Curious 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 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.
(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…)
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
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.
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!)
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.
I 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.
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.
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.
Here’s a photo of me from the back of my first published book.
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.
He gave me an official blurb recommending my humor.
Karen Salmansohn has the wit and sass of a stand up comic.
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 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.”
(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.
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. 🙂
I recognized this was a big risk – but I truly felt it was a risk I needed to take.
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.
How to Be Happy Dammit was also highly designed on 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 How To Be Happy Dammit became an Urban Outfitter’s bestseller – for a few years in a row.
It was also recommended on Oprah’s site.
And Eminem wound up loving How To Be Happy Dammit so much that he put my book into one of his music videos!
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 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.
They encouraged me to write about my process of recovery.
So I wrote “The Bounce Back Book” – which became a big bestseller.
The Bounce Back Book earned me a column on “Psychology Today” as their resident “Bounce Back Expert.”
Plus The Bounce Back Book was also recommended on Oprah’s 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.
I am now a proud mom to an awesome son – raising him with a wonderful partner.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“self-help books you can give to a friend and not get slapped… because they look kind of cool.”
Workman, Chronicle, Rizzoli, Simon and Schuster, Broadway Books, Harmony Books, Tenspeed, Tricycle, Sourcebooks, etc…
OPRAH, Psychology Today, MSN, CNN, Yahoo, AOL, Mind Body Green, Huffingtonpost, Match, Bettyconfidential, Minyanville, Daily Love, etc.
The Today Show, The View, CNN, Bill Maher’s show, Fox and Friends – and hundreds of morning TV shows across the country.
The NY Times, Business Week, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Magazine, Marie Claire, Fast Company, InStyle, Self, ELLE, New Yorker, etc.
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”!)
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.
West Elm, Z-Galleries, Anthropology, ABC Carpet & Home, Barney’s, Fred Segals, Bendhal’s – and many famous fashion boutiques.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 whichI 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!
Live your happiest life. Get my research-based happiness newsletter delivered conveniently to your inbox.