changing people’s perceptions about ageing, particularly now that the senior population is increasing. Writing books on ageing also is a way for her to help seniors live their senior years productively and more positively, as she notes that seniors feel that they can’t do what they want to do, and use the excuse that they’re too old to not do that. Sharkie, however, points out that there are people today, in their 70s and 80s, do the same things that people in their 20s and 30s do. “We can control our choices and attitudes, and that’s huge,” she remarks. “And I want to remind people of that.”

“Exercise isn’t optional, as we get older,” Sharkie remarks, noting that our bodies and brains need to be active and mobile, adding that activity increases the amount of oxygen the brain receives. “Ageing is an individualized process,” she notes, adding that, if one wants to live to the fullest in one’s senior years, then one has to step up and be active and empowered.

Where Win at Ageing is concerned, Sharkie looked at athletes as well as such aspects as nutrition, and analyzed the mindset these athletes had. She thus came up with the acronym RAP, which are important attributes for anyone trying to reach their goals. These attributes are:

Resiliency - not getting upset and down and complaining, stepping up and doing what needs to be done

Accountability - being responsible for one’s own choices, particularly when some of the symptoms that come up when one ages could be due to the decisions one made in the past

Passion/purpose - that which makes one want to live life, as well as looking at what’s positive in life

“Our quality of life is our responsibility,” Sharkie remarks, where wellness is concerned, “because doctors can’t be with us all day.” Where the mind-body connection is concerned, “this is huge.” Sharkie, for her part, focuses on the mental, physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of ageing to enable her clients and students to lead active senior lives, using the story of a person who got into an experimental cancer drug study as an example of how powerful the mind-body connection actually is. This connection, Sharkie notes, might not give people “everything,” but it does give people the opportunity to live the best lives they can.

Sharkie admits that the spiritual aspect is probably the most important part of how to live a fulfilled life. This is also the most difficult aspect to teach, as a lot of people believe that they need to be religious to be spiritual, and she best links this up as spirituality being part of the human experience. She recommends some sort of yoga or meditation to get in touch with one’s inner self, and staying away from watching the news, as the latter “is depressing.”

One of the things people can do immediately, to lead active senior lives, is to make oneself a priority, Sharkie notes: “Hey, whose life is it anyway?” Sharkie also adds that one should realize that one is in charge of one’s life, and that one can pick one’s own team, which includes those people whom one would want to be around - a good social network, in short. “Psychic vampires,” who are people who drain one’s energy, should be kept away from as much as possible. Maintaining communications with people, the social contact, is thus very important, particularly during these times of the Covid pandemic.

“You can have a full and vibrant life regardless of age,” Sharkie remarks, adding that, while it will take work and persistence on one’s part, it’s worth it.

Purchase from Amazon: 

Win at Aging: How to Stay Fit, Free, and Love Your Retirement! by Sharkie Zartman

Friday, October 16, 2020

National Geographic Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg on Breaking the News: What's Real, What's Not, and Why the Difference Matters

In this interview, Susan Goldberg talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about the National Geographic Children's book, Breaking The News: What’s Real, What’s Not, and Why the Difference Matters.

“We tell stories every day that can help make the world a better place.” ~Susan Goldberg

When she wrote an essay on journalism in the 8th grade, all Susan wanted to be was a great reporter. She is very thankful for all the opportunities she had in the past forty years, remarking that she came on “the scene of societal change,” as she received opportunities that women before her didn’t get.

“Journalists are the eyes and the ears of the public,” Susan says about what journalists are, writing out stories on subjects and places that the general public has no access to. “I think it’s one of the most important functions of our democracy,” she adds, as this enables people to become informed consumers. Where stories are concerned, Susan notes that the best reporters have “a million and one ideas,” and that reporters work with editors to prioritize what stories are more important.

Where her experiences as a female journalist are concerned, Susan notes that journalism was very much a man’s world when she started in the 1980s. “I didn’t see very many female editors,” she notes about the journalistic environment at that time. She remarks that journalism is still very much male dominated and that, despite “great strides” being made in the end of the 20th century, the momentum for female advancement in journalism has stalled out at the moment. Where leadership is concerned, she hopes that her style is collaborative, and she works to give “a hand up” to the next generation of journalists, coaching them and speaking with them on how to advance in their profession. She also adds that it is a journalist’s role to “shine a light in dark places” to bring forth that which otherwise would remain hidden, and that this is one of the things that makes her proud to be a journalist.

The term “fake news,” Susan points out, is a term used by the present and 45th President of the United States for news items that he doesn’t agree with. What is presently included under the blanket term of “fake news,” Susan notes, was called, in previous years, consisted of such things as hoaxes, conspiracy theories and propaganda - stories that appear factual, but which can be outright lies. She remarks that, in the past, news came from a limited number of channels, so people knew where the stories came from. 

At present, people are bombarded with information 24/7, thanks to social media and the Internet, and the sources are legion. Thanks to social media, information can be quickly spread, “almost like a game of ‘Telephone,’” though the story spread might not be a real one. Susan notes that people nowadays need to pause and make sure that they pass along real stories, rather than fake ones.

People “need to be curious and be skeptical consumers,” Susan remarks, adding the journalistic truism: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out,” adding that this truism underscores the need for people to be sure where information is coming from and if that information is real. She also notes that a third of young people admit that they have passed on stories that turned out not to be true, noting that bad information not only misleads but can also do harm. Susan also notes that half of the information that young people receive nowadays comes from social media and the Internet, which makes their being smart and skeptical consumers vital, where discerning the difference between real and false information is concerned.

Author Robin Terry Brown had been writing books for kids for over twenty years. She is likewise a journalist who had assembled a panel of journalists from various news organizations, as well as journalism professors, to talk about the history of news and journalism, the kind of stories that people read, and how to evaluate whether a story is real or false (which includes such things as how to tell if pictures are doctored).

Susan notes that some of the stories printed by National Geographic can take years to finish, and that, while these stories can be as long as books, the process of investigating and writing a story in that magazine is different from the process of writing a book. What is important, Susan emphasizes, is the discipline necessary to present truthful and accurate information which has been ethically gathered.

“I don’t think any one of us want to believe things that aren’t true,” Susan remarks, adding that it is hard for one to behave if one doesn’t know the basic facts. Lies, she also adds, can spread far more quickly than truth and the facts can, particularly in the Internet age. She also notes that it is just as easy to figure out what is real and what is not, as checking on stories is likewise just as quick on the Internet. One good way of checking on whether big and outrageous stories are real or not is to check if other people are covering said story, she explains, as a lot of people, particularly in the established media outlets, will be covering the same story.

Breaking The News is a fun and easy read, Susan remarks, be the reader an adolescent or an adult. The journalist’s code of ethics is included in the book, and this includes making sure that one is meeting with an expert on the field, and being transparent with one’s mistakes whenever these occur. There are several examples of falsified information in the book, and one of the best ways to determine if the information is false is if a headline that one reads makes one emotional, so that one doesn’t go into the story itself to see if the story is real or not. The book includes a “Truth Toolkit,” and one of these tools, Susan shares, is for determining if the story feels like it belongs “on a supermarket tabloid,” (all caps, lots of exclamation points, includes aliens, etc.), while another aims to determine if the story is full of typos (spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, sloppy and messy, bad punctuation), as no legitimate news site puts out news in that condition. Yet another is if the website that the news comes from is a website of a legitimate news organization.

Susan admits that the book makes her proud to be a journalist, as it explains what journalists can do and the impact of what good journalism can do. It is a very excellent material for those who are studying journalism and for those who dream of becoming one in the future.

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Breaking The News: What’s Real, What’s Not, and Why the Difference Matters by author Robin Terry Brown (with Mary Newton Bruder & Jamie Terranova) and published by National Geographic Children's Books with Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg