About me

“The main obligation is to amuse yourself.” – S. J. Perelman

books-colorsquareThere are a couple of reasons I’m kicking off my bio with this quote by S. J. Perelman. For one, I just love the guy. He’s not that well known today, but from the ’20s to the ’70s he wrote humorous essays, short stories, plays, screenplays – you name it. He even wrote for the Marx Brothers! Without him, Monkey Business wouldn’t exist – or, at least, it wouldn’t be the same.

The other reason is that Perelman is talking about being true to yourself. There are only so many ways to express this idea – so ubiquitous and yet so elusive – and I really like this one. (more…)

Eleanor Davis Asks a Radical Question, Modestly

whyartIF YOU’RE GOING to write about art, you should probably start with a gesture of modesty. A ritual demurral doesn’t just pacify those expert readers who wait, daggers quivering, to eviscerate hubris. It also serves as an implicit pledge of your ethics. It tells your audience you want only to guide and enhance their taste, not trample all over it with your giant opinionated paws. (more…)

Guard Your Employees’ Mental Health

inclogoWhen Arun Gupta, founder of the New York City health care company Quartet Health, couldn’t find satisfactory mental health insurance for his team, he came up with a creative solution: confidentially reimbursing employees for out-of-­pocket expenses through a third-party vendor. “A lot of times, people might have to pay cash or have high co-pays attached to getting therapy. Now they can see anybody they want to see, as often as they need,” he says. “We’re pushing the envelope here, but it’s good for business.” (more…)

In ‘Rock Steady,’ Ellen Forney Combines Mental Health Advice, Artistry and Wit

forneysmallflatNPR, May 17, 2018

Ellen Forney has a new book out, and the fact that it’s about mood disorders is just gravy. Maybe that sentence needs some explaining — starting with the “mood disorders” part. If you suffer from some form of depression or bipolar disorder, you’ve probably noticed a divide that exists amongst books on the subject. On the one side are probing, literary accounts of what it’s like to experience these illnesses — William Styron’s Darkness Visible, Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind. On the other side are books about coping. The latter, however comprehensive and necessary, tend to lack poetry (one exception is Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon). To do them justice, it’s hard to be poetic about communicating effectively with medical professionals, taking pills on schedule and getting enough sleep. (more…)

Robert Reich Shows Off His Cartooning Skills In ‘Economics In Wonderland’

reich wonderlandIf you only know Robert B. Reich as a former secretary of Labor, frequent TV commentator and author of numerous books on economic policy, you’re missing out. Turns out, he’s also got a remarkable knack for wielding a Sharpie. His economic cartoons are a vital part of such documentaries as 2013’s Inequality for All and Saving Capitalism, due out this month. Now he’s putting his artistic side front and center in Economics in Wonderland: A Cartoon Guide to a Political World Gone Mad and Mean — and I spoke to him about his cartooning life (our interview has been edited for length and clarity).