Welcome! It's amazing to met you! I'm so grateful to be in your corner!
I've been in the business of helping people for over 25 years. I'm a New York Times bestselling author of seven books, journalist, and speaker who has visited over 500 high school and college campuses. I'm very active on social media. You might be familiar with my TikTok (@helpmeharlan) and Instagram (@HarlanCohen) accounts. My YouTube and Facebook pages are also popping! I love helping people find support, happiness, hope, love, and light. My most recent book is WIN or LEARN: The Naked Truth About Turning Every Rejection Into Your Ultimate Success. This book helps people of all ages navigating change, set goals, overcome rejection, and get wherever they want to go (or someplace even better). My specialty is helping people get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
My writing professional career began at the Indiana Daily Student at Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana). I started writing editorials and a slice-of-life column for the campus newspaper. The summer before my bonus senior year (I graduated in 4 1/2 years), I interned at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. It was during that internship that I met a writer who wrote advice. I liked the idea of writing advice and went back to IU to start writing my Help Me, Harlan! advice column. At first, I started to write about my own problems (I had many). Then, I started getting real letters. That's when I started researching answers and meeting experts.
After graduating from college, I continued to write my advice column. I set my sites on becoming a nationally syndicated advice columnist. I launched my business by sending out media kits to 50 newspapers. I sold my advice column to five newspapers (I got paid $5 a week for each newspaper). A year later, The New York Daily News picked up my column. I was 22 years old and reaching millions of readers. Nine years after starting my column, I was picked up by King Features Syndicate. King Features distributed my column in newspapers around the world for over fifteen years.
As my column spread across the country, my speaking career began to boom. Purdue University (Indiana University's rival) invited me to be the keynote speaker at Boiler Gold Rush, their big orientation program. The head of orientation called me up and said, "Do you speak?" I said, "Everyday!" After meeting with the rest of the team, I was hired.
Over 500 high school and college campuses later, speaking continues to be one of the most rewarding parts of my career. I love meeting people and hearing their stories. I speak to middle school students, high school students, college students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, professionals, and adults of all ages. I have popular TEDx talk schools will play in class. Speaking and conducting research on the road helps me spot trends and see patterns I can include in my books and videos. Speaking of books...
My first book was Campus Life Exposed; Advice From The Inside (Petersons). Five years later, The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues was released by Sourcebooks. The Naked Roommate is now a New York Times bestseller, has over 1,000,000 copies in print, and is used as a textbook classrooms all over the world. The book has struck a nerve because it gives students permission to be imperfect. I'm also author of the books, The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only, The Naked Roommate's First Year Survival Workbook, Dad's Expecting Too: An Expectant Parents Guide and my newest book, Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober), and WIN or LEARN: The Naked Truth About Turning Every Rejection Into Your Ultimate Success.
As for my personal life, most of my life I struggled to feel good enough. I always managed to make people laugh, but it was just a way to cover up my own fears and insecurities. After doing a lot of risk-taking and rejection research, I was ready to find love. I met my wife at the UPS Store while making copies (the entire story is in the book). After our third date, I realized she had rejected me on an online dating site. Twenty years later, we have three children and two dogs. My wife is a speech-language pathologist who loves helping. She's also an author. If you have little ones, you can find her on Instagram.
Back to business -- I'm alway working to find new ways to support students and families. I'm founder of BeforeCollege.TV and created an online college success program called Best First Year (https://courses.bestfirstyear.com/. Best First Year is a college coaching program for students and parents that consists of virtual events, live Q&A, videos, and resources. Before College TV and Best First Year are designed to help high school and college students navigate change and understand how to navigate all the changes ahead.
When I'm not writing, I'm working on new books, answering questions via video, hosting web events, and sharing advice on television and radio. I'm based in Chicago, but I hop around the country.
You'll probably see me in an airport or in your hometown. If you see me, please say hello. I would LOVE to visit with you. You can follow me on Instagram and TikTok, X, LinkedIn, and on Facebook. If you have questions or need advice please write me here.