Susan Shapiro

Susan Shapiro, an award-winning writer and professor, freelances for the NY Times, Washington Post, WSJ, LA Times, NY Magazine, Salon, Elle, Oprah, Wired & New Yorker online. She's the bestselling author/coauthor of 18 books her family hates like Five Men Who Broke My Heart, Lighting Up, Unhooked, The Bosnia List and her recent memoir The Forgiveness Tour. She lives with her scriptwriter husband in Manhattan and uses her writing/publishing guides The Book Bible and Byline Bible to teach her wildly popular "instant gratification takes too long" courses at The New School, NYU, Columbia University and in private classes & seminars - now online. Follow her on Twitter at @susanshapironet, Instagram at @Profsue123 or email


The Sergeant on CNN’s Jake Tapper
Booklist starred review of Book Bible
Library Journal starred review of World In Between
Book List starred review of World In Between
Publishers Weekly Starred Review of Forgiveness Tour
Business Insider ❤️s The Byline Bible & Sue’s Zoom class

Winner of 2023 ASJA book Award

Winner of 2019 ASJA Book Award
Winner of 2018 Best Book Award for Writing & Publishing

Follow Sue on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn
Skyhorse / Simon & Schuster

Purchase at, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million

“Magnificent…writing with insight, humor, and grace,
Shapiro’s elegant survey becomes about plying the
boundless depths of the human heart. This is essential
reading.” -Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Slate: How to Actually Apologize
NYTimes forgiveness article interview
Huff Post excerpt
Memoirland excerpt
PW Starred Review of Forgiveness Tour
Salon: The Forgiveness Tour (ASJA award)
The Revealer: Forgiving the Unforgivable (AJPA award)
The Independent: Modern Atonement (AJPA award)
The Independent: Can You Ever Really Forgive Someone?
Longreads: How I Got My Shrink Back
Kirkus Reviews: Enlightening and universally relevant
Library Journal: Fascinating stories of human resilience
Jewish Book Council: A thoughtful, spiritual welcome new voice
Jewish Book Council Q & A: Dark & captivating
Jewish Journal interview
Village Sun Review
New York Post: Best New Books
Picked up in The Insider
The Revealer: When a Whole Continent Betrays You
Psychology Today: The Missing Piece of Forgiving Puzzle
Self: How to Apologize When You’ve Hurt Someone
Jewfolk Review: captivating, enthralling, entrancing
Next Avenue: How Not to Apologize
Times of Israel Review: insightful & resonant
Hadassah magazine review Yom Kippur and Forgiveness

The Revealer 2021 Book Recommenation
Sue on Unorthodox Podcast: The Apology Episode (29-35)
LA Review of Books
NY Times excerpt: How to Get Someone to Apologize
Tablet: Forgiving Someone Who Isn’t sorry? (Deadline Club Award)
AARP’s The Ethel opinion: Do Apologies Have an Expiration Date?
The Fix excerpt: Least Secretive Life
Mitch Albom podcast
Unity Radio interview with Kelly Sullivan
Detroit News feature
Detroit Jewish News feature
Good Morning America best book roundup
Forbes Q & A
Brooklyn Rail Q & A
Honeysuckle Magazine Q & A Q & A
Boston Globe Q & A
Michigan's Big Show podcast
Shondaland Q & A
Self Magazine: How to Apologize
Jewish Boston Q & A
Lilith Q & A
Jerusalem Post review: remarkable
The Rumpus Q & A
Hippocampus Q & A

"Journalist Shapiro (Lighting Up) chronicles her search for ways to heal after a devastating betrayal in this magnificent work. Her previous memoir recounted her successful therapy with addiction specialist Daniel Winters. Here, she wrestles with the revelation that their 15-year therapeutic relationship was founded on lies, when she finds out he’s been treating someone she’d asked him not to see. Winters’s refusal to explain or show remorse infuriated her and led her to set out on a quest to determine how to forgive someone who won’t apologize. Shapiro interviews colleagues, students, and religious leaders to probe universal questions around hurt, absolution, and contrition. Analyzing Jesus’s plea, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” a Presbyterian minister posits that “forgiving can get you out of pain.” A colleague tells her, “Jewish law requires a person to ask heartfelt forgiveness three times,” and that “if the injured party won’t respond...the non-forgiver has to seek forgiveness for notforgiving.” A Hindu guru, meanwhile, warns that an “angry grudge... burns your own heart first.” Their wisdom moves her to realize “how small my saga was” and to forgive Winters (who apologized first). By blending these stories with her own experiences and writing with insight, humor, and grace, Shapiro’s elegant survey becomes one largely about plumbing the boundless depths of the human heart. This is essential reading. (Jan.)"
Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"When Manhattan journalist and writing professor Shapiro experienced betrayals from a trusted psychotherapist as well as a close female friend, she demanded answers. Devoid of atonement or any type of explanation for their behavior, both were nonchalant and arrogant, which understandably infuriated and flummoxed the author. Though Shapiro was traumatized, she was also inspired to question how others managed unresolved pain. Sharing revealing episodes of personal soul-searching, the author probes the lucrative “Forgiveness Industry,” fronted by gurus touting charities, books, and documentaries as well as agencies who grant professional amnesty to affronted clients on another’s behalf. Shapiro, who teaches at the New School, NYU, and Columbia, journalistically explores themes of forgiveness through a series of stories from a variety of sources, including family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and students—e.g., a 40-something Army wife and a trans man who faced ugly post-transition prejudice. All of these anecdotes demonstrate how certain personalities can easily pardon someone’s wrongdoing while others, as in her situation, experience spitefulness and difficulty moving on with their lives. Shapiro’s analysis is multifaceted, encompassing radically divergent opinions: religious leaders who consider clemency an emotional balm and pious obligation or a “wildly provocative Jungian astrologer” who touts grudge-holding as a protective barrier against perpetual victimhood. The author brings the same blend of wry humor, sharp wit, and knowledgeable authority that she demonstrated in some of her previous memoirs (Unhooked, Lighting Up, Five Men Who Broke My Heart), offering an intimate exploration of grudges, expectations, and remorse. Ultimately, she confesses to a series of personal atonements of her own and provides an appendix of practical solutions, leaving the decision up to readers whether personal apologies are required for true healing or whether unspoken atonement could suffice. Enlightening and universally relevant, the book shows us how to forgive even when it might be impossible to forget.”
Kirkus Reviews

"Can we forgive without getting an apology from the offender? In this latest from journalist, teacher, and writer Shapiro (The Byline Bible), she recounts being deeply hurt by a mentor, who didn’t apologize, and how that affected her life and left her longing for a resolution. In her quest to recover from her feelings of betrayal and devastation, over the next few years, Shapiro asked her friends, her rabbi, and various other religious leaders whom they deserved an apology from and why. She recounts the stories of those who found a way to forgive even in the most horrifying circumstances, including war atrocities, abuse, and abandonment, each with more at stake than Shapiro. She asks them two questions: “What would you want your offender to say to you?” and “What would it take to make it right?” What flows from these interviews is a book full of fascinating stories of brutal honesty and human resilience. VERDICT: Readers will find hope and examples of paths toward forgiveness here. Casting a wide net, Shapiro’s book will appeal to those who love human interest stories, people seeking to forgive in their own lives, and those wondering about the deeper meaning of forgiveness in many different traditions."
Library Journal

“One of the most important lessons one learns reading Susan Shapiro’s thoughtful exploration of forgiveness is that hurt and reconciliation are central themes in almost all of our lives….We re all intertwined in a web of complex connections, messy relationships, easy misunderstandings, and raw sensitivities that make forgiveness so difficult yet also so beautiful when it can happen... A thoughtful, spiritual new voice.”
Rabbi Marc Katz, Jewish Book Council

“Shapiro’s bold and captivating new memoir The Forgiveness Tour is a foray into the unknown, with the hope that the journey will lead to solace and understanding…She manages to be both introspective and thoughtful while maintaining a readability that makes this book easy to devour in a single setting. I read it for the first time in a single day, unable to put it down. Part of what makes The Forgiveness Tour so enthralling is the vastness of the interviews that Shapiro conducts…It’s a book for anyone who has felt hurt, betrayed or lost. In other words, it’s a book for all of us.”
Lonny Goldsmith, TC Jewfolk

“Powerful…a deeply moving and ultimately profound window into the enigmatic landscape of hurting and healing the human heart.”
The Rumpus
"The Forgiveness Tour takes us on a journey that begins as an emotional ride in response to a relationship betrayal and its painful aftermath. But the road widens into an expansive spiritual, philosophical, and personal exploration of harm and repair. Ms. Shapiro interviews characters from a wide range of life situations, religious traditions, and particular injuries - each one of which she asks what is needed to make a good, effective apology. As she continues to learn, her relationships with important people evolve, as does her understanding of what happened to her. This is an informative and deeply satisfying read."
Molly Howes, author of “A Good Apology”

“Intriguing, insightful, all-too-relatable… The Forgiveness Tour offers a deeply personal, painful experience that inspired a fascinating exploration on forgiving.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

“In a society that’s uncomfortable with too much intimacy, and that encourages people (especially women) to keep their innermost struggles and opinions under wraps, Shapiro’s writing is a breath of fresh air. After the success of her two prior memoirs and acclaimed writing guide… this brave, riveting, spiritual memoir explores how, and whether, to strive for forgiveness and closure.”
Mikhal Weiner, Lilith

“The Forgiveness Tour explores a vital area of human relationships and looks deeply and sympathetically into the troubled lives of people who, despite suffering traumatic experiences at the hands of others, have managed to survive and, in many cases, to forgive. Susan Shapiro has produced a remarkable volume that will bring insight and comfort to many.”
Jerusalem Post

"It's perfect timing for a deep, perceptive look at forgiveness. Bestselling author Susan Shapiro’s wise and inspiring new book, The Forgiveness Tour: How to Find the Perfect Apology explores the nature of forgiving and answers the question: Can you forgive someone without an apology? Should you?”

“Unique, sad, funny and profound, “The Forgiveness Tour” paints a poignant portrait of the power of apology. Susan Shapiro’s unique new memoir is her best work to date.”
The Village Sun

“Candid and captivating”
Brooklyn Rail

“A dazzling and deeply moving memoir about forgiveness, featuring dueling rabbis, Jewish guilt, and the wisdom of inspirational men and women from different religions and cultures.”
Judy Batalion, author of The Light of Days

“Susan Shapiro mixes memoir, religion, psychology and journalism to tell amazing stories of forgiveness. The tales, ranging from uplifting to unsettling, are always riveting.”
A.J. Jacobs, bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically

“As a popular chronicler of bad habits and poor life decisions, Shapiro has found her best topic yet: how to confront the pain in your life caused by someone you believe owes you an apology. The Forgiveness Tour’s wide-ranging tales of true heartache and gripping confrontation show readers how to find what they need to finally heal from what has been hurting them. Smart, witty and inspirational.”
Tom Reiss, Pulitzer Prize author of The Black Count

“Shapiro demonstrates an uncanny knack for articulating and resolving the unspoken regret of so many people. An engrossing and essential work you’ll be better for reading.”
Laurence Bergreen, bestselling author of Casanova

“Whether you’re wrestling with love gone bad, the rupture of a friendship, a conflict at work or betrayal on a global scale, you’ll find wisdom and solace in Susan Shapiro’s entertaining and insightful account of her own search for forgiveness.”
Julie Metz, bestselling author of Perfection

“The Forgiveness Tour takes us on journeys to right unforgivable wrongs. Shapiro illuminates how we can heal from those who harmed us most. Powerful, intimate and profound.”
Gabrielle Selz, author of Unstill Life

“A timely and captivating memoir about grudges, fallibility, and the loneliest phrase in the English language: I’m sorry.”
David Goodwillie, author of King’s County

“In her signature quick-witted, compulsively readable voice, Susan Shapiro explores forgiveness with honesty, humor and heart.”
Erin Khar, author of Strung Out

“Fascinating and original!”
Susan Cheever, bestselling author of Drinking in America

“I read everything Susan Shapiro writes. The Forgiveness Tour is electric, sad, funny and beautiful.”
Cat Marnell, bestselling author of How To Murder Your Life

“Shapiro holds my eye and ear with urgency, compelling dialogue, and fresh insights into human behavior. I found The Forgiveness Tour hard to put down.”
Grace Schulman, author of Strange Paradise

Copyright 2004-2024 Susan Shapiro. All Rights Reserved.
Fix-Up Fanatic cover art by Mary Lynn Blasutta