Yager, Jan 1948-

views updated

YAGER, Jan 1948-

(J. L. Barkas, Janet Barkas)

PERSONAL: Born December 16, 1948, in Manhattan, NY; daughter of William (a dentist) and Gladys Rose (a teacher) Barkas; married Fred Yager. Education: Hofstra University, B.A., 1970; Goddard College, M.A. (criminal justice), 1977; City University of New York Graduate Center, Ph.D. (sociology), 1983. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, painting, drawing, cooking, movies, theater.

ADDRESSES: Office—1127 High Ridge Rd., #110, Stamford, CT 06905. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer and speaker. Macmillan Co., New York, NY, editorial assistant, 1971–72, assistant editor, 1972–73; Grove Press, New York, NY, editor and director of subsidiary and foreign rights, 1973–74; New School for Social Research, adjunct faculty, 1973–75; Temple University, adjunct assistant professor, 1975–76; Marymount Manhattan College, Manhattan, NY, coordinator of Crime Prevention Resource Center, 1978–79. Lecturer, New School for Social Research, fall, 1973, 1975; St. John's University, adjunct assistant professor, 1980; visiting professor, Pennsylvania State University, spring, 1981; associate professor, New York Institute of Technology, 1983–85; University of Connecticut, adjunct sociology professor, 1999–. Exhibitor of collages, paintings, and drawings, 1976.

MEMBER: Authors Guild, Dramatists Guild, American Society of Journalists and Authors, American Sociological Association, Mystery Writers of America, National Organization on Victim Assistance, National Association of Professional Organizers, Women's Media Group, New York Women in Television and Film, American Society of Training and Development, National Speakers Association.


(As Janet Barkas) The Vegetable Passion: A History of the Vegetarian State of Mind, Routledge and Kegan (London, England), 1975, published under name Jan Yager as The Vegetable Passion, Scribner (New York, NY), 1975.

(As Janet Barkas) Meatless Cooking: Celebrity Style, Grove (New York, NY), 1975.

Making Your Office Work for You, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1989.

Business Protocol: How to Survive and Succeed in Business, Wiley (New York, NY), 1991, 2nd edition, Hannacroix Creek Books (Stamford, CT), 1998.

(With Michael J. Thorpy) The Encyclopedia of Sleep and Sleep Disorders, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1991, 2nd edition published as Sleeping Well: The Encyclopedia of Sleep and Sleep Disorders, 2001.

Friendshifts: The Power of Friendship and How it Shapes Our Lives, Hannacroix Creek Books (Stamford, CT), 1997, 2nd edition, 1999.

(With Fred Yager) Untimely Death: A Novel, Hannacroix Creek Books (Stamford, CT), 1998.

Creative Time Management for the New Millennium: Become More Productive and Still Have Time for Fun, Hannacroix Creek Books (Stamford, CT), 1999.

The Canteloupe Cat, illustrated by Mitzi Lyman, 1999.

(With others) The Healing Power of Creative Mourning: Poems, Hannacroix Creek Books (Stamford, CT), 2000.

(With Fred Yager) Just Your Everyday People: A Novel, Hannacroix Creek Books (Stamford, CT), 2001.

When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.

Road Signs on Life's Journey: Sayings and Insights to Help You Find Your Way, Hannacroix Creek Books (Stamford, CT), 2003.

(With Fred Yager) Career Opportunities in the Film Industry, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2003.


Victims, Scribner (New York, NY), 1978.

The Help Book, Scribner (New York, NY), 1979.

Single in America, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1980.

Creative Time Management, Prentice-Hall (New York, NY), 1984.

How to Write Like a Professional, Arco (New York, NY), 1985.

Friendship: A Selected Annotated Bibliography, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1985.

Contributor, sometimes under name J. L. Barkas, to the New York Times, Harper's, Family Circle, McCall's, Woman's Day, Modern Bride, Redbook, Parade, Online publications of the Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Exec Update, and other periodicals. Freelance drama critic, Backstage, 1972–79.

Author's works have been translated into French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Italian, Hebrew, Korean, and Greek.

ADAPTATIONS: Some of author's works have been adapted for audio cassette.

SIDELIGHTS: The mugging of her older brother in 1969 and unsatisfactory reactions from authorities and acquaintances to his death led Jan Yager (the former J. L. Barkas) to devote five years to studying criminology and the effects of violent crime on its victims and their families and friends. "My family and I learned that the violation committed by the criminal is only the first victimization," Yager related in Victims, her analysis of how crime victims are treated. "There are others, just as devastating, perpetrated by society and the criminal justice system. If I spoke about my brother's murder, people often recoiled," the author explained. "At times they didn't empathize, they didn't sympathize, they didn't get angry. They said, 'Well, why was he walking down that street?' 'What time of night was it?' They acted as though my brother Seth had done something wrong, as though I were now doing something wrong to mourn him or to be angry." Yager proposes that most people tend to blame victims in order to feel that crime is something avoidable, rather than a random act. "This may be one of the most shocking, outrageous, and terrifying books you will read this year," wrote Best Sellers contributor John L. Stubing. "It is shocking because it shows the true dimensions of a problem we already know to be out of control; it is outrageous because it reveals how poorly we cope with this menace; and it is terrifying because it's about us."

Besides recounting numerous interviews with victims and their families, Yager "records the shocking fact that modern society had virtually no mechanisms for compensating victims until 1964, and shows that there has been a less than overwhelming growth of compassion since then," commented Jay Becker in the Washington Post. The author also provides data on the inadequacy of the few victim compensation programs that exist, as well as statistics concerning violent crime. Becker noted, however, that there was a lack of information about possible solutions. But Stubing believed that Victims "is certainly more than an indictment of our system, because [Yager] shows what positive things are being done to alter our sad course. This is no dry scholarly work," the critic continued, for Yager "writes with a restrained passion which smolders throughout." Becker similarly noted that "at her best [the author] recreates the emotions of the victim (and the secondary victim) with a directness and clarity that is impossible to ignore." The critic concluded that "short of working in a crisis center, it is hard to find as poignant and piercing a cry for victims' rights as in [this] book."

Yager once told CA that for her book, Making Your Office Work for You, "I worked as a temporary in a variety of office settings as well as interviewing and surveying hundreds of office workers and experts in a diverse range of jobs and occupations. I applied my sociologist's eye and my journalist's skill to seeing the office as a place that should be an extension of who we are, as well as the work we do. One of the key themes to the book is that we all have more control over the effectiveness of where we work than we think, whether that is a small workstation in a huge corporation, a corner office with a window in a medium-sized company, or the dining room table in a suburban home. The book covers everything from design, lighting, and organization to health concerns such as indoor air pollution, organizing for safety and less stress."

In The Encyclopedia of Sleep Disorders, Yager and coauthor, sleep expert Michael J. Thorpy, M.D., present a comprehensive guide to sleep and its disorders, including more than 800 terms. Ranging from a few lines to several pages in length, the entries cover a wide variety of sleep problems and are written in language accessible to nonmedical people.

In When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon or Wound You, Yager returns to a topic she explored earlier in Friendshifts: The Power of Friendship and How It Shapes Our Lives. The former discusses perspectives on friendship, including Yager's concepts of "the great friend approach" and "the modern friend approach," definitions of casual, close, or best friends, especially how to make, keep, and improve friendships, with a chapter on coping with friendships that end. The latter concentrates on the darker side of friendship, including betrayal and abandonment. Yager discusses what a friend is, as well as twenty-one types of potentially negative friends, such as the promise breaker, the interloper, the abuser, the fault-finder, and the controller. She provides methods for readers to examine their friendships in light of these behavior patterns, and includes conflict resolution techniques. She also encourages readers to move away from negative friendships and replace them with positive, supportive ones.

Yager once told CA: "In all my books, including my new books on friendship, developed from my dissertation but greatly expanded over the next twenty years with additional research…. I am committed to helping people take more control over their lives and relationships. I have dedicated myself to researching and writing popular books that are also provocative, in-depth and solid." Yager added that in addition to writing, "I enjoy traveling throughout the United States, internationally, and locally, conducting seminars and workshops, as well as keynote addresses and consulting."



Barkas, J. L., Victims, Scribner (New York, NY), 1978.


Best Sellers, August, 1978.

Booklist, November 1, 2001, review of Sleeping Well: The Encyclopedia of Sleep and Sleep Disorders, p. 514.

Chest, September, 1992, Larry J. Findley, review of The Encyclopedia of Sleep and Sleep Disorders, p. 16; March, 2002, Lee K. Brown, review of Sleeping Well: The Encyclopedia of Sleep and Sleep Disorders, p. 1010.

Chicago Tribune, August 27, 1989.

Children's Bookwatch, November, 1998, review of The Cantaloupe Cat, p. 6; May, 1999, review of The Cantaloupe Cat, p. 7.

Library Journal, June 15, 1991, review of Business Protocol: How to Survive and Succeed in Business, p. 88; November 15, 1996, review of Friendshifts: The Power of Friendship and How It Shapes Our Lives, p. 76; May 15, 2002, Kay Brodie, review of When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You, p. 114.

Management Review, January, 1990, review of Making Your Office Work for You, p. 61.

People, April 30, 1979.

Publishers Weekly, November 4, 1996, review of Friendshifts, p. 58; June 17, 2002, review of When Friendship Hurts, p. 56.

School Library Journal, June, 1999, review of The Cantaloupe Cat, p. 110.

Washington Post, July 17, 1978.


Jan Yager Home Page, http://www.janyager.com (August 21, 2002).

"When Friendship Hurts" Web site, http://www.whenfriendshiphurts.com/ (August 21, 2002), Web site for When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You.

Women's Creativity Web site, http://www.womenscreativity.com/ (August, 21, 2002), review of Friendshifts.