ON OUR MINDS
INSIGHTS AND ADVICE FROM
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Bad news is best delivered quickly and succinctly, so I’ll pass it on in just that
manner: What you hold in your hands is the final issue of Best Life. Despite
the extraordinary product we’ve produced, and the passionate devotion of
readers like you, business is, in the end, just like comedy: It’s all about timing.
As yet another ship founders in the ongoing economic storm, it’s easy
for us to embrace fear—to batten down the hatches and just hope the
rocking ends. But I’ve been through too many challenges like this over the
years not to understand one singular truth: You have to keep doing what
you do, as courageously as you can do it. I was reminded of that early in 2009, when my last
surviving grandparent, Eleanor Brendel, passed away just shy of her 96th birthday.
According to family legend, as a little girl growing up in Queens, my grandmother had a
friend whose name was also Eleanor. And her friend had a younger cousin who sometimes
tagged along with the two girls; his name was Anthony Benedetto. He later grew up to be a
singer and changed his name to Tony Bennett.
Now, more than eight decades had passed since then, and my grandmother wasn’t
entirely certain that the legendary crooner was indeed the same Anthony Benedetto she
remembered from her youth. But any brush with fame is worth adding to a family’s history,
and so we adopted it as part of our clan’s official tale.
In autumn of 2007, my wife, Jennifer, and I were facing a difficult choice. We were trying
to decide whether to bring another child into our lives. I already had two teenagers and was
at war with the thought of revisiting the land of leaking diapers and, more painfully, the
land of financial uncertainty. At a time when I needed to be stout at heart, my core felt more
like an overripe avocado. Jennifer and I needed to have The Big Conversation.
That conversation began to unfold during one of our travels, in a random diner in Kansas
City, Missouri. And as we sat there, struggling within our hearts, trying to meld our rational
and irrational feelings into one sound decision, looking for a sign, the unexpected happened.
Into that diner in Kansas City strolled
I wanted to walk up to his table and ask
him if he ever knew my grandmother, if
her recollection was correct, if he even had
a cousin named Eleanor, and what the hell
he was doing in a diner in Kansas City. But
I didn’t really want the answers. I didn’t
need to know the facts, because I had just
figured out the truth.
Yes, these are uncertain times, times of
recalibrating, retrenching, rethinking. And
that uncertainty means that we need to set
aside some of our dreams and endeavors for
now. We don’t know what the future holds,
but we do know that there are two ways to
handle a challenge: One can shrink from its
uncertainties, or embrace them with conviction and courage. In that Kansas City
diner, Tony Bennett—still rocking along at
nearly twice my age—sent me a sign. This
isn’t a time for battening down the hatches.
It’s a time for opening up the sails and
That’s a code the Best Life staff, and the Best Life reader,
will always live by. It’s a code I’ll enjoy sharing with our baby
daughter, Zoë, over and over again.
so many things,
is a choice. So
don’t choose it.”
Actor Ryan Reynolds, “Ryan
Reynolds’s Rules for Living,” page 98
should be asking
yourself is, ‘Will
this make me
Steven Lamm, MD,
“The Crucial Decade,” page 72
is a Gates.
Good ones are
Billy Goldberg, MD, “What If You
Were Going to Get Caught?”
hook you is true
Alex von Bidder, managing partner
of the Four Seasons restaurant in
NYC, “End Office Rage,” page 33