Curious about Karen Salmansohn's biography and how/why her NotSalmon website came about?Wondering why Karen's popular personal development site is called NotSalmon?
Below is the professional journey of our founder Karen Salmansohn - how she went from creative director in advertising to bestselling author with a large celebrity following (Jon Stewart, Marisa Tomei, Madonna, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Goldie Hawn, Eminem, Joan Rivers, and then some) - plus many adoring fans in the media (The Today Show, The View, CNN, NY Times, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, BusinessWeek, USA Today and US Magazine, for starters).
Hello, I'm Karen Salmansohn.
Since we're hanging out in cyberspace together, I thought I'd tell you a little more about me and how I became oneBestselling AuthorAndaward-winning designerwith a bunch ofBest selling video courses.
It was a zig zag journey.
(Spoiler Alarm:I didn't create my best-selling books and video courses just hoping to help others. But also to turn my pain into meaning - and to share the tools that have helped me overcome my painful challenges. Continue reading…)
I call my site "notsalmon" because everyone always mispronounces my last name Salmansohn - SALMON-sohn - instead of SALMAN-sohn.
So I always say NO SALMON.
I thought it would be easier for people to find me on the internet if my site was simply called NOT-SALMON.
Seems Jerry Seinfeld knows the correct pronunciation and helps me correct people
I started my career in advertising - and received my first CLIO after only 6 months in business for an ad I created for Kodak.
I then quickly became an award-winning Senior VP Copywriter/Creative Director (aged 27) - working for companies such as J. Walter Thompson, McCann Erickson, Young + Rubicam.
Quirky claim to fame:
I was the one who came up with the name„Croissan’wich.“
It was chosen in a huge agency JWT competition to become the official name of Burger King's then-brand new breakfast sandwich.
(Hint: If only I negotiated a deal to get a dime for every Croissan'wich sold!)
I was also known for my creative work for the big beauty companies like L'Oreal, Revlon and Avon.
I've written everything from advertising campaigns to coming up with the funny names for their products.
(For example, Pleasantly Plum and Well Red were 2 of my lipstick name suggestions!)
I also specialize in writing on-screen spots (and won awards) for top television channels including:
MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, E!, Showtime, TNT, CNBC, NBC, Lifetime, Oxygen, Comedy Central, WE - and more.
My creative concept of "MTV Goes Stopless" was so successful that it was written in Variety!
I became so well known as a creative force and lateral thinker that I was brought in by the amazing Faith Popcorn to work at her think tank.
Although I was fine, I hated the politics of advertising.
I used to joke that I can't drink a glass of water without it spurting out of the knife holes in my back - because there were so many jerks and"Drama Flames"in the advertising business.
I kept threatening to quit.
My dream: I wanted to use my writing and design skills to write and design books with inspiring messages.
I loved books!
Instead of inspiring people to try a new toothpaste, I wanted to write books to inspire people to think in new ways.
My parents kept telling me about quitting - with things like, "How can you quit - when you're making so much money! Writers hardly make any money, you know!”
But I figured if I could be that good at something I hated, maybe I could get even better at something I was passionate about doing.
Eventually, I quit in my late 20's to become a full-time writer.
I joke that I had Mr. Magoo Syndrome.
Do you remember this cartoon character?
Every time this little guy crossed the street, he didn't realize that all the cars were honking at him.
He just focused on that"have to go across the street."
When I left the commercial, I didn't focus on obstacles or fears.
I was just concentrating"must get my books published."
My first published book was a novel entitled"50% OFF"– which I sold to St. Martin's Press.
Here's a photo of me from the back of my first published book.
Shortly thereafter, my novel was selected by Miramax for a film adaptation with Marisa Tomei.
I wrote the screenplay - but it was never given the green light for a film.
I joked at the time that the ugliest word in the English language is "almost" - since my screenplay was made into a movie "almost" - but then it wasn't.
Next, Miramax gave me a TV development deal - and so did Brillistein Gray and NBC.
I moved to LA and started writing a variety of funny scripts for sitcoms and movies.
I've met many now famous comedians - like Mark Maron, Sarah Silverman, Todd Barry, Dave Attel, Eddie Brill - and more.
Jon Stewart read and loved my writing.
He gave me an official blurb commending my humor.
Karen Salmansohn has the wit and cheekiness of a stand-up comic.
Jon StewartComedian, former host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show
That makes me one of the few (and probably ONLY!) inspirational authors with Jon-Stewart's acknowledged humor!
Around this time I was giving seminars for women's organizations about following and embracing your passions.
My agent suggested I write a business book for women - with tools to follow and embrace your passions.
So I wrote"How to Succeed in Business Without a Penis"- which became a bestseller - praised by Madonna, Donna Karan and Arianna Huffington.
I explain why a woman doesn't need a penis to be successful.
I owe a large part of my business success to my courage in my creative ideas and strategies for marketing.
This business book has been loved by many powerful women.
For example, Arianna Huffington quotes from my ledger in her books.
Madonna even told me personally that she loves how my book is helping women - she grabbed my arm and said:"Godd bless you."
Meaning? I was blessed by Madonna!
(Yes, this is meant to be a joke. See the video below for the full story!)
Around this time I discoveredyoga and meditation— and began reading books on Buddhism, spirituality, positive thinking, and neuroscience.
I started remembering how much I loved books - while at the same time realizing how much I disliked politics and politicsDrama flamesfound in the film and television industry.
The TV and film industry was like advertising in many ways.
Even though I was making a strong income, I feltscared and unhappythe whole time.
I thought back to my happiest time in my career. It lived in New York, wrote books and hung out with people in publishing.
I realized (quite simply) that books were my first love - and true love. 🙂
So, without a book deal, I moved back to Manhattan to focus on writing again.
I realized that this was a big risk - but I really felt like it was a risk I had to take.
I have written an inspirational psychological book –How to be happy, dammit- a combination of psychology, Buddhism, neuroscience, Eastern philosophy, Western philosophy and the Zen wisdom of Bazooka Joe.
I also designed the inside of this book very nicely - with stylish graphics - which was particularly unusual back in 2001.
As a result, the book inspired many invitations to speak at design conferences.
Very quickly, this book became an Urban Outfitter bestseller for a few years in a row.
It was also recommended on Oprah's website.
And Eminem ended up with loveHow to be happy, dammitso much so that he included my book in one of his music videos!
Unfortunately, during this period, life became "damned" rather than "happy."
- I was dating someone - who I thought I would marry - who turned out to be what I call onePrinz Harming.
- After the breakup, I got worriedtoo old to ever have a baby.
- I moved to a new apartment - where I wassexually harassed.
- Then my father got sick – anddeceased.
- I met a wonderful man - but then - when we were trying to have a baby together -I had a miscarriage.
- A young girl I mentored and helped write a bestseller - ended up ripping me off - andtransforms into a drama llama
I call this terrible time in my life mine"Bucket List from Hell."
So many bad things were happening at once, I always expected a "candid camera" crew to show up from behind that window box in my living room — and tell me I was being secretly punked for a reality TV show.
Life became a real struggle.
I felt anxious all the time.
I suffered from stress eating.
So I decided to turn my pain into meaning!
I began interviewing the country's top experts on resilience and trauma—and began reading everything I could find on these topics—by trawling through reams of research studies and stacks of books.
Next, I started practicing everything I had learned - and thankfully felt more peaceful and happier again.
My friends and family have been inspired by the positive changes in my life.
They encouraged me to write about my recovery process.
So I wrote"The Bounce Back Book"— which became a huge bestseller — and earned me a column in Psychology Today as their resident “Bounce Back Expert.”
Also, Oprah and her people loved the resilience psychology tools in this book and have highly recommended it throughout their website.
Since then I've faced many more challenges - zigzagged a lot more.
But this time, every time I moved, I chose to turn my pain into purpose — and settle down to learn new tools to fight back stronger and wiser.
For example... I studied to be aYoga and meditation teacherto deepen my practice - because I realized how helpful these tools were for me.
Want free, research-backed bounce back tools? Get it now HERE!
I am happy to say...
I am now a proud mother of an amazing son - raising him with a wonderful partner.
I am also a regular meditator who has overcome my issues with anxiety and feareat stress
Every day before bed, I take time to appreciate both the happy family life and the successful creative career I ended up creating for myself - after all the never-ending zigzags and obstacles I've encountered.
I am aware that we all have our challenges.
None of us go through life without pain.
I personally know what it's like to snuggle up on the sofa in the fetal position in your pajamas and not want to leave the house.
I also know what it's like to overcome your struggles and live "Faith Forward" to create a life you truly desire.
It is my passion to help as many people as possible to lead a fulfilling and happy life.
A few years ago I realized that I wanted to convey my tools in a very personal way - like chatting with you over coffee.
So I started making a series ofPersonal development online courses— where I speak to you in a very personal way in each video — about all the research-based tools I've used to overcome my various challenges.
These video courses include…
- Make courses profitable without being overwhelmed
- The Angstcure
- Stop Emotional Eating
- Manage and avoid drama llamas
- Broken Heart Recovery
- secrets of happy couples
- Develop a stronger intuition
I am proud to say that these video courses have already helped many thousands of people around the world.
I've infused these video courses—and all of my books—with a great deal of empathy, research, and humor.
In fact, I firmly believe that humor is a powerful enlightenment tool - one that allows people to let go and see challenges in a new light.
In a TEDx talk I gave, I even shared a series of research studies on how laughter and fun are high-performance fuels.
Since I left the advertising world...
I've become a multiple best-selling author and award-winning designer - with about 2 million books sold worldwide - and 1.5 million online fans - known for writing and designing what I call...
"Self-help for people who would never be caught dead self-help."
I sometimes describe my work as...
"Self-help books that you can give to a friend and not get slapped... because they look kind of cool."
I don't just write, I creatively guide my books from start to finish.
My latest booksthink happyAndFor ever friendsAndlife is longAndInstant restwere the No. 1 new releases on Amazon.
Some of my many publishers are:
Workman, Chronicle, Rizzoli, Simon and Schuster, Broadway Books, Harmony Books, Tenspeed, Tricycle, Sourcebooks, etc…
I am a columnist at:
OPRAH, Psychology Today, MSN, CNN, Yahoo, AOL, Mind Body Green, Huffingtonpost, Match, Bettyconfidential, Minyanville, Daily Love usw.
I was a happiness expert for:
The Today Show, The View, CNN, Bill Maher's Show, Fox and Friends - and hundreds of morning TV shows across the country.
I wrote in:
The NY Times, Business Week, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Magazine, Marie Claire, Fast Company, InStyle, Self, ELLE, New Yorker usw.
I love researching:
Psychology, biology, nutrition, and quantum physics—and I include a range of research-backed tools in all of my books, programs, articles, and keynotes.
I also have a platonic crush on the Greek philosopher Aristotle — and share a lot about his timeless truths about happiness.
In fact, I love Aristotle so much that I named my son "Ari" in reference to his name.
(Below is a video I made about Aristotle's philosophies on how to find your "soulmate"!)
My books are sold in...
major bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Rizzoli, etc. (online and on-site), Target, infinite gift stores, museum stores, spa stores, airport stores, art supply stores, stationery stores - and then some.
This “then some” includes design-loving stores like:
West Elm, Z-Galleries, Anthropology, ABC Carpet & Home, Barney's, Fred Segals, Bendhal's - and many famous fashion boutiques.
My writing has been acclaimed by some big names such as:
Salmansohn reminds us that control in life is just an illusion and that we are responsible for our own destiny. This fun, deep, and heartfelt collection shows that we have the power to overcome adversity through gratitude, humor, and courage.
Anthony RobbinNY Times bestselling author, Awaken the Giant Within
If you're not happy with what you're getting, you might need a whole new plan. Karen Salmansohn offers you one. Start now!
Seth GodinNY Times bestselling author, Linchpin
Karen Salmansohn's writing is bold, playful, insightful with powerful metaphors that provoke and inspire. In The Bounce Back Book, her kinetic imagery amplifies her message and takes the book to a new level of literary experience.
This book is full of psychological research studies designed to help you not only recover from the tough times, but get back to even higher levels than your previous bests.
Just picking up this captivating book lifted my spirits. The Bounce Back Book not only packs the value of a library of proven insights into one slim volume, it also hilariously presents that information with eye-catching graphics to convey its wisdom. For everyone who is stuck on the dump - or just wants to live happier! - this is required reading.
Gretchen RubinNYTimes-Bestsellerautor, The Happiness Project
Karen Salmansohn is a creative force of nature. I love her insights and relentless dedication to helping people lead happy and prosperous lives. Your clever sense of humor and offbeat metaphors make life transformation not only doable, but totally fun. I just adore her!
Marie ForleoBestselling Author
Salmansohn has cheek and shine! Her work wakes people up while giving them the comfort of eternal wisdom - such a divine combination. Sass and shine, in the best package!
Danielle LaporteCreator of WhiteHotTruth.com
Karen Salmansohn is a big brain in heels.
Goldie HawnActress and founder of the Hawn Foundation
In 2007-2008 I hosted the famous SIRIUS radio talk show "Be Happy, Dammit".
I've interviewed celebrities and best-selling authors on how to live your happiest life - Monday through Friday, morning drive time, 8am to 9am, EST!
My radio show brought together the best of Oprah with Jon Stewart with NPR.
Random quirky information…
I personally create each of my quote picture posters!
Many of them have gone viral – and have been shared 200,000, 500,000 or even 2 million times per personinspirational quote picture poster.
Prince Ea, Britney Spears, Giselle, Amy Poehler Smart Girls Club, Julian Lennon and other celebrities have shared picture posters with quotes from my life!
I still love branding and marketing - and work regularly with select individuals and companies - as a brand consultant, advertising agency and book birther.(Contact me if interested!)
I was a keynote speaker on designTHE HOW DESIGN CONFERENCE(2 years) and on aAIGA DESIGN CONFERENCE(1 year).
I'm also a frequent keynote speaker on topics such as happiness, creativity, productivity, perseverance, and how to recover from tough times.
My personal goal with my books is to stir up...wake up sleepy minds, hearts and souls...spread positive propaganda across the country!
But to be honest, I don't just write self-help in hopes of helping others, but every book I write helps me find meaning and healing in my personal pain - for my books are full of helpful research studies and healing ones insightsI use myself too.
Some days, when I'm upset about something, I'll flip through one of my own books and remind myself of it"Oh yeah! Page 127! I forgot to check page 127!"
Since the publication of my first book in 1993, I have given hundreds of seminars at home and abroad.
I now have over 40 books, 5 TV development deals, 2 film deals - and a perfume.
Phew I'm exhausted!
Psssttt… If you're still reading, hello!I'm offering some free eBooks here!
If you are a podcast or media company looking for Karen Salmansohn's bio for a report, you can use this...
For over 25 years, Karen Salmansohn has been a multiple bestselling author with 2 million books sold worldwide. She is also the founder of a popular (high traffic and high domain authority) personal development website calledNotSalmon.com.She has over 1.5 million social media followers and 90,000 newsletter subscribers.
Karen began her career at top New York advertising agencies (Young and Rubicam, J. Walter Thompson, McCann Erickson, etc.). She won CLIOs in her first year in the business and became senior creative director in her 20s. She quit because she was passionate about using her writing and design skills to create books and screenplays.
Her first book was a funny novel, which she sold to St. Martin's Press (which received rave reviews from comedians Jon Stewart and Rita Rudner - as well as Publishers Weekly, Marie Claire, LA Times, Entertainment Weekly, Chicago Tribune, etc.). Hernovel was also selected by Miramax as a film starring Marisa Tomei.
She also subsequently received TV development deals from Miramax, Brillstein Grey, NBC, Nickelodeon and MTV. Shortly after Karen began writing a series of non-fiction psychology books, she dubbed them "self-help for people who wouldn't be caught dead trying to help themselves" — because they combine psychology with stylish graphics and lively humor.
Her first book of this kind was called “How To Be Happy Dammit” and became an instant bestseller, selling 350,000 copies. It was highly recommended by Oprah and Psychology Today (who both invited her to be an online columnist), featured on the PBS documentary This Emotional Life, and featured in an Eminem music video!
After that hugely successful book, she continued to author a variety of best-selling psychology books, published by top publishers including Random House, Rizzoli, Chronicle, Workman, Simon, and Schuster—and endorsed by Deepak Chopra, Madonna, Tony Robbins, Goldie Hawn, and Peter became Guber, Arianna Huffington, Tim Feriss, Tony Hsieh and more.
Karen also works as a branding and marketing consultant for a variety of companies and individuals. She combines her wide range of experiences with the wit, humor and sharp insight she is known for to help brands launch and reach new heights.
In recent years, Karen began creating video courses on personal development, which quickly turned into a very profitable endeavor. As a result, Karen is now primarily focused on producing more of her hit video courses.
She also has a half-finished second novel that she is working on completing.
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