Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide by Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide   by Dr. Jeanne Beckman
Finally, a book to help families find the right technology to accommodate reading disorders (dyslexia) and other disabilties! ISBN 978-1-60264-089-4

How to purchase my book

To purchase through Virtual Bookworm (my publisher) you can click Virtual Bookworm Publisher: Tech Psychologist's Guide or
Amazon no longer allows Illinois professionals to get credit for referrals to Amazon due to a sales tax dispute. I will be referring to Powell's in the near future.

What is that TinyURL notation that you see in my blog? For those who use a screen reader, the link that is hidden behind words like Tech Psychologist Guide remains hidden. However, screen readers can read aloud the website address, or URL, if it was produced by Also, sometimes these addresses are so long that they wrap around several lines or overlap into colored areas of a website that obscure the actual address. Intrigued? You can create your own tinyurl's at

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Keeping the focus, the Barry Salzberg Method

In an excellent New York Times article by Eve Tahmincioglu, Barry Salzberg spoke of how he overcame the barriers in his life and kept his focus on what he wanted to achieve.

The Boss

It’s All About Focus

THROUGHOUT my life with my parents, growing up in a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn, we rented an apartment and my father had two or three jobs. My mom worked as a clerk at a bank. Money and material belongings were at an absolute minimum. We didn’t own a car. Vacations were sparse.

I was in junior high when my dad passed away suddenly at age 56. It was sort of like: “This can’t be. Here I am without a dad.”

I started helping my mom by taking on summer jobs, and I worked as a payroll clerk for the New York City Board of Education.

I took responsibility for the family unit that consisted of me and my mother. I was the youngest of five siblings, and everyone else was out of the household by then. It created a level of independence and responsibility in me because I had to be helpful to my mother rather than a burden.

The turning point in my life came when I met my future wife, Evelyn. It was on a blind date and I was about 17. She bolstered my confidence and told me, “You could do a lot more than you’re planning on doing.”

At that point, I had very little vision, other than finishing high school and getting a job. I thought maybe I’d become a teacher. I liked math so I figured I could teach it.

She said: “No, no, no, Barry, you can do better. You’re smart.”

Evelyn’s parents owned their own home. Walking to their place one day, we were seeing all the beautiful houses and Evelyn said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if one day we owned a home and had a swimming pool?”

I said: “You’ve got to be kidding. I’ll never have a home, and who needs a swimming pool? I’m happy going to the public swimming pool.”

She said, “There’s no reason you can’t afford it just because your parents couldn’t.”

Evelyn’s parents were immigrants, both Holocaust survivors. Her parents would say positive things regarding what I could possibly do. They encouraged me to change my major in college to accounting from math, which I did. And they encouraged me to go to law school, which I did.

Her parents even helped us out when I went to law school after we married. We had an apartment for $190 a month in Canarsie. We paid $90 and they paid $100.

When I was a budding tax partner, my boss at Deloitte asked me to take on a leadership role, as the managing partner of a multifunctional group.

My wife said I should do it, and I did. But I had a lot of self-doubt and questions like, “What if I fail?”

During times like that, it’s about focus, tunnel vision, about learning as much as you can. Success is the only option and you kind of put your head down and drive.

When I was made a partner in 1985, we had a little bit of a celebration in New York for all the new partners. Four of the new partners went out to dinner with our spouses.

At dinner, with a little bit of wine in some of us, one of the partners said, in essence, that I was a token promotion.

I’m Jewish and there weren’t a lot of Jewish partners at the time.

My wife and I walked out of the dinner, and one other couple got up and walked out with us.

That comment was a huge eye-opener. The fact of the matter is, you begin to feel a bit uncomfortable. But I had to focus on who I was and what I had to do.

I was thrilled to be a partner and I wasn’t going to let that affect my excitement or my wife’s excitement, so we simply left. I attributed that night to the wine. I never held it against the guy, and I refused to allow it to take away from what I had accomplished. I didn’t think that was where my firm was, and I was right.

That’s one of the main reasons I’ve worked pretty hard to champion diversity and champion an inclusive culture since I became a partner.

How do you keep your focus? Is there a champion in your life who helps you to get and keep your focus?
Visit to find out about Dr. Jeanne Beckman, a tech expert who can coach you to achieve your focused goals.

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