Fishman, Steve 1955-
FISHMAN, Steve 1955-
Born August 3, 1955. Education: Attended Brown University, until 1976.
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Free Press, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
Journalist. Worked for Norwich Bulletin, Norwich, CT, and Miami Herald, Miami, FL; stringer for Christian Science Monitor, the Associated Press, and Newsweek; editor for United Press International.
Rotary Foundation fellowship; Inter-American Press Association fellowship; President's Award, American Medical Association; three-time winner of the Best Magazine Story Award, American Society of Journalists and Authors.
A Bomb in the Brain: A Heroic Tale of Science, Surgery, and Survival, Scribner (New York, NY), 1988.
Karaoke Nation; or, How I Spent a Year in Search of Glamour, Fulfillment, and a Million Dollars, Free Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times (magazine), Rolling Stone, Health, Details, GQ, New York, Vogue, and Success.
In 1983 journalist Steve Fishman was twenty-eight and in Nicaragua when a genetic malformation in his brain caused him to quickly return to New York. His mother put him in the care of a team of neurosurgeons who examined him, scanned his brain, and performed an angiogram and brain surgery to repair the damage that had resulted from the hemorrhaging of a blood vessel. Fishman survived, but approximately one year later he developed epilepsy, which caused another set of problems and forced him to make adjustments in his life. His A Bomb in the Brain: A Heroic Tale of Science, Surgery, and Survival is a memoir of this period and a source of information about the various conditions that require brain surgery, how it is performed, and the intense emotions that Fishman observed in the surgeons who perform procedures that are sometimes as much about intuition as they are about medical knowledge. He writes of watching the videotape of his operation by Dr. Eugene S. Flamm and the operations of others, including one during which Flamm could not find the source of bleeding and nearly lost his self-control.
"It is in the telling of his own story, an adventure with just the scent of a Ulysses about it, that Fishman pays his dues here in this literary tour de force," wrote Robert H. Williams in the Washington Post. Williams noted that although the book is a chronology, "every time the chronology demands some explanation, Fishman stops and gives a complete chapter on the history of neuroradiology, the history of neurosurgery, the biography of the titanic figure of a brain surgeon who wears open-heeled clogs in the operating room and shouts obscenities at tumor, staff, and patient as he wields long-handled knives in the pursuit of the physiological devils that cloud men's minds." Psychology Today reviewer Marjory Roberts called Fishman "a wonderful writer with powerful insights. He is also a fine reporter, though at times his thorough accounts of doctors past and present threaten to crowd out his own tale. But the juxtaposition serves a purpose. In weaving his story with theirs, Fishman shows that it is the ultimate business of both doctor and patient to preserve life. And the worlds they inhabit seem less distant when we peer beyond the technology of medicine and into the lives of those who pioneer the inexact science of healing."
Fishman's second book is also about him, but this time it concerns his time as an Internet entrepreneur during the 1990s dot.com boom. In Karaoke Nation; or, How I Spent a Year in Search of Glamour, Fulfillment, and a Million Dollars, Fishman details how, without the benefit of any business experience, he pursued the idea of a hip-hop karaoke Web site that would make him rich. He started with three thousand dollars in seed money from New York magazine to help him create his karaoke community. He was advised in this endeavor by big names in the world of hip hop, such as Russell Simmons of Def Jam records, as well as by a promoter, a lawyer, and others, but no one else offered to invest their money, nor did Fishman ever get an actual commitment, and so he sold and "became a thousandaire, not a millionaire," as Abby Ellin commented in the New York Times. Boston Globe commentator Tom Ehrenfeld further noted that in losing the company, Fishman gained the time to write the book: "Which is a good thing: He is a terrific writer with a smart take on the insanity around him."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Fishman, Steve, A Bomb in the Brain: A Heroic Tale of Science, Surgery, and Survival, Scribner (New York, NY), 1988.
Fishman, Steve, Karaoke Nation; or, How I Spent a Year in Search of Glamour, Fulfillment, and a Million Dollars, Free Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Booklist, April 15, 2003, David Siegfried, review of Karaoke Nation; or, How I Spent a Year in Search of Glamour, Fulfillment, and a Million Dollars, p. 1434.
Boston Globe, May 18, 2003, Tom Ehrenfeld, review of Karaoke Nation, p. D2.
Houston Chronicle, November 15, 1992, Jane E. Brody, review of A Bomb in the Brain: A Heroic Tale of Science, Surgery, and Survival, p. 12.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2003, review of Karaoke Nation, p. 520.
Library Journal, May 1, 2003, Stacey Marien, review of Karaoke Nation, p. 131.
New York Times, July 13, 2003, Abby Ellin, review of Karaoke Nation, Section 3, p. 5.
Psychology Today, December, 1988, Marjory Roberts, review of A Bomb in the Brain, p. 68.
Toronto Star, January 11, 2004, Nick Krewen, review of Karaoke Nation, p. D14.
Washington Post, January 31, 1989, Robert H. Williams, review of A Bomb in the Brain, p. Z9.