Chicken liver pate with radishes & chives

I went to a talk by a cookbook author who said she’d figured out a system for efficient home cooking: big pots of beans and soup, dishes that could be frozen and reheated. The concepts would have been obvious to any old-fashioned cook, and they are good, practical concepts. But her specific advice was so complicated and confusing that you’d need an app to have a chance of following her system.

My daughter rolled her eyes and whispered, “You could write a better book.” We slipped out and went to dinner.

I don’t know if I could write a better…


A friend came to me furious because, unlike her colleagues’ publishers, the company that produced her book wasn’t arranging a launch party or media interviews. I thought that her book had been beautifully edited and produced (very quickly because the subject was time-sensitive), and that she had paid a very modest fee to have this done.

“Did you agree that they would handle promotion and marketing?” I asked. The question didn’t register. She’d arranged to have the book “published” and to her that meant everything she saw happen with other people’s books. She didn’t know that her colleagues’ parties and…


Dad’s counter. My brother Jim drew this and wrote, “It was octal because each set of three binary light colored corresponded to each octal digit. In those days, octal was fairly common in computer architectures.”

Back in 2014 I wrote an e-letter entitled “Amazon update: when will the Justice Department step in?”

“Never,” most people, even lawyers, said. But things have changed, and maybe antitrust law will move into the 21 st-century.

I’m thrilled to say that the time has come: the Justice Department is investigating Big Tech — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

Lina Khan is the law school who set this in motion, and I rejoiced when I read her story last year. Here’s the article in the New York Times.


Berkshire Publishing is about to release five books by the eminent and inimitable critic Marvin Mudrick, just as the 50th anniversary year of the College of Creative Studies begins. This article, published in a college magazine ten years ago, led one of his daughters to me, and our correspondence eventually led to an expanded circle of former students and admirers, and to my having the awesome opportunity to introduce Marvin Mudrick. More to come.

From the UCSB Alumnus magazine, 2006

I chose UCSB over Yale because of Marvin Mudrick, and there were times I thought I’d been crazy to do so. (Many other people, then and…

Karen Christensen

CEO at Berkshire Publishing Group and author specializing in sustainability, community, social networking, China education, and world history.

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