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Perry Garfinkel
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Perry Garfinkel, journalist, author, speaker and writing instructor, reports on travel, health, cultural and spirituality trends for major newspapers and magazines.

A contributor to The New York Times since 1986, Garfinkel is the author of half a dozen books on health and psychology. His 2006 bestseller, "Buddha or Bust: In Search of Truth, Meaning, Happiness and the Man Who Found Them All" (Harmony Books/Three River Press), expands on his December 2005 National Geographic Magazine story. The book was selected for inclusion in "Best Buddhist Writing of 2007" (Shambhala Press). It was also published in translation in Italy and Brazil.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama blurbs it thusly: “Perry Garfinkel presents Buddhism as a practical approach to human problems.” Psychologist Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, calls Garfinkel “a raconteur of the Dharma, Woody Allen in the footsteps of the Buddha.” Garfinkel has been falling off and on the meditation cushion for many years.

A journalist who has worked as reporter and/or editor for, among others, the Boston Globe, the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger and the Martha’s Vineyard Times, he was among the founding editors of New Age Journal. In television, he has written scripts for the Travel Channel and News Travel Network. His work has also appeared in National Geographic Magazine, Wall Street Journal Off Duty section, LA Times mind/body section, Men’s Health, Psychology Today and many others. He has contributed to the HuffingtonPost since 2007.

He has taught writing to adults for 30 years and is a former teacher/consultant for the Bay Area Writing Project at UC Berkeley’s School of Education. For his current teaching schedule see:

Entries by Perry Garfinkel

Documentary Envisions What the Blind Can Teach the Sighted About Truly Seeing

(6) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 12:00 PM

"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." -- Helen Keller

After making a darkly moving documentary about a military mercenary training camp, Navy vet turned filmmaker Garrett Zevgetis wanted to focus his unblinking lens on something positive...

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Michael Mina Runs the Gamut of Savory Bites

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2013 | 2:37 PM

The term "gamut," originally from the Middle English and even earlier from the Medieval Latin (gamma), has several meanings. In the field of music, it's the set of pitches of which musical melodies are composed. In the 1850s, the term was applied to a range of colors or hues. In...

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San Francisco's Top 5 Asian Restaurants Doing New Spins On Traditional Dishes

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2012 | 7:00 AM

Close to one million Asians will visit San Francisco this year, according to tourism statistics provided by San Francisco Travel (, the city's destination marketing branch.

These days those Asian visitors leave more than their hearts in the City by the Bay. They also leave a little bit...

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The W Connection: Support for Widows by Widows

(1) Comments | Posted May 14, 2012 | 6:50 PM

Dawn Nargi, a New Yorker, lost her husband, Norman Ferren, just two months after she gave birth to their son William. Dawn is one of 11 million widows in America today. There will be 1 million more by the end of 2012. Their average age is 55. She...

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What's the Buzz About at Atlanta's Park 75 Restaurant?

(1) Comments | Posted February 22, 2012 | 3:46 PM

First some facts foodies with their faces buried in shaved-truffle foie gras may not be aware of:

Billions of bees have disappeared in the last decade and, even more alarmingly, scientists have no idea why.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the name given to the latest, and...

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Puck Goes Back to His (Ginger) Roots

(2) Comments | Posted February 3, 2012 | 4:15 PM

Before he rocked western culinary civilization with Spago in 1982, Wolfgang Puck had worked in his native Vienna and Paris. He went to the U.S. in 1973 and landed in Indianapolis, Indiana, not exactly a gourmand's Mecca -- in fact, it's heartland Midwest meat-and-potato country.

When he moved to Los...

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A Chef Searches For The Soul Of Indian Cuisine

(0) Comments | Posted November 29, 2011 | 7:00 AM

Mumbai Chef Rahul Akerkar is a bicultural, multi-culinary anomaly. Born to a German Jewish mother and an Indian Hindu father who met as students at an American university, he spent winters in Mumbai and summers in Manhattan throughout his youth. He was tracked for a career in biochemical engineering after...

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Men in Grief Seek Others Who Mourn as They Do

(6) Comments | Posted July 28, 2011 | 4:48 PM

In 1990, Sam and Gretchen Feldman cashed out on their share of a national chain of men's apparel stores and retired to Martha's Vineyard, Mass. There, they devoted their time to volunteer work and an active social calendar. The following years were golden ones for the Feldmans, but in 2007...

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A Hind-Jew in India

(2) Comments | Posted September 28, 2010 | 12:06 PM

I arrived in Hinduism's holiest city on Judaism's holiest day. It doesn't get more auspicious than that for a nice Jewish boy from New Jersey who has been falling on and off the meditation cushion since the mid-70s.

This was my fourth trip in three decades to Benares (a.k.a....

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Can India Meet France in a San Francisco Kitchen?

(1) Comments | Posted June 4, 2010 | 12:36 PM

You expect restaurants at the India-based Taj Hotels to serve great Indian food, right?

Not necessarily, it turns out. Or, to be more precise, not only. To be quite clear, eateries at the majority of the Taj hotels (even those increasingly found beyond the Indian subcontinent) serve...

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How to Release Your Inner Monet

(2) Comments | Posted May 4, 2010 | 7:58 PM

Right-brained people have been brainwashed into believing their left-brained fellow sapiens are the creative ones. Just like writers are supposed to be verbal and painters visual and musicians auditory. These are the little corners we paint (or write or sing) ourselves into, for no reason and with little benefit.

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The Raja's Rules: Timeless Continuity Tips from the World's Oldest Family Business

(1) Comments | Posted March 15, 2010 | 4:51 PM


Photo courtesy Eternal Mewar, City Palace Complex, Udaipur

Two of the world's most distinguished professors of family business last week gave a periscope view of an ongoing study examining the Mewars of Udaipur, Rajasthan.

What, you never heard of the House of...

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The 7 Laws Of Inconspicuous Consumption

(8) Comments | Posted December 7, 2009 | 3:54 PM

Tis the $eason to be $pending. That's the less-than-spiritual message retailers are blasting from radios, TVs, billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, circulars, direct mail, Facebook walls, tweets, and e-blasts (have I missed any media?) in these last weeks before Chanukah and Christmas.

Far be it for me to put a...

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Saving the Lakes of Udaipur, "World's Best City"

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2009 | 2:56 PM

UDAIPUR, Rajasthan - Life has brought many advantages to Arvind Singh Mewar, not the least of which is an unobstructed view overlooking Lake Pichola from his palace terrace here, the city Travel & Leisure readers recently voted best in the world.

Now more than the view -- the lake...

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Another India Innovation: The Joy of Giving Week

(2) Comments | Posted September 25, 2009 | 12:16 PM


A fascinating cultural phenomenon will take place in India from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3.

This one will not involve an out-of-body experience or levitation. No Bollywood crossover star-turn. No Bangla-meets-hip-hop CD release. No spontaneous third-eye opening. Not even a humungous garland-laden...

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The Raj Who Branded Himself: A Savvy Indian Royal Reinvents Himself Without Changing His Iconic Message

(2) Comments | Posted September 16, 2009 | 12:11 PM


UDAIPUR, RAJASTHAN, India -- I am just returning from a summer in India, where, I have observed, the most frequently used words these days are "iconic" and "brand."

These words may have become clichés partly because, with reference to the former, India is a...

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Releasing my Inner Ramis: Buddhist Subtext of Year One

(3) Comments | Posted June 24, 2009 | 6:51 PM

Did you hear the one about the schizophrenic Buddhist filmmaker who thought he was at two with himself? Buddha-bing, Buddha-bang.

But seriously.

OK, director/screenwriter Harold Ramis's new film, Year One, may pander to a lower common denominator, with bathroom humor, physical comedy and sight jokes targeted...

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Costa Rica Green Report Card: Southern Nicoya Peninsula

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2009 | 11:49 AM


There is eco-travel to protect the environment -- plants, birds, fish, mammals, waterways, land and air -- and then there is eco-travel to protect an endangered indigenous species called Homo sapiens. This blog is more about the latter than the former, because when we...

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Releasing My Inner Emeril: Lagasse Grilled

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2009 | 6:45 PM

My father, for all his lack of domestic skills, was a brilliant grill-meister. On a New Jersey summer night, like the ones we begin to savor now, he would start the grill early on the back patio, Pabst Blue Ribbon in hand.

There wasn't much to prepare. This was long...

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Costa Rica Green Report Card: Arenal Volcano Region

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2009 | 5:55 PM

La Fortuna, Costa Rica - This country's modern-day Big Bang came in 1968 when its only constantly active volcano, Arenal, woke up from a 400-year geologic nap with a huge eruption that not only displaced thousands of villagers circling the mountain but also disrupted the lives of countless species of...

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