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

Maria Goodavage


October 24, 2016
SECRET SERVICE DOGS by Maria Goodavage Wherever the president goes, there will be dogs. They’ll be there no matter what the country or state. They’ll be there regardless of the political climate, the danger level, the weather, or the hour. Maria Goodavage’s new book Secret Service Dogs immerses readers in the heart of this elite world of canine teams who protect first families, popes, and presidential candidates: the selection of dogs and handlers, their year-round training, their missions around the world, and, most important, the bond—the glue that holds the teams together and can mean the difference between finding bombs and terrorists or letting them slip by. Secret Service Dogs celebrates the Secret Service’s most unforgettable canine heroes. It is a must-read for fans of Maria Goodavage, anyone who wants a rare inside view of the United States Secret Service, or just loves dogs. “Goodavage’s subjects and their companions are quirky and dedicated enough to engage readers wondering about those dogs on the White House lawn,” our reviewer writes. View video >

H.W. Brands


October 11, 2016
THE GENERAL VS. THE PRESIDENT by H.W. Brands As noted historian H.W. Brands reveals in his new book The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War, at the height of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world. When asked by a reporter about the possible use of atomic weapons in response to China's entry into the war, Truman replied testily, "The military commander in the field will have charge of the use of the weapons, as he always has." This suggested that General Douglas MacArthur, the willful, fearless, and highly decorated commander of the American and U.N. forces, had his finger on the nuclear trigger. A correction quickly followed, but the damage was done; two visions for America's path forward were clearly in opposition, and one man would have to make way. Truman was one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. General MacArthur, by contrast, was incredibly popular, as untouchable as any officer has ever been in America. The contest of wills between these two titanic characters unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of a faraway war and terrors conjured at home by Joseph McCarthy. “An exciting, well-written comparison study of two American leaders at loggerheads during the Korean War crisis,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >