Nev Schulman
author of IN REAL LIFE
Nev Schulman is famous as the host of MTV’s Catfish, where he investigates situations where people fall in love online with…someone who’s not entirely the person they say they are. Schulman is a good investigator because the same thing happened to him. In his new book In Real Life, Schulman explains how to stay sane online (and why to occasionally stay off social media), all while honestly revealing his own vulnerabilities.


Searching for the overlap of our online selves and our “real life” selves.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the words “Internet dating” were a badge of dishonor, considered the last-ditch effort for single men and women. Of course, with the Internet now entirely fluid in popular culture, it becomes easy to misrepresent yourself online. Catfish is the MTV series started by Schulman (itself an extension of his earlier documentary of the same name), someone who fell hook, line and sinker for online dating deception. With this book, the author aspires to create an extension of that show, to “dig into the deeper issues that motivate” such deception and that motivate anyone who spends significant time on their online relationships. Schulman makes inroads deep into armchair-quarterbacking territory with broad psychological generalizations that seem derived from his own experience and the carefully chosen examples his show has chosen to feature. A section titled “Fear” declares, “No duh, right? Hiding behind a fake profile is a pretty good sign that someone is terrified of being themselves.” Catfish fans could take umbrage at a reviewer pulling a quote that makes Schulman an easy target, but every page is peppered with bromides that offer little in the way of useful insight, aimed more at establishing the author as, in his words, “a guru on digital love.” There are islands of good advice, however—e.g., “invest in creating the content of your life” rather than a well-curated Facebook timeline—but more than half the book is more concerned with Schulman’s positioning himself as a guru than attaining any depth.

Another quote from the book, one more telling about “catfishing,” comes from comedian Marc Maron, who said that every status update is essentially a plea: “Would someone please acknowledge me?”

Recent Interviews

Jason Gay


November 17, 2015
LITTLE VICTORIES by Jason Gay In the 1990s, copies of Richard Carlson’s Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and its many sequels) were seemingly everywhere, giving readers either the confidence to prioritize their stresses or despondence over the slender volume’s not addressing their particular set of problems. While not the first book of its kind, it kicked open the door for an industry of self-help, worry-reduction advice guides. In his first book, Little Victories, Wall Street Journal sports columnist Gay takes less of a guru approach, though he has drawn an audience of readers appreciative of reportage that balances insights with a droll, self-deprecating outlook. He occasionally focuses his columns on “the Rules” (of Thanksgiving family touch football, the gym, the office holiday party, etc.), which started as a genial poke in the eye at the proliferation of self-help books and, over time, came to explore actual advice “both practical and ridiculous” and “neither perfect nor universal.” The author admirably combines those elements in every piece in the book. View video >

Rajiv Chandrasekaran


November 10, 2015
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY by Howard Schultz In For Love of Country, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and National Book Award nominee Rajiv Chandrasekaran honor acts of uncommon valor in Iraq and Afghanistan, including an army sergeant who runs into a hail of gunfire to protect his comrades; two marines who chose to stand and defend their outpost from an oncoming truck bomb; and a 60-year-old doctor who joined the navy after his son was killed at war, saving dozens of lives during his service. We also see how veterans turn their leadership skills into community-building initiatives once they return home: former soldiers who aid residents in rebuilding after natural disasters; an infantry officer who trades in a Pentagon job to teach in an inner-city neighborhood; the spouse of a severely injured soldier assisting families in similar positions. These powerful, unforgettable stories demonstrate just how indebted we are to those who protect us and what they have to offer our nation when their military service is over. View video >

Upcoming Kirkus Interviews

December 8, 2015
Laura Lane and Angela Spera