MM: Was there ever a point at the height of your career where you questioned your journey, or did it not hit you until you left Oprah?
SS: After I graduated from the University of Iowa, I stumbled through myriad ill-fitting jobs. I was dutiful and devoted and would try and turn every experience into my road to retirement. Walking into the world of Oprah at 35 years old, in an entry-level position, was the equivalent of a career Powerball win. Once I entered that magical Emerald City, I had the ride of my life. I also had the perfect excuse to avoid the areas of my life that were more difficult for me. I began to feel that unless I made some major shifts in how I moved through the world, I would end my days having created the career of my dreams but not the life of my dreams.
MM: How do you approach your days and your time and see the world now?
SS: These days I place the highest priority on self-care. For me, that means daily meditation, a workout, a plant-powered diet, great sleep, uplifting relationships and building my professional life in and around my spiritual practices. I am at my best when I deliberately choose happiness and maintain my focus on appreciation.
MM: What do you value the most now? What do you encourage others to value?
SS: I value choosing happiness. In most every other area of our lives, I have come to understand, we are not one size fits all: each person’s joyride must be fashioned from a personal recipe. A pinch of this good thing. A pinch of that good thing. Happy people spill their love all over their areas of influence. That is the way we make our contribution to the whole, through the offering of our own happiness. And that is how the world rises up.
MM: What advice would you give to a young girl entering the workforce today?
SS: Make happiness your compass from the start. That’s your real goal. The external trappings fall into place once you are lit on fire with joy and passion. No one is ever going to praise you for 90-hour workweeks. And 90-hour workweeks don’t determine your value. What inspires others is your own happiness. Becoming the most trustworthy steward of your own well-being.
by Sheri Salata (Northern California), Harper Wave, $26.99.
After 20 years with The Oprah Winfrey Show and OWN the network and witnessing the makeovers and transformations of others, Sheri Salata realized she’d neglected to cultivate the life of her dreams and decided to do something about it. In The Beautiful No, she candidly chronicles her journey of self-discovery, from detoxing in the desert to rediscovering friendships to opening up in sex therapy, tackling every adventure with an inspiring blend of humor and honesty. Appearing in conversation with April Gargiulo at Book Passage Corte Madera June 15, 4 p.m.
by Cara Black (San Francisco), Soho Crime, $27.95.
In the 19th installment of the Aimée Leduc series, danger hits too close to home when Aimée’s own mother goes missing. This knife-sharp and riveting story winds its way through Paris’ 12th arrondissement, pulling Aimée into a knotted web of international spycraft and postcolonial Franco-African politics. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera June 2, 4 p.m.
by Louise Aronson (San Francisco), Bloomsbury Publishing, $30.
As humans live longer than ever, the question of how we take care of our elderly — and, indeed, what it means to be elderly — becomes more important than ever. Rather than buying into the idea of old age as something to be feared and neglected, Aronson pulls from her own experience as a geriatrician and from history, science and literature to offer a new vision of growing old — one that’s neither nightmarish nor unrealistically hopeful but instead consistently frank, embracing both frustration and joy. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera June 12, 7 p.m.
by Janet Napolitano (Berkeley), PublicAffairs, $26.
Few are as qualified to examine and critique the Department of Homeland Security as Janet Napolitano, who was DHS secretary from 2009 to 2013, overseeing 22 federal agencies. Her fascinating and insightful book takes an unflinching look at the multifaceted agency, exploring the current greatest U.S. security threats from cyber to climate, reckoning with DHS’s benefits and pitfalls. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera June 29, 1 p.m.
Local Page Turners Reviews by Book Passage Marketing Manager Kayla Beckman.