PERSONAL: Male; married; children: two. Education: Lehigh University, B.A. (journalism), 1981.
ADDRESSES: Home—Lehigh, PA. Agent—c/o Rodale Press, 33 East Minor Street, Emmaus, PA 18098. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Author and motivational speaker. Executive writer, Men's Health, Emmaus, PA.
(Editor) Bicycling Magazine's Training for Fitness and Endurance, Rodale (Emmaus, PA), 1990.
(With Lam Kam Chuen) Wisdom of Our Fathers: Timeless Life Lessons on Health, Wealth, God, Golf, Fear, Fishing, Sex, Serenity, Laughter, and Hope, Rodale (Emmaus, PA), 1999.
The Father's Guide to the Meaning of Life: What Being a Dad Has Taught Me about Hope, Love, Patience, Pride, and Everyday Wonder, Rodale (Emmaus, PA), 2000.
(Author of foreword) Five Minutes to Orgasm Every Time You Make Love: Female Orgasm Made Simple, by D. Claire Hutchins, JPS Publishing (Grand Prairie, TX), 2000.
Another Shot: How I Relived My Life in Less than a Year, Rodale (Emmaus, PA) 2001.
Accidental Courage: Finding out I'm a Bit Brave after All, Rodale (Emmaus, PA), 2002.
Also author of numerous articles on men's health.
ADAPTATIONS: Another Shot has been optioned by Turtleback Productions. Author's works have been recorded on audio cassette.
SIDELIGHTS: As executive writer for Men's Health, Joe Kita has been in a perfect position to offer advice. In his work for the magazine he has covered a variety of subjects pertinent to men's physical and emotional well-being, including an illustrated article on scars and the effect of bicycle seats on male fertility. But it was, in large part, the advice of someone else who put him in his present position. "The best advice I ever got," Kita told editor-in-chief David Zinczenko of Men's Health, "came after I had resigned the editorship of another magazine to take a lowly writing job at Men's Health. Many people interpreted it as a backward career step. But, as my friend Pat told me, you always want to be riding the train with the most momentum, even if you're in the caboose. Now I have no doubt it was the right move."
About three years after his father's death, Kita wrote Wisdom of Our Fathers: Timeless Life Lessons on Health, Wealth, God, Golf, Fear, Fishing, Sex, Serenity, Laughter, and Hope with Lam Kam Chuen. Kita interviewed 200 fathers across the country ranging in age from forty to ninety-two, some of them famous, some of them "ordinary dads." Los Angeles Times reviewer Shari Roan commented, "Perhaps the moral of the story for men is that Dad does know best. Just ask him."
In The Father's Guide to the Meaning of Life: What Being a Dad Has Taught Me about Hope, Love, Patience, Pride, and Everyday Wonder, Kita articulates the often transcendent experiences of being a father in order to offer guidance to other fathers. In distilling the lessons his two children have taught him, Kita comes up with accessible topics such as Play, Secrets, and God. "[T]his little guide is packed with food for thought and poignant moments that will be appreciated by fathers young and old," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Despite his confidence and his avowed contentment with his life, Kita is a writer who looks back. In doing so he reassesses the choices he had made and helps direct his future. When he turned forty, "rather than shrugging off the past," wrote Jim Burns in Library Journal, "he made a list of twenty lingering disappointments and sought to set things right." The result was his book Another Shot: How I Relived My Life in Less than a Year. His regrets are both trivial (losing his hair) and profound (spending too little time with his children), but there are lessons to be learned throughout this journey. In revisiting the disappointment of being cut from his high school basketball team, Kita trains for six weeks before trying out for the team with kids half his age. And wanting to be a better partner to his wife of fifteen years, the couple attend a sex-therapy workshop. Kita engages a private detective to locate his first car, a 1979 Chevy Camaro. He hires a psychic to communicate with his father, who died suddenly, without giving Kita the chance to say farewell.
Some of his experiences remaking his life are more successful than others, but all in all, "Kita pulls it off with wit and aplomb," a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote of the essays. The book itself, however, has been a decided success. Another Shot sold for six figures, and the movie rights were optioned by Turtleback Productions. "It's a midlife crisis transformed into a parade of humorous, lively, and sometimes poignant opportunities," wrote Michael Reid in Hope magazine, adding that Kita proves "the power of its central premise: we can find ways to build a better life out of an imperfect past."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 1999, review of Wisdom of Our Fathers: Timeless Life Lessons on Health, Wealth, God, Golf, Fear, Fishing, Sex, Serenity, Laughter, and Hope, p. 790.
Library Journal, June 1, 2001, Jim Burns, review of Another Shot: How I Relived My Life in Less than a Year, p. 174.
Los Angeles Times, July 19, 1999, Shari Roan, review of Wisdom of Our Fathers, p. 6.
Men's Health, March, 1999, "Hired Gun," "The Whoopee Cushion," p. 61; May 2001, "A World of Hurt," p. 14; June, 2002, David Zinczenko, "The Son Also Advises," p. 20; July 2001, "Decisions, Decisions," p. 12; September, 2001, "Redford, Casanova, and Me," p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, May 29, 2000, review of The Father's Guide to the Meaning of Life: What Being a Dad Has Taught Me about Hope, Love,Patience, Pride, and Everyday Wonder, p. 74; April 16, 2001, John F. Baker, "PB, Movie Deals for Kita," p. 16; April 23, 2001, review of Another Shot p. 67.
Hope,http://www.hopemag.com/ (December 31, 2001).
Joe Kita Web site,http://www.joekita.com (May 7, 2003).*