Generation Chef

Chef Jonah Miller was 24 and in a hurry, so he quit his sous chef job and opened his own restaurant, Huertas, in New York City’s East Village. Generation Chef (with link) is the story of that dream come true – and about the high-stakes, high-speed world of the restaurant chef.

A Bon Appetit best food book, here.

A Tasting Table best food book, here:

"Fascinating account of how 20-something chef Jonah Miller elbowed his way onto New York City’s competitive culinary stage. Stabiner captures every moment of drama.” – Publishers Weekly

“A fast-paced, detailed book with plenty of drama." – Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The numbers don't lie: A positive New York Times review means an immediate sales spike for Huertas, the subject of Generation Chef. Read an excerpt about what Pete Wells’ praise meant for the bottom line here

Bon Appetit Best Books, 2017

Bon Appetit Best Books, 2017

My Girl: Adventures with a teen in training

Here’s a radical concept: Most girls are happy, and so are their mothers. Most girls are not destined for depression, eating disorders, low self-esteem and raging fights with their parents – that’s just a very noisy minority, according to Karen, who wrote what Publisher’s Weekly calls a “charming memoir” about life with her own daughter, Sarah, from age ten to fourteen.

With warmth, humor, and sharp insight, My Girl charts the first years of adolescence—and debunks the prevailing assumption that they bound to be miserable.

“My Girl is a wonderful girl-guide—a gentle road map through the State of Adolescence.” – Jamie Lee Curtis  

“Karen Stabiner writes her story with crackerjack timing, and not just for the funny stuff, but for that single sentence that pierces the heart in ways that are unexpected, poignant, ironic, and wise.” – Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex and School Girls

“I applaud My Girl with all my heart—for its eloquent argument that mothers and daughters don’t have to fight and, indeed, may love one another as long as they all may live.” – Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life

“Any mother who is terrified of the early onset of adolescence and is convinced her darling girl will turn into a terrifying alien with a pierced midriff will be reassured and even delighted by this book.” – Wendy Wasserstein

 “Karen Stabiner shatters the Mean Girls myth! Strong, independent, and loving girls are the rule, not the exception, as Stabiner's experience so engagingly reveals.” – Arianna Huffington

All Girls: Single-sex education and why it matters

Proponents of single-sex education warn that falling test scores, faltering self-image, math anxiety, and outright discrimination are all perils that await girls in coed classrooms. But cautionary tales emerge as well from all-girls schools-of rampant eating disorders, single-minded academic competition, and an overly protective environment that leaves girls ill prepared for the demands of college. 

Stabiner spent pivotal years with the young women of two very different girls’ schools: Marlborough School, an elite hundred-twelve-year-old prep school in Los Angeles, and The Young Women’s Leadership School in East Harlem, an embattled, controversial experiment within the New York City public school system that aims to give gifted inner-city girls a fighting chance. On both coasts, Stabiner’s subjects are fascinating young women, on the brink of adulthood, whose choices and academic performance will affect the course of their lives.

“Parents committed to bright futures for their daughters, girls who never seriously considered single-sex schools, and public school teachers who mistakenly believe that most girls are doing “just fine” in coeducational classrooms, owe it to themselves to read this powerful book.” – David Sadker, Ph.D., professor, American University, co-author of Failing at Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls

“If you want to know what a girls’ school feels like from the inside, you should read this book . . . All Girls is a book about race, class, and inequality in American education and it leaves the reader deeply concerned about the girls in our society who are deprived of opportunity.” – Michael Thompson, Ph.D., co-author of Raising Cain and Best Friends, Worst Enemies

Karen Stabiner, in her quest for the best education for her daughter, began a surprising journey of her own. . .she dismantles lingering myths and misperceptions about the girls’ school experience.”  – Whitney Ransome and Meg Milne Moulton, executive directors, The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools

"A must-read...In Stabiner's hands, the material becomes a rip-roaring adventure-tale." - Women's Quarterly

To Dance With the Devil: The new war on breast cancer

A New York Times Notable Book

To Dance with the Devil is an unprecedented behind-the-scenes account of the war on one of medicine's most pernicious foes. 

The product of over three years of research, scores of interviews with the nation's top doctors, policymakers, researchers, and activists, and in-depth reporting on the patients and clinicians who invited the author into their lives, To Dance with the Devil is at once an up-to-the-minute report and a gripping human drama.  

For a year Karen Stabiner was a steady observer at the innovative UCLA Breast Center, following the progress of Dr. Susan Love, the eminent breast surgeon and author, and a number of Love's patients.  From UCLA, Stabiner's narrative spirals out to examine the turbulent national scene: partisan politics and budget crises; pioneering research and dire experimental treatments; managed care and the battle to shape its future; high stakes, high society fund-raising; and the brutally competitive race for answers and dollars.

"To Dance with the Devil is a stunning piece of work: an absolutely lucid, entirely absorbing, and meticulously reported exploration of culture and politics at the cutting edge of medicine." - Joan Didion

“Brilliant.” – Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

"Ms. Stabiner has taken full advantage of a situation that might have intimidated a lesser journalist. To Dance with the Devil is compelling, moving and very, very scary, a contrapuntal examination of the disease and of the women whose lives--whose identities--have been forever altered by it." - New York Times Book Review

"An exhaustively researched, dogged epic of a war zone – the UCLA Breast Center." - Los Angeles Times

"Stabiner weaves the stories of doctors, patients, researchers, advocates and lobbyists into a novel-like structure that puts a human face on breast cancer and the war being waged against it." - Philadelphia Inquirer

"A level-headed and valuable dispatch from the front on which the war against this disease is waged…Recalling “And the Band Played On”…To Dance with the Devil tells its story through a series of interlocking narratives…although the stories of some patients are harrowing, Stabiner’s account of Dr. Love’s near-visionary dedication is uplifting." - People

"An intensely thorough and poignant account of the battle against breast cancer. . . through gripping narratives and poignant portraits, the author presents the political, medical and emotional implications of this deadly disease." - The Chicago Tribune

"Later generations will be grateful for this document; it will remind them that every great medical victory-be it cholera, polio or breast cancer-was accomplished through unspeakable human suffering and the dedication of a few remarkable individuals." - San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

"A detailed, insightful, poignant, sometimes chilling and ultimately hopeful report.  A must-read for women who have breast cancer and a valuable book for those who don’t." - San Jose Mercury News

"A compelling book that combines the elements of a medical detective story with political journalism. . . distinguished above all for its disturbing look at a field where cost-benefit analyses have become more important than human life, and for its exhilarating report on ways that ingenious scientists have overcome a short-sighted medical bureaucracy." - Publishers Weekly

Inventing Desire: Inside Chiat/Day

In a field where hunch and instinct mean as much as strategy and research, Chiat/Day produced ads for a quarter of a century that take the consumer by surprise and cross over into mainstream news – the futuristic “1984” commercial for Apple Computer, the Energizer Bunny, a Reebok ad that featured a bungee jumper falling out of a competing brand.

Karen Stabiner spent a year at the Venice, California, headquarters of Chiat/Day-with total access.  She sat in on client meetings, agency board meetings, pitches, and a variety of shouting matches.  She saw a man dance on the ceiling to sell an Energizer battery and learned that crashing two customized $32,000 Nissan sports cars is all in a day’s work.

Inventing Desire is the story of a maverick agency trying to keep its edge – and of its owner, who who had to decide whether he preferred to be immortal or irreplaceable.

“Karen Stabiner has a dead eye, an unerring ear, and perfect pitch for folly and pretension. These are priceless assets in capturing a business where disaster is only a phone call away, and nailbiting is a form of nourishment.” – John Gregory Dunne

“In a time when competing products are so similar that only the advertising is of much interest, Karen Stabiner has focused on exactly the right subject. She has turned a chaotic year inside Chiat/Day into a disciplined and gripping intellectual thriller.” – Jesse Kornbluth

"This is the best book on advertising since David Ogilvy's Confessions of an Advertising Man. – Library Journal

"A revealing account of the daily operations of Chiat/Day, the firm named "Agency of the Decade" by Advertising Age. Stabiner's candid coverage of the key players, along with material on television, print campaigns and market positioning, enrich this impressive study." – Publishers Weekly

"A sharply drawn picture of the tensions between the "creatives" and the account people, and of the frantic personalities who live on 15 percent of ephemera, selling us whatever needs to be sold." – Kirkus Reviews

Courting Fame: The perilous road to women’s tennis stardom

This is a story of gifted kids and proud parents, told as it is lived – at breakneck speed. Athletic little girls start playing tennis at four, competing at seven, making career decisions before they’re old enough to drive. But there are no guarantees -- only the wild temptations of money and fame in a professional sport that didn’t exist when the girls in this book were born.

At courtside, in motel rooms around the country, at agonizing family councils back home, Karen Stabiner accompanies young players as they compete on the edge of turning pro.

“Provide(s) matchlessly reported inside detail on the exploitive nature of the show-biz sport at its entry level.” – Kirkus Reviews

Read an excerpt from Courting Fame in the New York Times Magazine here.

The Empty Nest: 31 parents tell the truth about relationships, love, and freedom after the kids fly the coop

“Karen Stabiner has brought together an amazing collection of parents who share their intimate stories of what it means to have an empty bedroom down the hall, and a child out on her own. Sometimes funny, sometimes heartrending, this book is a valuable road map through one of life's most daunting transitions.” - Arianna Huffington, author of On Becoming Fearless

"This honest, insightful collection is for parents at any stage of the process -- reminding us that the highest accomplishment of parenting is to raise children who can joyfully and successfully leave the nest, and to be the kind of parent who can let them go." - Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters

“The essays in The Empty Nest, edited by Karen Stabiner, take the complex parting between parents and their growing children to a new level. With breathtaking candor, humor and elegance, these essays probe the ambivalence of being laid off from the one job that -- no matter what else we do - will be our most important contribution to the world." - Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Still Summer