NotSalmon.com's story: How Karen Salmansohn's site came to be

NotSalmon’s Story

Curious about Karen Salmansohn and how this NotSalmon site came to be? Wondering why it’s called NotSalmon?  

Below is the professional journey of our founder Karen Salmansohn – how she grew from a Creative Director in advertising to a bestselling author with a big celebrity following (Jon Stewart, Marisa Tomei, Madonna, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Goldie Hawn, Eminem, Joan Rivers, and then some) – plus many ardent fans in the media (The Today Show, The View, CNN, NY Times, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, BusinessWeek, USA Today and US magazine, for starters).

Hi, I’m Karen Salmansohn.

Since we’re hanging out together in cyberspace, I thought I’d tell you a bit more about myself and how I became a bestselling author and award winning designer with a range of bestselling video courses.

It was a zig-zagger of a journey.

(Spoiler Alert: I create my books and video courses not only in the hopes of helping others. But also to turn my pain into purpose – and to share the tools which have helped me to overcome my painful challenges. Read on…)

First of all…

I call my site “notsalmon” because everyone’s always mispronouncing my last name of Salmansohn -saying SALMON-sohn – instead of SALMAN-sohn.

So I’m always saying NOT-SALMON.

I figured it was easier for people to find me on the internet if my site were simply called NOT-SALMON.

It seems Jerry Seinfeld knows the right pronunciation and is helping me out correcting folks

Look, you idiot, first of all, it's Salman,not salmon.

I started my career in advertising – and got awarded my first CLIO only 6 months in the business for an ad I created for Kodak.

I then quickly went on to become a Senior VP award winning ad writer/creative director (at age 27) – working for places like 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.

(Note: If I only I worked out a deal to get a penny for every Croissan’wich sold!)

I was also known for my creative work for the big beauty companies including L’Oreal, Revlon and Avon.

I wrote everything from ad campaigns to naming the fun names for their products.

(For example, Pleasantly Plum and Well Red were 2 of my suggested lipstick names!)

I also specialized in writing tune-in spots (and won awards) for the top TV networks including:

MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, E!, Showtime, TNT, CNBC, NBC, Lifetime, Oxygen, Comedy Central, WE – and then some.

My creative concept of “MTV Goes Stopless” was so successful, it got written up in Variety!

I became so well known as a creative force and outside-of-the-box thinker, that I was brought in by the amazing Faith Popcorn to work in her Think Tank.

Although I was doing well, I hated the politics of advertising.

quote planet successful healer DAVID ORRI used to joke that I couldn’t drink a glass of water without it spurting out the knife holes in my back – because there were so many jerks and “drama llamas” in the ad business.

I kept threatening to quit.

My dream: I wanted to use my writing and design skills to write and design books with inspirational 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 talking me out of quitting – saying things like: “How can you quit – when you’re making so much money! Authors barely make any money, you know!”

But I figured if I could do so well at something I hated, then I might do even better at something I enthusiastically wanted to do.

Finally, in my late 20’s I quit to become a full-time writer.

I joke that I had Mr Magoo Syndrome.

Remember that cartoon character?

Every time that little guy went to cross the street, he didn’t notice all the cars honking at him.

He just focused on “must get to other side of street.”

When I left advertising, I didn’t focus on obstacles or fears.

I just focused on, “must get my books published.”

My first published book was a novel called “50% OFF” – which I sold to St. Martin’s Press.

Karen Salmansohn authorHere’s a photo of me from the back of my first published book.

Soon after, my novel was optioned by Miramax to be a movie starring Marisa Tomei.

I wrote the screenplay – but it was never “green lit” into a movie.

At the time I joked that the ugliest word in the English language is the word “almost” – as my screenplay “almost” got made into a movie – but then didn’t.

Sigh. 

Next up, Miramax gave me a TV Development Deal – and so did Brillistein Gray and NBC.

I moved to LA and began writing a variety of funny sitcom scripts and movie scripts.

I met a lot of 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 recommending my humor.

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Karen Salmansohn has the wit and sass of a stand up comic.

Jon Stewart Comedian, Former Host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show

This makes me one of the few (and most likely ONLY!) inspirational authors with Jon-Stewart-approved humor!

Around this time I was giving seminars to women’s organizations about pursuing and snagging your passions. My agent suggested I write a business book for women – with tools to pursue and snag 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 how a woman doesn’t need a penis to succeed.

Just balls.

I credit a lot of my business success to being courageous 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 business book in her books.

Madonna even personally told me that she loved how my book was helping women – grabbing me by my arm and saying, “God bless you.”

Meaning? I’ve been blessed by Madonna!

(Yes, that’s meant to be a joke. See video below with full story!)

Around this time I discovered yoga and meditation – and began reading books on Buddhism, spirituality, positive thinking, and neuroscience.

I began remembering how much I loved books – while also realizing how much I disliked the politics and drama llamas found in the film and TV industry.

In many ways the TV and film industries were just like advertising.

Although I was making a strong income, I felt anxious and unhappy all the time.

I thought back to my happiest time in my career. It was living in New York, writing books and hanging out with people in publishing.

I realized (quite simply) that books were my first love – and true love. 🙂

So I moved back to Manhattan – without a book deal – to focus on book writing again.

I recognized this was a big risk – but I truly felt it was a risk I needed to take.

The result? I wrote an inspiring psychological book – How To Be Happy Dammit – which became an Urban Outfitter’s bestseller and was recommended on Oprah’s site.

Unfortunately during this time in my 30’s – life became more “dammit” than “happy” for me.

I call this terrible time in my life my Bucket List From Hell

So many bad things happened all at once that I kept expecting a “Candid Camera” crew to pop out behind that planter in my living room – and tell me I was secretly being punked for a reality TV show.

Life became a true struggle.

I felt anxious all the time.

I suffered from stress eating.

So I decided to turn my pain into purpose!

I began interviewing the top experts in the country on resiliency and trauma – and started reading everything I could on these subjects – scouring through reams of research studies and piles of books.

Next, I began practicing all I learned – and thankfully found myself feeling more peaceful and happy again.

My friends and family were inspired by the positive changes in me.

They encouraged me to write about my process of recovery.

So I wrote “The Bounce Back Book” – which became a big bestseller – and earned me a column on “Psychology Today” as their resident “Bounce Back Expert.”

I’ve since endured many more challenges – zig zagged a lot more.

But this time each time I zigged, I chose to zag my pain into purpose – and hunker down to learn new tools to bounce back stronger and wiser.

For example…I studied to be a yoga and meditation teacher to deepen my practice – because I recognized how helpful these tools were to me.

I’m happy to say…

I am now a proud mom to an awesome son – raising him with a wonderful partner.

I’m also a recovered stress eater – a regular meditator who’s overcome my issues with anxiety.

Each day before I go to sleep I take time to truly appreciate both the happy family life and successful creative career that I ultimately managed to create for myself – after all the infinite zig zags and roadblocks I encountered.

I recognize that we all have our challenges.

None of us gets through our life pain-free.

I personally know what it’s like to want to curl up in the fetal position on your sofa in your pajamas and not want to leave your home.

I also know what it’s like to overcome one’s struggles and “faith forward” to create a life you truly want.

I’m passionate about helping as many people as I can to create fulfilling and happy lives.

A few years ago I realized I wanted to teach my tools in a very personal way – as if I was talking to you over coffee.

So I began creating video courses – talking to you in each video in a very personal way – about all the research-based tools I’ve used to overcome my various challenges.

These video courses include…

I’m proud to say that these courses have already helped many thousands of people.

I’ve infused these video courses – and all my books – with lots of empathy, research and humor.

In fact I am a big believer that humor is a powerful enlightening agent – enabling people to let go and see challenges in a new light.

I even shared a range of research studies all about how laughter and fun are high performance fuels in a TEDx talk I gave.

Since leaving the advertising world…

I’ve become a multi bestselling author and award winning designer – with about 2 million books sold globally – and 1.5 million online fans – known for writing and designing what I call…

“self-help for people who would never be caught dead doing self-help.”

I sometimes describe my work as…

“self-help books you can give to a friend and not get slapped… because they look kind of cool.”

I not only write, but creative direct my books, from beginning to end.

My recent books INSTANT HAPPY and INSTANT HAPPY JOURNAL have been #1 on Amazon.

Some of my many publishers include:

Workman, Chronicle, Rizzoli, Simon and Schuster, Broadway Books, Harmony Books, Tenspeed, Tricycle, Sourcebooks, etc…

I’m a columnist on:

OPRAH, Psychology Today, MSN, CNN, Yahoo, AOL, Mind Body Green, Huffingtonpost, Match, Bettyconfidential, Minyanville, Daily Love, etc.

I’ve been a happiness expert on:

The Today Show, The View, CNN, Bill Maher’s show, Fox and Friends – and hundreds of morning TV shows across the country.

I’ve been written up in:

The NY Times, Business Week, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Magazine, Marie Claire, Fast Company, InStyle, Self, ELLE, New Yorker, etc.

I love researching:

psychology, biology, nutrition and quantum physics – and I include a range of research-backed tools in all 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 on happiness.

Indeed I love Aristotle so much that I named my son “Ari” as a wink to his name.

(Below is a video I made about Aristotle’s philosophies on finding your “soul mate”!)

My books are sold in…

major book stores like Barnes & Noble, Rizzoli etc (online and on location), Target, infinite gift stores, museum shops, spa shops, airport shops, art supply shops, stationary shops – 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 praised by some big names like:

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Salmansohn reminds us that in life, control is just an illusion and that we are in charge of our own destiny. This funny, profound and heartfelt collection demonstrates that when faced with adversity, we have the power to overcome through gratitude, humor and courage.

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If you're not happy with what you're getting, maybe you need a whole new plan. Karen Salmansohn offers you one. Start now!

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Karen Salmansohn's writing is bold, playful, insightful with powerful metaphors that provoke and inspire. In The Bounce Back Book, her kinetic images amplify her message and take the book to a new level of literary experience.

Deepak Chopra Author
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This book is full of psychological research studies to help you not only recover from the tough times, but also bounce back to an even higher level than your previous bests.

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Just picking up this engaging book boosted my spirits. Not only does The Bounce Back Book pack a library's worth of proven insights into one slim volume, it presents that information in a hilarious way, with eye-catching graphics, to drive its wisdom home. For anyone mired in the dumps – or who just wants to live more joyfully! – this is essential reading.

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Karen Salmansohn is a creative force of nature. I love her insights and relentless commitment to helping people live happy and successful lives. Her smart sense of humor and unusual metaphors make changing your life not only do-able but, totally fun. I simply adore her!

Marie Forleo Best Selling Author
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Salmansohn's got sass and shine! Her work sparks people to wake up, and at the same time, gives the comfort of perennial wisdom – such a divine combo. Sass and shine, in the best package!

Danielle LaPorte Creator of WhiteHotTruth.com
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Karen Salmansohn is a big brain in high heels.

In 2007 to 2008 I hosted the famed SIRIUS radio talk show “Be Happy, Dammit”

I interviewed celebrities and best selling authors about how to live your happiest life – Monday through Friday, morning drive time, 8am -9am, EST!

My radio show  merged the best of Oprah with Jon Stewart with NPR.

Random Quirky Info…

I still love branding and marketing – and regularly work with select individuals and businesses – serving as their brand consultant, advertising agency and book birth-er. (Contact me if you’re interested!)

I’ve been a keynote speaker on design at THE HOW DESIGN CONFERENCE (2 years) and at an AIGA DESIGN CONFERENCE (1 year).

Plus, I’m also an in demand keynote speaker on topics like how to increase happiness, creativity, productivity, stick-to-itiveness, and bouncing back from hard times.

My Mission…

Personally, my goal is for my books to stir things up…wake up sleepy minds heart and spirits…spread positive propaganda throughout the land!

But truth be told, I write self-help not only in the hopes of helping others, but each book that I write helps me to find purpose and healing in my personal pain – because my books are full of helpful research studies and healing insights whichquote shrink refuseI also use myself.

Some days when I’m bummed about something, I’ll flip through one of my own books, and remind myself “Oh yeah! Page 127! I forgot to keep in mind page 127!”

Since the launch of my first book in 1993, I’ve been giving hundreds of seminars nationally and internationally.

I now have over 40 books, 5 TV development deals, 2 film deals – and one perfume.

Phew am I exhausted!

Psssttt… My NotSalmon cute lil’ fish logo is illustrated by the talented Marieke Middendorp, who is founder of Studiopie!

Think happier. Think calmer.

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