Get a copy here or in your local bookstore

Read excerpts published in The New Yorker, The New York Review of BooksLitHub, and The Paris Review

Original articles published in Lapham's Quarterly, New York Post, The New York Times.

Interviews in The Atlantic, NPR's On Point, Smithsonian Magazine, NPR's KERA Think, Recode Decode with Kara Swisher

 

Advanced Praise and Reviews of Asking for a Friend

“[A] sprightly history of the advice column… This is the sort of wicked tidbit served up by Weisberg, who as wisely opted to present chapter-length essays on key figures of the genre rather than attempt a comprehensive history (although I don’t doubt that her research was exhaustive).” - Molly Young, New York Times Book Review

“Weisberg is generous with her subjects, and her scope is wide-reaching: She tackles sixteen profiles with surprising coherence. Each chapter has the clarity and clip of a well-produced podcast episode (she worked as a producer on Serial), and she has an instinct for details that sit memorably askance from the narrative and catalyze interest.” - Alexandra Molotkow, The New Republic

“Strong writing, thorough research, and a sharp focus on various aspects of culture and history makes this ideal for all types of collections.” - Library Journal (starred review) 

"Weisberg provides historical context that frames trending angsts within bygone eras, explaining the consuming popularity of these pundits. This journey through collective incertitude doesn’t seek to answer any of life’s pressing questions, but it sure offers an enjoyable ride." - Booklist

“Both those devoted to and bemused by self-help literature will profit from this insightful look into an ever-relevant and changing facet of American society.” - Publishers Weekly 

“An oddly soothing antidote to the millenarian terrors of today, Jessica Weisberg’s history of ordinary American anxiety is as warm, funny, entertaining, and chattily insightful as the advice-dispensers she portrays. In the centuries before the internet, these were the ones we turned to with questions so obscure, embarrassing, weird, or mortifyingly personal that only a stranger would do.” —Larissa MacFarquhar, author of Strangers Drowning: Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Urge to Help

“Take my advice and read this fascinating book immediately. It’s the only piece of advice I can offer that even begins to compare to the advice of the writers it chronicles. Weisberg captures her subjects’ work and personalities with engaging insight, offering an illuminating look into what society craves advice on in any given age A must-read for anyone who loves learning about history and human angst, as well as those who love their local paper’s advice column.” —Jennifer Wright, author of It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History

“Weisberg’s hilarious, enlightening odyssey through the history of advice columns chronicles the evolution of our anxieties over how to act. However weird or offensive some of our questions have been, it’s heartening to know that at least we’ve always been trying. A surprising and delightful read.” —Mac McClelland, author of Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story

“Rich with insight and surprising facts, Weisberg’s ingenious appraisal of America’s guidance-givers doubles as a wholly unexpected history of our national psyche. At long last, the lowly advice column gets its due!” —Kate Bolick, author of Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own

“Welcome to a hilarious dinner party of outrageous characters! Each one of Weisberg’s profiles is like a witty, surprisingly profound toast. I can’t stop talking about this book to everyone I know; it snuck up on me as one of the most insightful books about human nature that I’ve ever read.” —Courtney E. Martin, author of The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream