Thursday, June 07, 2012

Interview with Ken Druck

Ken Druck, Ph.D, has always had a desire to help people who were stuck or hurting… and with a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, he's been able to do just that.

After being on the front lines and in the trenches for the past 35 years, Dr. Ken Druck is considered one of the pioneers of male psychology, executive coaching, parent education and grief literacy. The distilled essence of his work on turning adversity into opportunity is captured in his new book, "The Real Rules of Life: Balancing Life's Terms with Your Own."

What was your path towards publication like?
This book wrote me. I had to relive the past 16 years of my life since my daughter's death while studying abroad in 1996, as well as everything I learned about how life really is from working with literally thousands of people who, like me, had been to the bottom of pain and back.

The essence of my work in healing after loss, and the tools for turning even the worst kinds of adversity, challenges, setbacks and life transitions into opportunities (for personal deepening, survival and becoming the better version of ourselves) is the basis of this book.

What is your biggest obstacle when it comes to pitching yourself as an author and what steps have you taken to overcome that obstacle?
My biggest obstacles are time and energy. There's only so much time in the day and only so much energy for me and my staff to expend in telling the world about this wonderful book. We are discovering ways of working smarter every day, which includes boldly asking friends and supporters to help us out, making sure we all come up for air regularly (rest, exercise and family) and prioritizing those opportunities that are likely to produce the best results.

How do you balance your life as an author with your duties as a business person, employee, parent and/or spouse?
I nurture and cultivate my health, relationships with family and friends and my business diligently by staying organized, disciplined and walking the talk. I could not do this, of course, without the love and support of an amazing life-partner, the steadfastness and dedication of amazing Executive Assistant, the tough love of both my "anne" and "earth" daughters and the playfulness of an irreverent lot of great people I am proud to call friends.

What is your best advice for finding new places to promote your work?
I am a believer in being proactive and animating my work into other art/creative teaching forms.

Many years ago while promoting my "Secrets Men Keep" book, I told Oprah I would not do her show unless she had an "all male audience" in the studio. She agreed and it was one of their all time best shows.

The Donahue show followed suit with the same great results. Helping Producers by giving them novel ways of animating my topic on their shows has almost always been an effective approach.

What was the best writing-related advice you ever received?
One of my mentors, author, Norman Cousins, once told me "The only thing that matters is, 'Do they want to turn the page?'"

His sage advice has helped guide me in more deeply connecting with my reader by telling them beautifully intriguing stories and producing a curiosity, if not a yearning, for what's next.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book?
The Real Rules of Life is about how life really is, and what it truly means to be human.

As its core, this book teaches self-compassion, authenticity, intimacy and gratitude.

Each chapter grounds the reader in another important aspect of reality ("real rule") and shows them, step by step, how to turn adversity into opportunity, pain into love, emptiness into fullness, indifference into compassion, etc..

Whether the reader is going through a horrific crisis, setback, challenge, transition or awakening to the realization that "It's time for a change," this book can be a great companion guide.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I wanted to share the wealth of what I have learned the past 16 years with the larger world. And this was a good way to do it.

As far as the title, a good friend whom I asked to read my first draft of the book commented, "You're really giving us the real rules of life here, aren't you?" and it stuck.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing this book?
Most difficult was telling the stories which evoked great sorrow, including my daughter's tragic death. Three things enabled me to manage (rather than "overcome") this difficulty.

First, was knowing that I could not be a credible resource to others going through a rough stretch until they understood exactly what had happened in my life.

Second was knowing that I could bear my sorrow.

And third was the fact that I possessed a restored sense of joy, beauty, hope, faith and strength.

Did you have to do any special research for your book?
My special research came from personal experience after losing my daughter and as the result of being an intimate part of 9-11, the Columbine High School shootings, Hurricane Katrina, etc.. I have also become a lifeline for literally thousands of surviving families all these years.

If you could choose just one thing for your book to accomplish, what would it be?
To touch, heal, lift, lighten and illumine the hearts and lives of people of all ages who are going through tough times. And provide wonderful tools for folks to use in empowering themselves.

What’s ahead for your writing?

Several new book ideas are on the horizon. One upcoming book is about The Real Rules for kids and their parents, another is about relationships and a third is about a new paradigm for getting older.

You can learn more about Ken Druck, Ph.D, at

Order The Real Rules of Life from


Do not reprint this post without permission. © Alyice Edrich

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