As a publisher, sometimes you come across projects that can
unexpectedly reshape the direction of your company and your life.
Take the subject of supplements and your health—Part Three.
Establishing yourself as an upstart indie publisher is not always easy. In the early 1980s, my first company had begun to get some visibility as an alternative health publisher with authors such as Ann Wigmore, Michio Kushi, and Nancy Appleton. Initially, as a small house, I had been the one searching for authors, so it was a nice surprise to get a phone call one day from a writer looking to have a book published. The voice on the other end introduced herself as Dr. Shari Lieberman. She told me she was a registered nutritionist with a PhD, and that she had a manuscript she wanted to show me on natural supplements. I said, “You mean like vitamins and minerals?” She said, “Exactly, but with a twist.” Even over the phone, it was obvious to me that Shari was a force of nature. We set up a meeting at my office at the end of the week.
At our first meeting, I quickly learned that Shari was as smart, brash, and vivacious in person as she had been on the phone. She told me that her first book had been published by Doubleday. They had done one large printing, sold out of copies, and then simply put the book out-of-print. She was told by her editor that they didn’t like her approach to health. And when I asked her about her “approach,” that’s when it got very interesting. She explained the following to me:
For decades, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) had published the official recommended “dietary guidelines” for the public’s daily vitamin and mineral intake, and it had over time become the nutritional bible for both nutritionists and doctors. After working on her doctorate, Shari discovered a very interesting fact. The amounts offered in the USDA guidelines had nothing to do with maintaining quality health. Instead these guidelines provided only enough nutrients to stave off any serious disease. In order to create this list, over the years, the government had conducted tests using prisoners to learn what the least amount of a nutrient was to prevent a disease from occurring such as scurvy or rickets. This research became the basis for their guidelines. And while that may have made sense in the 1800s, Shari thought that it no longer made sense in today’s world.
After reviewing hundreds of scientific reports and studies, she learned that while small amounts of nutrients may have avoided various diseases, many supplements when taken in larger amounts could greatly improve the state of a person’s health. The problem that was most trade book publishers insisted that their authors use only those daily amounts listed in the USDA guidelines. That may have been the problem she had run into at Doubleday. Would I be interested, she asked, in publishing a book on vitamins and minerals that was based on the latest research, not the ones put out by the USDA?
I asked if she had that research available to back up what would be in the book? She smiled and said the reference section in the book would probably run about 100 pages, just in case anyone has any questions. She then pulled out the manuscript from her oversized handbag, and handed it to me. As it turned out, what I read there was so vastly different from all the other health books then available—and yet all the suggested amounts of nutrients were fully backed up by science. That was the beginning of a long and enjoyable relationship that I had with Shari as her publisher. And as you can see from our partial list of shown titles below, it was also the project that taught me how important the right amounts of nutrients can be to our overall health.
One final note: In 1990, the USDA did in fact revise their guidelines in a more wholistic and individualized way, and I have often wondered if it was Shari’s influence on public opinion that helped generate these new changes.
Glycemic Index Food Guide ($7.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0245-8)
What You Must Know About Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and So Much More 2nd Edition ($16.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0471-1)
Healing With Iodine ($16.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0467-4)
Turmeric for Your Health ($15.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0452-0)
Sodium Bicarbonate ($16.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0394-3)
Magnificent Magnesium ($14.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0391-2)
The Magnesium Solution for High Blood Pressure ($5.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0255-7)
The Magnesium Solution for Migraine Headaches ($5.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0256-4)
Dr. Earl Mindell’s Guide to Healing With CBD ($12.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0521-3)
To see some of my previous posts, I invite you to visit our website at www.squareonepublishers.com, and click the “NOTES FROM” tab.
Rudy Shur, Publisher