Business instructor writes textbook

Susan Berston works at the computer lab in Cloud Hall, with her new book on display, on the Ocean Campus Feb. 14. SHANE MENEZ/THE GUARDSMAN

By Thomas Figg-Hoblyn
The Guardsman

City College business instructor Susan Berston is thrilled about the release of her first textbook, “Business: A Practical Introduction,” published by Prentice Hall, which was released on January 20.

“It seems like a dream,” she said.

The text will be used by colleges and universities throughout the country. Students in her General Business 119 course at City College are some of the first to use the new book.

Berston spent 16-months writing the text with co-authors Brian Williams, Stacey Sawyer and a pool of editors, designers and copy editors.

The book is written with a style described by Berston as “chunking,” which is as succinct and powerful as it is easy to comprehend, and is packed with information presented in digestible chunks.

Perhaps the real story of Berston’s success is how it happened. She had no intention of writing a book or being an author. She simply attended a focus group held by the publisher who wanted to hear from business teachers.

Co-author Brian Williams had already been working on the book and thought the focus group was necessary to get real input from teachers. Berston caught the attention of the publisher during the focus group as she expressed her experience, enthusiasm and personality.

She has 15 years of experience teaching business courses at City College.

During the focus group, the publisher asked if he could call her the following week. She agreed, not expecting much.  When he called, she thought it was a joke. It was no joke and he asked her to co-author the book.

“I said yes, right away,” Berston said.

Before joining City College in 1997, Berston worked in the corporate environment for the Fortune 500 company RR Donnelley and Sons. Her father, Hy Berston taught real estate in the business department at City College for decades, and authored several textbooks himself. Her sister Marilyn Goodman is an instructor at City College in the marketing department.

Berston possesses a magnetic personality. She actively networks and is quick-witted; all helpful traits for success in the business world. It is no surprise that the publisher liked her so much.
It’s also something she teaches her students to do.

“Expect the unexpected,” Berston says, explaining that opportunity comes to you when you least anticipate it but you have to put yourself out there.

Berston claims she is going to take a break, after working so hard on the book, but it might not be in her DNA to slow down. She plans to embark on a series of speaking engagements to promote her book, beginning in Texas, Los Angeles, Detroit and Arizona.

Then she is off to New York to celebrate her success with the love of her life, her 14-year-old son Samuel. He is an aspiring actor and they plan on attending the latest Broadway productions.

After visiting the ”Big Apple” with her son, Berston plans on speaking at symposiums and focus groups around the country, then she plans to begin new research projects. She has already been contacted about authoring other books.

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