Jeffrey H. Konis (MBA ’87) authored The Conversations We Never Had (2016, Outskirts Press), an exploration of his family’s history through a series of imagined conversations with his late grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. We sat down with Konis to chat about his inspiration, the writing process, and how his Baruch degree prepared him for his various pursuits.
What inspired you to write The Conversations We Never Had?
Only our loved ones can give us genuine insight as to how we got where we are today. I believe that the better we know ourselves, the greater likelihood of us becoming truly happy in life. I think, in a general sense, understanding is the antidote to anxiety of which too many suffer.
What was the experience like writing this book? In particular, what was your writing process like and did you speak with any of your relatives beforehand to help shape the story?
The experience was fascinating, joyous, and incredibly painful owing to the helplessness one feels over a loss of sorts, which, in this case, is a loss of opportunity gone forever. The writing process is truly solitary but also therapeutic and fascinating for me personally, because I am a very non-creative person and yet I somehow managed to be creative when it came to imagining stories my grandmother might have shared with me. I did, from time to time, have conversations with my dad to fill in specific gaps in grandma’s—and his—story. This could not have been easy for him because I was asking him questions about matters, I suspect, were best left forgotten.
How did your time at Baruch shape your career?
I had completed a joint J.D./M.B.A. at Baruch with Brooklyn Law School and my coursework at Baruch was terrific. I began my legal career with the Securities and Exchange Commission where many lawyers, I found, were not all that comfortable analyzing numbers, whether found in financial statements or in stock tables. My background at Baruch well-prepared me, to say the least, to take on such analysis.
Do you have plans for another book?
I do have an idea for another book but, frankly, right now I want to focus on my current book as it was such a personal endeavor with universal appeal, I think, and also I hope, that as many people as possible read it, if for no other reason as to avoid the incredibly painful mistake I had made in taking my grandmother for granted.
Purchase and learn more about The Conversations We Never Had here.