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Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: From Yesterday To Today

I just received a copy of From Yesterday to Today:  Six Decades of America’s Favorite Morning Show from running Press (www.RunningPress.com).  It is a beautiful collection of stories and photos spanning 60 years of television and cultural history. Written by journalist Stephen Battaglia, the reader is treated to a chronicle of television’s first and longest-running morning program.

Much has changed in television since the early days but the Today Show is still the ratings leader in the morning and is still one of the most respected and beloved media institutions in the country.  Every one of the past three generations has grown up with the show that starts the morning on the right foot for millions of viewers.

My wife tunes in every day while sipping her coffee and getting our kids ready for school.  I haven’t watched it much in the past decade, only because it doesn’t fit my schedule.  But I recall, fondly, watching it as a teenager in the 1980’s.  I recall Bryant Gumbel, Jane Pauley, Willard Scott, Deborah Norville and Gene Shalit and all of the wonderful cast members to follow – Katie Couric, Al Roker, Matt Lauer, etc.

Things have changed over the years.  The show has gotten much longer and the content a little less serious.  It is as likely to interview a losing contestant of an NBC reality show than it is a head of state.  But the show is still outdoing its competition, informing and entertaining viewers, and along the way, defining the nation’s views.  I found From Yesterday To Today to be a nostalgic look at what has been a golden era in TV.

The show has come a long way from its black and white days when the host’s chair was shared with a chimpanzee, Fred Muggs.  But the future of Today and for all of television is up in the air.  Its fate may not rest on news of the day or who the host is but more on technology and how people choose to be informed and enlightened.  Only time will tell if we’ll be celebrating Today tomorrow. I suspect we will.

Interview With Dr. Mark Wiley
For more information, consult: www.DrMarkWiley.com

  1. Dr. Wiley, as a health book author, how do you hope to help people? I do this by giving people the tools they need to help themselves. Regaining and living in optimal health is fairly simple. If you know how to do it. Most people don’t, most doctors don’t, and the mainstream (allopathic) sick-care model does not support this. By explaining in simple terms the meaning of homeostasis (our intrinsic wellness baseline), and outlining the steps as to why we lose health and what we need to regain it, people can understand the method.  My writing reaches millions of people every month through my publications, website and blogs I contribute to. This is the fastest way to reach people and respond to their requests for more specific information. The book form, itself, is essential in this because it allows the author time to explain things, build their argument, and offer examples and wellness program options. The form of articles and blogs don’t offer this venue.

  1. There are so many health books out there – how does the consumer differentiate amongst them? The first thing is not to get caught up on the author’s name. Just because the writer is well-known doesn’t necessarily mean they are the leading expert in the area. They could be, though; but it should not be inferred. Next, the reader needs to think of their current health concern and take their personality into account. If the program or advice offered in a book requires heavy fitness and the use of weights or equipment, but the reader is not barely inclined to walk and does not care to invest in fitness equipment, then they should pass on that particular book.

Overall, when looking for a book to improve your health you must spend some time browsing, reading the table of contents and introduction and conclusion of several titles to get a feel for their content. Then focus in on a title or two that offer the reader a clear explanation of what the book hopes to promise, and breaks down the steps necessary to reach that promise in easy-to-understand ways. Don’t get caught up on names or fads; rather, look for content and explanation that you can get into and apply.

  1. With all of the health books and Web sites out there why is the overall health of Americans so poor? Simply put, mainstream medicine fails to correctly address people’s everyday pains, illnesses and diseases. It fails because it is passive and reactionary and thus is unable to prevent you from experiencing chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, stress, anxiety, depression, headache, back pain and hundreds of other life-defeating conditions.
And this model will always fall short because it uses “disease” and “sickness” as its basis of finding health. That is, you see your primary care physician when you are ill, the doctor diagnosis your illness, labels the disease, then prescribes a protocol for treating that disease. Your personal pain, illness and diseases “are managed” by prescription medication, physical therapy and/or surgery. Such a model can never hope to cure people’s daily non-terminal health problems, yet these are the important issues we face and that steadily undermine our quality of life.  If we follow a holistic lifestyle and use ‘prevention’ as a model of wellness, then as a country our health will vastly improve and our reliance on prescription medications and invasive medical procedures will diminish. We will be healthy.

  1. What do you like most about being a published author? Since I was a young boy I wanted to be a writer, so having been published so much is like living my dream. I love writing and sharing my knowledge and insights with people who need and seek it. I like walking through a bookstore and seeing my books on the shelves and knowing I am among the relatively few whose work and ideas will outlive them.

  1. Where do you think book publishing is heading? One the one hand, it is scare for authors to see the vast changes in the book industry going on now. With Borders closing, we lose 4,000 miles of shelf space to reach our readers. Publishers are more reluctant than ever to publish new authors because of this. Borders started the mega bookstore trend with Barnes & Noble to follow. So decades ago we did not have these superstores, and authors were still getting published and people were buying books. So in a way, I don’t see it as a net loss but more of a returning to the way things were. Publisher made money then, and they will now. Also B&N is still in business. And while digital publishing is all the rage, people will get tires of staring at back-lit flat screens to read their books on the beach, in bed, on the subway. They like to hold books in their hands, dog ear pages, underline… and not care it they spill coffee on it or if they lose it. If they lose or spill coffee on their Kindle… yikes!
So I think that publishers and authors are getting themselves in a stress cycle now over the changes. But digital format allows a different group of people to find your work, and bookstores are still around in a way like they were 20 years ago. So if we authors and hard-core ‘book’ people hang in there, it’ll settle out and we’ll be fine.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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