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About the author

Howard Rokofsky never knew what to do with his life until he became a teacher. Before that, he'd tried just about everything. At age 13, after failing at gardening and shoveling snow, he went for broke and started delivering newspapers, 7 days a week. In those days, carriers went door-to-door collecting the subscription fees, and that's unheard of nowadays. The ambitious adolescent spent his wages on baseball cards which he, until age 17, traded and sold on a fairly large scale (years before the internet). Nearly all his dealings were with emotionally fragile, middle-aged men, and this turned out to be an invaluable lesson in communication skills.

Summers, while at university, he delivered heavy liquid O₂ tanks to terminal patients' homes around New York City, refining his bedside manner and strengthening his back muscles. Although most bridges were forbidden to his hazardous materials, he had an emergency parking permit that allowed him to park anywhere he wanted - and he did.

After touring Europe, he enrolled in a master's program at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), living off proceeds from the baseball cards and, after his visa expired, whatever he could do to pay the rent and avoid having to return to his native USA. Cooking, catering, red-light district bartending, volunteering at an illegal sauna club, interpreting for drug dealers, and 'donating' bodily fluids are just some of the exploits he employed as a relatively integrated, albeit illegal alien.

One day, he got wind of a teaching position at a local college. He had no desire to teach, but he was broke and needed a job. Fortunately for him, they didn't ask to see a resident visa and hired him on the spot. On Day One, when he walked into a lecture hall full of bright-eyed students, he knew this was a job he could sink his teeth into. As luck would have it, he had a knack for the Presentation Skills module, so after his contract ran out, he went freelance and started training corporates in 'soft skills': negotiations, assertiveness, EQ, and presentations. His pet project was a few semesters of 'Clinical Empathy' at the Charles University Faculty of Medicine (Prague) and, for the past seven years, he's been agonizing over this book, trying to make every word count.

Travels have included, in addition to the standard fare of train tickets and backpacking, lots of hitchhiking, couchsurfing, trespassing, and squatting. Ever flirting with danger, he's been in and out of a fair amount of trouble and has survived to write this book with no major scars. Except for that broken femur.