Archive for December, 2010

26 December, 2010

NOT QUITE ADULTS, by Richard Settersten Jr. and Barbara E. Ray

A fascinating portrait of a generation.  Based on a landmark study of twenty-somethings by the MacArthur Research Network conducted over eight years , Settersten and Ray explore why young people are taking longer to grow up, what it means, and what it means for all of us.

26 December, 2010

TABLOID MEDICINE, by Robert Goldberg, Ph.D.

How the Internet is being used to hijack medical science for fear and profit.  Dr. Goldberg reveals the hidden agendas behind sites dispensing medical advice.  Medical consumers need to understand the difference between truly authoritative information and specious and even downright irresponsible information before making crucial decisions about their health.

13 December, 2010


In the era of WebMD and Google Health, 80 percent of American Internet users turn to the Web for answers about health and medical treatment, from concerns about symptoms to worries about new drugs to advice on creating a healthier lifestyle. However, the popularity of online health sources doesn’t mean that what we find on the Internet is accurate or complete. Quite the opposite, argues health policy expert Dr. Robert Goldberg in his new book, Tabloid Medicine: How the Internet is Being Used to Hijack Medical Science for Fear and Profit.

Through five case studies and numerous examples, he shows that many health websites are created by people with ulterior motives, from alternative medicine advocates and trial attorneys to anti-industry organizations and grandstanding politicians, many of whom seek to promote fear rather than knowledge. The Internet also allows those without medical credentials, whether self-aggrandizing ‘instant experts’ or ordinary citizens who are well-intentioned but ill-informed, to scare or mislead millions with the click of a mouse.

Tabloid Medicine has had dangerous consequences for not just individual health but also public health.  Importantly, Dr. Goldberg provides the reader with a how to guide for separating fearmongering from scientific fact and one size fits all solutions that are spread widely on the Web from the tools that allow consumers to personalize their search for medical information.  He also shows how the Internet is also a powerful platform for sharing ideas and information that is being used to accelerate the search for cures and give consumers more control over their well-being.

Dr. Goldberg is co-founder and Vice-President of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, a non-profit institute dedicated to promoting the use and understanding of technologies that make health care more predictive and personalized, and appears frequently in the press as a writer and commentator.

Over the past 20 years Dr. Goldberg has dedicated himself to improving the health ofAmericans and promoting medical innovation.  He was involved in the first study demonstrating that restrictions on access to drugs actually drove up medical spending and compromised health.  That research was instrumental in forcing health plans to open up drug formularies.  He helped The Children’s Health Fund establish it’s Childhood Asthma Initiative in the South Bronx to improve the management of chronic asthma for thousands of medically underserved children and families.  His article on how environmental laws would deprive millions of Americans generic asthma inhalers led the government to drop it’s effort to eliminate the insignificant amount of CFC from such products.

Prior to founding CMPI, Goldberg was Director of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Medical Progress and Chairman of its 21st Century FDA Task Force that examined the impact of the FDA’s Critical Path Initiative on drug development and personalized medicine.  His academic research focuses on the value of personalized medicine and medical innovation to longevity, economic growth and Social Security.  At CMPI he’s supported the launch of, a website that helps two million people monitor the safety of their medicines and, a website where seniors and other consumers can compare drug prices and lower prescription drug costs.  He writes for The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator and The New York Post.

Dr. Goldberg received his PhD in Politics from Brandeis University in 1984.  He lives in Springfield, New Jersey and can be found online at

–Caroline Patton

7 December, 2010

TABLE OF CONTENTS, by Judy Gelman and Vicky Levi Krupp                              

A delectable literary feast featuring insights and 100 recipes from America’s favorite novelists from the creators of

3 December, 2010


Before You Try to Get an Agent, Ask Yourself:

As an agent, I see proposals and manuscripts at all stages.  Some of them are just a glimmer of an idea hidden inside a lot of text; some are polished to a gleam, ready to be sent out to publishers. Often it’s difficult to see the potential in the projects I’m sent because their authors haven’t asked themselves a few crucial questions.

So before you press the “send” button (or address that SASE), take a few minutes to answer the following. It may help your query shine – and get you an agent.  Or it may convince you that there’s a better way for you to go.

  1. What’s my end goal? Securing a publishing contract with a big publisher is only one way to get your story out into the world.  If your aim is to, say, record your family history for future generations, self-publishing may  make the most sense – and you don’t even need an agent for that. If you already know your core audience is a narrow interest group that congregates on a few websites, then it may make more sense to find a digital way to distribute your work.  Again, no agent needed.
  2. Who is my audience? Sometimes this is easy to answer — men with heart disease, for example. At other times, it’s trickier to know where your manuscript fits in. But if you can’t figure it out, it’s going to be that much harder to attract an agent. Spend some time researching those books and how to reach those readers before you send out your query.
  3. How can I reach my readers? Finishing a manuscript or a proposal is an accomplishment in itself, but unfortunately, it’s only part of your job as an author. You’ll also need to know how to effectively market and publicize the work once it’s on the shelves. This ability, known as your “platform,” is the first thing publishers measure after the book’s description. No one expects a first-time author to have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, for example (though it can’t hurt!). But make some efforts to reach out to potential readers before you send a query to an agent. A potential client who is at the very least aware of the need, and ready to take on the challenge, of building a platform will get a second look.
  4. Has my manuscript been read by sharp critics? Query letters that tell me the novel was written in three months, or that I’m the first to read it, make me wary from the start.   Sure, the proposal or manuscript may have been proofread by a friend or spouse, but has someone objective looked at it with a critical eye? Your work is personal, but it has to stand up to challenges at every stage. A trusted, critical reader can help point out weaknesses so you can submit the most polished manuscript possible.
  5. Have I done my homework? I get endless queries for horror, thriller and romance novels despite the fact that our website shows I don’t represent horror, thriller or romance novels. I know it’s tempting —especially in the age of email queries — to say, “Why not?  You never know, maybe this thriller will be the one for her,” but in the end, it just will mean one more rejection for me to write and for you to get — and no one likes rejection.  Each agency has different guidelines, and most agents have websites or carefully fill out their profiles in agency listings.  You should always check them out to see how they like to receive queries.  When I find a query that is well written, thoughtful and thorough, it’s like finding a piece of buried treasure in my inbox.

—Molly Lyons