Book Reviews

Surviving 9/11: Two Authors, Who Met As Neighbors Search For Meaning Of Survival

Surviving 9/11: Two Authors, Who Met As Neighbors Search For Meaning Of Survival

As the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, two neighborhood friends who had very different experiences around 9/11 have both penned books about their experiences.

As recounted to the Bergen Record’s Jim Beckerman wrote a story about their stories. Barbara Becker and Ed Zier’s incredible stories are highlighted by serendipity. Not only were they neighbors in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey in the 1970’s but moreover they each happened to have books published about their 9/11 experiences.

Inspired by the path toward finding meaning in tragedy, Becker, author of “Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind” (Flatiron Books/Macmillan) and Zier, author of “Undaunted: Leadership Amid Growth & Adversity” (Koehler Books), both were trying to make sense of it all: What does it all mean? Why do some people live and others die? How do we face death − and how do we make the most of life?

Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind explores how Sept 11, 2001 caused Becker to reshape her life and personal sense of meaning entirely. A book about the pursuit of happiness, Heartwood draws its title from the heartwood of a tree—the durable central core that is no longer alive yet supports the newer growth rings.  In this way, the dead become a source of enduring strength to the living.

Now facing cancer herself—a cancer her NY doctors say may be the result of the fallout of 9/11—Becker’s words of advice are more grounded and relevant than ever.

On this anniversary of 9/11, Barbara discusses how the pandemic has altered our thoughts on loss and grief and how we can employ creating our own heartwood to help us heal and view grief differently. Ed shares about what it means to share their 9/11 experiences through their own words, so many years later.

Book Reviews

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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