Karen Salmansohn’s Bio & NotSalmon’s Story

Karen Salmansohn's bio & NotSalmon’s StoryCurious about Karen Salmansohn’s bio and how/why her NotSalmon site came to be? Wondering why Karen’s popular personal development website is called NotSalmon?  

Below is the professional journey of our founder Karen Salmansohn – how she grew from a Creative Director in advertising to become a bestselling author and leading “Behavioral Change Expert” – with a big celebrity following! (aka: Jon Stewart, Marisa Tomei, Madonna, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Goldie Hawn, Eminem, Joan Rivers, and then some!) Plus Karen’s loved and respected by millions of online followers and many ardent fans in the media! (aka: 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 Master Class Online Courses.

It was a zig-zagger of a journey.

(Spoiler Alert: I’ve created my bestselling books and online courses not only in the hopes of helping others to improve their thoughts and habits. 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.

Karen Salmansohn's bio & NotSalmon’s Story

(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?

karen salmansohn compares her journey to mr Magoo

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 author bio

Photo by Phyllis Leibowitz

Here’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.


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.


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.

Arianna Huffington loves Karen Salmansohn's work

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 was a combo of Psychology, Buddhism, Neuroscience, Eastern Philosophy, Western Philosophy and the Zen wisdom of Bazooka Joe.

I also highly designed this book the inside – with stylish graphics – which was especially 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’s bestseller – for a few years in a row.

It was also recommended on Oprah’s site.

eminem how to be happy dammitAnd Eminem wound up loving How To Be Happy Dammit so much that he put my book into one of his music videos!

Unfortunately during this time – life became more “dammit” than “happy.”

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.

Karen Salmansohn thinks it's time to be happy againLife 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 my life.

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.”

Plus Oprah and her people loved the resiliency psychology tools inside this book, so highly recommended it all over their site.

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.

Want free research-backed Bounce Back Tools? Get ’em HERE now!

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 regular meditator who’s overcome my issues with anxiety and stress eating.

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 a range of online personal development courses – where I talk 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 video courses have already helped many thousands of people of people around the world.

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

tedx talk by karen salmansohn fun is a high performance fuelIn 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 most recent books Think Happy and Friends Forever and Life is Long and Instant Calm have each been #1 new releases 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:


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.


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


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

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.


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.


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

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

Karen Salmansohn is a big brain in high heels.

sirius radio karen salmansohn notsalmon.com 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.

karen salmansohn's bioRandom Quirky Info…

I personally create each of my quote image posters!

Many of them have gone viral – and have been  shared 200,000, 500,000 even 2 million times per an individual inspiring quote image poster.

Prince Ea, Britney Spears, Giselle, Amy Poehler Smart Girls Club, Julian Lennon and other celebrities have shared my life quote image posters!

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 refuse to grow not salmon.comI 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… If you’re still reading, hi there! I offer a bunch of free ebooks here!

If you’re a podcast or media company seeking Karen Salmansohn’s bio for a write up, you can use this…

75 word Karen Salmansohn bio

Karen Salmansohn is a multi-bestselling author and leading Behavioral Change Expert with over 2 million books and courses sold and the creative force behind the popular personal development website NotSalmon.com. Her career began in New York’s top ad agencies, leading her to a successful transition as a thought leader in personal development. Today, Karen not only focuses on developing happiness boosting bestselling books (like How To Be Happy Dammit) and courses (like The Anxiety Cure) she also uses her extensive experience in branding and marketing to coach others to achieve significant growth in their businesses.

Narrative Bio of Karen Salmansohn

For over 25 years, Karen Salmansohn has been a multi bestselling author with 2 million books sold globally. Plus she’s the founder of a popular (high traffic and high domain authority) personal development website called NotSalmon.com. She has over 1.5 million social media followers and 90K newsletter subscribers. 

Karen began her career working in NY top advertising agencies (Young and Rubicam, J. Walter Thompson, McCann Erickson, etc). She won CLIOs her first year in the business and became a Senior Creative Director in her 20’s. She quit because she was passionate about using her skills as a writer and designer to author books and screenplays.

Her first book was a funny novel she sold to St. Martin’s Press (which received rave reviews from the comedians Jon Stewart and Rita Rudner – as well as Publisher Weekly, Marie Claire, LA Times, Entertainment Weekly, Chicago Tribune etc). Her novel was also optioned by Miramax to be a movie starring Marisa Tomei. 

She then also received TV development deals from Miramax, Brillstein Gray, NBC, Nickelodeon and MTV. Soon after Karen began writing a range of psychological non-fiction books she called “self help for people who wouldn’t be caught dead doing self help” – because they merge psychology with stylish graphics and feisty humor.

Her first book of this kind was called “How To Be Happy Dammit” and became an instant bestseller, selling 350,000 copies. It’s been highly recommended on Oprah and Psychology Today (who each invited her to become an online columnist), featured in the PBS documentary, “This Emotional Life” and an Eminem music video!

After this wildly successful book she continued to author a variety of bestselling psychological books, published by top publishing houses including Random House, Rizzoli, Chronicle, Workman, Simon and Schuster  – and recommended by Deepak Chopra, Madonna, Tony Robbins, Goldie Hawn, Peter Guber, Arianna Huffington, Tim Feriss, Tony Hsieh and then some.

Karen also works as a branding and marketing consultant for a wide variety of companies and individuals.  She combines her large range of experiences with the wit, humor, and keen insights she’s known for, to help brands take off and reach new heights.

In the last few years Karen began creating video courses for personal development, which quickly became a very profitable venture. As a result, Karen is now mainly focusing on producing more of her successful video courses. 

She also has a half finished second novel she is working on completing.

Think happier. Think calmer.

Think about subscribing for free weekly tools here.

No SPAM, ever! Read the Privacy Policy for more information.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Life is short. So we’ll keep this copy short.

Live your happiest life. Get my research-based happiness newsletter delivered conveniently to your inbox.

No SPAM, ever! Read the Privacy Policy for more information.