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
Lighting Up
How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking, and
Everything Else I Loved in Life Except Sex

by Susan Shapiro

Delacorte hardcover and paperback on sale now

Order at

Excerpted in The New York Times City Section (1/9/2005)
Excerpted in Time Out New York (12/30/04)
Chicago Tribune: Dangers of e-smoking

Watch Sue on Bookwrap

In her clever, bitchy new memoir LIGHTING UP, Susan Shapiro tells how sharp-sighted, handsome, arrogant addiction specialist Daniel Winters ("the James Bond of psychotherapy") saw through his infuriating patient's every subterfuge and called her every bluff, even as she became addicted to...the doctor himself. A mind-bendingly good read.
Cathleen Medwick
O: The Oprah Magazine, January 2005

...a New York-centric addiction memoir...a frank darkly funny account of treatment...In transference gone haywire, Winters is her father...son...or the "Bad Boyfriend"...the scenes with him are most enjoyable...the book gives enough clues to get Winter's real name and website...go to Goggle if you need a quick fix...
New York Times Book Review

Great voice...fascinating....compelling, hectoring, insinuating, insistent... I felt like the author was my new best friend...Through her wit and sharpness... Shapiro succeeds brilliantly in making you care about her... addictive personality...Her generosity as a writer is on the page...You can't help liking her, and eagerly awaiting the next installment of her memoirs.
Laurie Muchnick

...Susan has the worst case of nicotine withdrawal her addiction specialist has seen, and she keeps replacing the smokes with new obsessions...but this is a no cringe-inducing self-help book, so you don't have to worry about it brainwashing you into giving up any of your own vices. Thank goodness.
Four stars
Jane Magazine, Dec 2004/Jan 2005

As a follow-up to FIVE MEN WHO BROKE MY HEART, Shapiro turns from romantic train wrecks to nicotine addiction....Shapiro's cigarette cravings diminish - but she's addicted to therapy...Shapiro's wit and honesty elevate the work... her sessions with her cool, intelligent psychologist capture all that's absurd and mundane about such encounters.
Publishers Weekly

If trying to kick a bad habit has left you grumpy, check out LIGHTING UP by Susan Shapiro. Shapiro hilariously nixes ciggies, only to pick up other no-nos-including an obsession with her shrink. Laughing with a sister quitter could help you stay on track...
Self Magazine, January 2005

Warning: this book invites serious overidentification...I feel I've known this woman since birth, I'm starting to think I am her...Sue - we are so on a first name basis -quits smoking...In the sharpest...funniest scene in a book full of them, Shapiro grills Winters...Going through therapy with Sue, I have to ask, why does life without bread look so bleak?
Sasha Watson

"Lighting Up" by Susan Shapiro, an NYU and New School journalism teacher, is a memoir to make you laugh, cry and identify - and it just may motivate you to tackle addictions and self-defeating bad habits with renewed, even fiery determination.
amNew York

...a witty book about kicking addictions and confronting underlying traumas...another laughter-inducing personal diary - Bridget Jones cum "Sex and the City" style...Shapiro, an attractive brunette with an easy, outgoing manner and propensity for black outfits...shoots off enough scandalous statements to keep her readers enthralled, while subtly projecting a more serious agenda.
The Villager

When her love affair with Capri Menthol Lights goes sour, Shapiro decides to break it off. The Capris, however, won't go without a fight...Despite the author's neurotic tendencies, you can't help but like her...Shapiro's charm is her unflinching honesty and humor....Her husband has threatened to write his own memoir: The Bitch Beside Me.
New York Press

Shapiro's funny and nakedly honest voice is irresistible. As she reveals one addiction after another, the book itself becomes addictive. Another great reason to lose sleep besides sex.
Susan Jane Gilman
bestselling author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about substance abuse....Shapiro had a two-pack-a-day habit...described by her doctor as "the worst nicotine withdrawl in the history of the world." But it made for a wickedly funny memoir of how we love our addictions and how difficult it is to bid them adieu.
The Illinois Times

If badly written chicklit pisses you off...go right now and buy LIGHTING UP...I read this book in two nights, consumed with Shapiro's detailed shrink sessions. I realized I learned a few things - not just about her but also about myself...The book makes you smile, but it also makes you think.
Rima Suqi
New York Magazine
A keen, revved-up account of dropping addictions...After smoking for 27 years, Shapiro make a break with, sophisticated, straight-shooting...her razor-sharp sense of humor provides balance and perspective. The manic energy Shapiro brings to her life instills her memoir with a theatrical freshness.
Kirkus Reviews

Shapiro, an acclaimed writing teacher, is good at following a writing teacher's favorite counsel: Write what you know...her memoir chronicles how...she gave up cigarettes, alcohol, Blow Pops, gum, freelancing, bread.... bragging and shopping. Indeed, she feared becoming adddicted to quitting things...Shapiro manages to keep the format fresh.
Three stars
New York Post

...Writing wryly about how trying to quit smoking led her to get obsessive about Blow-Pops... carbs... then pot, she's real, entertaining and great fun...Stretches of the smoking therapy are hilarious as Shapiro drops cigarettes only to take up a 20-pack a day chewing gum habit. Even the sessions with Winters are fun...
Three stars
Detroit Free Press

Whether or not you're a smoker, this candid...witty memoir will resonate...Most of us have at least one addiction to beat, whether booze, chewing gum or reruns of Friends. Shapiro describes her roller-coaster she tries to kick five self-destructive substances. Like Bridget Jones but grittier.
The Edmonton Sun

This fascinating memoir takes readers along Shapiro's insightful...vulnerable journey...of... addiction...raw and relatable...Most fascinatingly, Shapiro turns the tables on the doctor, interrogating him...She draws back the wizard's black curtain revealing...his demons...Winters should be writing this book but... the patient's perspective is... far more powerful.
Cleveland Plain Dealer

It's tough to resist a book with the title "Lighting Up: How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking and Everything Else I Loved in Life Except Sex."...In her new confessional Shapiro confronts her addiction to cigarettes - as well as other issues that bedevil a young career woman - with an exuberant, self-deprecating wit.
Margo Hammond
The Good Housekeeping Book Club

Shapiro proves her mettle as grand dame of deprivation... this memoir of abstinence... belongs at the top of the must-read column...for the new year...the refreshingly vulnerable and honest Shapiro... becomes more edgy and inspirational and hilarious portrait of a woman who boldly clears the smoke from her head
NJ Star-Ledger

Susan Shapiro... takes her readers on a hilarious tour through her neuroses, quirks, and issues...A touchingly intimate portrait...Anyone with an addictive personality...who has tried to quit any substance...will appreciate Shapiro's ability to both chronicle and laugh at her foibles, even as she overcomes them.
Rachel Kramer Bussel
The Gothamist

Susan in the thrall of the miraculous Dr. Winters...a specialist in treating substance and abuse and addiction...interesting, amusing, instructive and insightful to those of us who share some of Shapiro's obsessions/compulsions...Shapiro is...a charming memoirist, with whose experiences readers can easily identify.
The Decatur Daily

...the Manhattan author confesses details of her battle to stem substance abuse and she does so with wit, sophisticated insight and candor...
Style Magazine

Shapiro... drags you irresistibly into... her wacky glamorous world of withdrawal...In the greatest comedy tradition, her pain equals genius, and manages to capture the hard truth of addiction in all its idiosyncratic weirdness....This is neurotic gonzo journalism at its finest, Shapiro's self-portrait so humbling and human you can't help but laugh.
The North Bay Bohemian

Funny, smart, witty...and lightning fast
Jerusalem Post

Since Shapiro gave up smoking, she signed three book deals, one movie deal, tripled her income and started having the best sex of her life...Britian's smokers are going to have to find something - or someone - else to love too...Therapy is the way to get rid of addictions...especially for people who can't afford rehabs clinics, like Kate Moss...
London Telegraph

With New Years resolutions around the corner, there's no better reading than this modern take on self-help through voyeurism. Read as the author kicks a smoking habit and replaces it with anything she can get her hands on like gum or bread. Hilarious and relatable, you'll enjoy this memoir even if you think you're already perfect. The sequel "Speed Shrinking" will be out in August and we can't wait.
Joanna Douglas, Yahoo's Shine 2008 Holiday Gift Guide

For more info contact Susan Corcoran, Director of Publicity, at
(212) 782-9425

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