Talking Books with Relationship Expert Tim Kellis

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Renowned Wall Street analyst Tim Kellis takes on what could be considered society’s biggest problem today, divorce. The journey that led to him tackling such a significant issue was both personal and professional. After a successful career that eventually landed him on Wall Street, Tim met what he thought was the girl of his dreams, only to see that relationship end with bitterness and anger. The journey included work with a marital therapist, and after he discovered the therapist wasn’t really helping decided to tackle the issue himself. 

Ambition and a strong aptitude for math helped lead Kellis to discover how to make relationships work. His math skills led directly to an engineering degree, nine years in the telecommunications industry, an MBA in finance, and finally on to Wall Street, where he became the very first semiconductor analyst to focus on the communications market. 


After publishing a 300-page initiation piece entitled Initiating Coverage of the Semiconductor Industry: Riding the Bandwidth Wave, Kellis became a leading semiconductor analyst at one of the biggest firms on Wall Street. The experience he gained as a Wall Street analyst provided an excellent backdrop for becoming an expert on relationships, and resulted in his relationship book entitled Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage.

Tim will be on virtual book tour in April and May 2009 to promote his latest relationship book, Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage. We interviewed him to find out more about his wonderful new book.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Tim. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose to write about relationships?

A: My taking on the marriage issue is a combination of both my professional and personal paths. Personally speaking, I’ve learned from the pain of what I’ve been through in past relationships, particularly the one that led to writing the book, what causes relationships to turn negative.

And I have had a very successful career. Although I grew up relatively poor, the son of a cab driver and a secretary, I put myself through engineering school, spent nine years in the communications equipment industry, got my MBA and landed on Wall Street, becoming the first semiconductor analyst to focus on the communications market.

Engineers have real difficulty dealing with illogical situations. So when I met the woman I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with and that relationship didn’t work out, my only real response was to try to figure out why. My engineering undergraduate degree is important for two reasons. The first is engineers do not understand things that are illogical, and going from planning on spending the rest of your life with someone to breaking up just didn’t make sense. And the second reason is engineers are taught problem solving, a big tool I used in writing the book.

I was able to solve the problem not by having a successful relationship but by having an unsuccessful relationship. Plus I have come to realize that professional martial therapists are not really that interested in solving the problem. That would be bad for their business.

The bottom line is I realize that someone has to put their foot down on our spiraling culture of divorce, and if the professionals are not going to do it, then someone from the outside of the industry has to.

Q:
Did you outline before you wrote your book or just went with the flow?
A: That’s a good question for someone as analytical as me. I most certainly worked with an outline before taking on the task of writing the book. I used the outline to structure the flow of the book. I must have spent weeks before I was happy with the structure. I continued to tweak the outline as I wrote the book as well.

Q: What kind of research did you do before putting this book together?
A: As you can imagine, I studied like a Wall Street analyst, reading over one hundred books in a period of ten months, which equates to two and half books a week, straight for ten months. I believe this may be one of the most researched books ever written. And at the end of this research my confidence in my ability to solve the relationship problem resulted in the book, after nine months of writing.

The bottom line is a professional psychologist could not have written such an expansive book as “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage” because of the limitations of the industry. Included in the one hundred books that went into the research for writing this one, were nearly two dozen relationship books. My joke on this issue is all of the books I read were non-fiction books, with the lone exception of the relationship books. My first title concept was Men Are from Earth, Women Are from Earth to demonstrate just this point. Last time I checked we were all from the same planet.

Every time I bring this issue up a critic points out that the book is just a metaphor to explain that men and women are simply different, so let me clarify before anyone asks. Yes biologically speaking we are different. One of the biggest objectives of my book is to refute Freud’s biology theory that we are born with our brains and, well there is really nothing you can do about mental problems, a major stumbling block to solving our marriage problem. This is actually the first relationship book written from a mental perspective, something I find humorous considering psyche is defined as “the mental or psychological structure of a person.”  


But the most significant point on the metaphor with John Gray’s Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, is the concept of the book is supposed to promote couples to appreciate their differences. Now this may make sense intellectually but it is very challenging to apply practically.

One of the biggest lessons we learned with our racial struggles was a concept referred
to as “separate but equal,” a term coined by the Supreme Court in the late 19th century to continue to justify the separation of the races. And we saw the results of that concept. If you promote in any way the notion that you can keep two separate and that this will somehow make you equal then you cannot find balance in your relationship.

Equality is only possible when you bring those differences together in harmony, through what Dr. Martin Luther King referred to as “civil disobedience.” Manage conflicts by disagreeing, just be civil about it.

If you would like to read a very poignant book review that really summarizes the depth and breadth of the book please visit bookreviewers.org/equality.htm

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