Paul Steinberg was born and raised in Norwalk, Connecticut. His father owned a well-known local potato chip company, Connecticut Potato Chips, and Paul often skipped school to hang out at the chip factory, trolling for bubbly and oily chips coming off the conveyor belt. To this day he cannot live without French fries and potato chips.
Although he had always wanted to be a psychiatrist, he began his residency in internal medicine at the University of Rochester. Fortunately, Paul was able to overcome the ideology that psychiatrists are not “real doctors” and moved onto a psychiatry residency at the George Washington University Medical Center. Post-residency, after a brief stint as a staff-psychiatrist at a local private psychiatric institute, Paul wended his way into college mental health. For ten years he was a psychiatrist in the University of Maryland in College Park Health Center, where he developed a host of innovative programs for college students, including outreach presentations, smoking cessation and drug and alcohol programs, and special treatment programs for major mental illnesses.
Always a passionate reader, Paul ventured beyond the Health Center to teach a course in the newly developed Honors Program at the University of Maryland. In a class entitled “The Inner Life: The Nature of Dreams and Passions,” a select group of honors students studied works of literature (Franz Kafka, Philip Roth, and John Updike) through the lens of psychological and psychiatric thinking.
In 1984, at the age of 35, Paul discovered he had prostate cancer. He underwent a radical prostatectomy and subsequent radiation to the prostate bed. With a false optimism that the disease had been contained, Paul took on the job of associate director of the Georgetown University Counseling and Psychiatric Service (he would later become its director) working with undergraduate and graduate students, as well as law and medical students. He also became the psychiatric consultant to the Georgetown University Athletic Department, working with student athletes and having monthly meetings with coaches and athletic directors.
Paul left Georgetown University in 2004 and is currently in private practice. In addition to his ongoing connections with Georgetown University and it’s athletic department, he is the psychiatric consultant to the athletic department at the University of the District of Columbia, and works with rock groups to help them work out conflicts and be able to stay together.
While A Salamander’s Tale is his first book, Paul’s writing career began in the 1980’s. He was one of the initial contributors to the Washington Post’s newly evolving Health and Science section and has been a frequent contributor to the New York Times op-ed page and Science Times. His pieces on mental health, science, and athletics have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, USA Today, and International Herald Tribune.
Paul and his wife, Helen, live in Washington, DC, where Paul loves to hang out at the 9:30 Club, one of the best music venues in the country, as well as the Black Cat and the Birchmere. He also loves film and is a regular attendee at the AFI Silver Docs documentary film festival. He’s an avid tennis and basketball player …. although he still cannot jump.