Sixty Slices of Life

Sixty Slices of Life ... On Wry

(The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster)

by Fred Flaxman

Sixty Slices of Life... on Wry (The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster) is a tongue-in-cheek memoir, proceeding chronologically from what the author learned about life from his dog when he was eight, to when he learned that he was an old man in the Paris Metro at age sixty-eight. In between there are, of course, his humorous, behind-the-scenes adventures in public radio, television, and journalism, where he once won a very serious national award for his chuckle-filled newspaper columns. Some of these "slices" were previously published in the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and other major metropolitan newspapers. Others were written especially for this book.

Winner of a 2011 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Memoir

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This book is full of impractical advice on such subjects as:

  • what you can learn about life from your dog,
  • how to get your child to listen to classical music,
  • a unique way to support your local public radio station,
  • how to handle door-to-door solicitors,
  • how to cure the “teen disease,”
  • whether or not to purchase a potbellied pig,
  • how to speed to success,
  • how to exorcise your evil cholesterol spirits,
  • and—most important of all—a better way to make babies!

In Praise of Sixty Slices of Life ... on Wry


This book is appealing, amusing -- and short! Bravo Fred!

Susan Stamberg, Special Correspondent, National Public Radio

Sixty Slices is a feast of tasty morsels. Flaxman has the ability to see humor and the absurd even in the most mundane experiences. It is a warmhearted, often nostalgic, potpourri. You don’t have to be Jewish to like Flaxman’s wry.

John Friedman, author of Out of the Blue: A History of Lightning: Science, Superstition, and Amazing Stories of Survival and Oscar-winning producer of the documentary Hotel Terminus

Sixty Slices of Life … on Wry is at once moving, funny, and true. Fred Flaxman has proved himself a master at intertwining his life’s experiences with tenderness, love, and laugh-out-loud humor. I was filled with warm fuzzies and did not want these beautiful stories to end.

Bahia Abrams, author of The Other Half of My Soul

In terms of the subject matter and manner of delivery, Flaxman’s humor reminds me of Will Rogers. He takes simple events in his life and uses them to make a humorous point, some about the world and others that extend no further than beyond his life. The topics have a wide range, from an extremely flatulent dog, raising chickens and catching raccoons, to Ingmar Bergman films that featured naked women. . . . Wry is the perfect word to describe all of the short, humorous pieces in this book, a life lived well is one where you can find the humor in aggravating circumstances. Flaxman has done that and done it well.

   Charles Ashbacher’s five-star review at

Fred Flaxman tells life like it is — hilarious! 'Sixty Slices of Life. . . on Wry' is an apt title for this collection of reminiscences or essays or short stories that are as delightful to read as any new book of humor out there. Flaxman has the ability to take everyday occurrences (though many of his occurrences are anything but normal) and find the innate comedy of life shining through. He is an adept writer and could easily serve as a writer for comedians. But instead he has decided to take us, his audience of fortunate readers, through a series of sixty experiences that are some of the most entertaining diversions this reader has read in a long time.

  Grady Harp’s five-star review at

I must admit that I was unfamiliar with Fred Flaxman before I read this boom but now I am a fan. He gives us a very funny memoir made up of short essays which is no easy feat. This is a wonderful read that is funny and unforgettable, probably because what he writes about is totally identifiable. . . . Flaxman seems to have a comment about everything and does not hold back. His wit is amazing and his insights are deep and he is one creative person.

   Amos Lassen’s five-star review at

Fred Flaxman’s book is an outstanding read. It’s funny, poignant, and memorable. . . . Put this on your reading list.

  Arthur H. Stevens’ five-star review at

. . .This book is not only hilarious entertainment for all ages but also a glimpse into their habits, desires and foibles for the last half century. He explores--attachments to pets,encounters with fads, phobias, health concerns and ethnic associations of every-day life. His knowledge of French, classical music, broadcasting and prominent personalities is elaborated in a very funny combination of sarcasm and wit.

   The late Joseph R. Haun’s five-star review at
   Haun was the author of Unbelievable!: Faith, Reason, and the Search for Truth

Fred Flaxman’s rare wit brings humor into the realities of our daily lives. Each entertaining short story filled me with warm smiles and deeper insights into our existence and showed me how one man tackles the challenges in his life. With candor and an almost childlike perspective, Fred handles his love life, his family, his schooling, his children, and his work with an upbeat approach that we all can learn from. I could not put this book down and finished it in two days.

  Bahia Brenda Abrams’ five-star review at

BEWARE, laughter ahead!  Flaxman has a wonderful way of talking of ordinary events that take on a funny life of their own.  Each chapter is delightful and his conversational style of writing is comfortable and easy to read. The writing is succinct but you never feel like you have missed any details of the story.  Reading this book felt like I was having coffee and conversation with a reunited friend.

  F.C. Boyd,

Under the irrepressible humor is a study in resilience, a recipe for success, and a delightful life story beginning with Buster, a dog who taught Fred the value in being completely and utterly himself.

  Jerri Strozier, Life Stories, Inc.

Fred Flaxman offers up his recipe for Sixty Slices of Life ... on Wry: half wit and one or two grains of wisdom. Makes a good midnight snack.

  Cal Thomas, public TV executive

This delightful memoir is put out by one of those small do-it-yourself presses, but it really deserves better. And I’m not just saying that because it’s by my Uncle Fred. Because in fact he’s NOT my Uncle Fred! But after reading this, I wanted him to be my Uncle Fred, so I decided unilaterally to appoint him.

    Fred Flaxman has been a newspaper columnist, a programmer and producer for radio and television, and throughout it all, a humorist. His book, as NPR Correspondent Susan Stamberg notes, “is appealing, amusing – and short!” And he starts his memoir in a way that has special meaning for me and my husband.

    Before my husband met me and the girls who preceded me, the love of his life was his dog Buster. In fact, on cold nights in bed he still complains that I’m not Buster.

    So imagine our delight to find that Flaxman’s story begins with a paean to his very own Buster, who was his best friend growing up. He composed his first radio broadcasts for Buster, as they walked around the block each day. And I, too, used to make up radio broadcasts for my dog Duke. What wonderful coincidences!

    There are plenty of other anecdotes to bring back memories of growing up as you sit around chuckling while listening to Uncle Fred. For example, there are his early piano lessons:

    “When I was 7 years old, I started taking piano lessons – not because I wanted to, but because my mother wanted me to. She sat next to me on the piano bench every day encouraging me to practice. Her method was simple and direct. When I tried to leave, she hit me.”

    Or his travails finding a babysitter for his two young children:

    "We came back from our first movie in ages to learn that the babysitter we hired had permitted our four-year-old son to throw rocks off the balcony of our 10th-story apartment at the pedestrians below. This situation presented us with a difficult choice: Should we get rid of our babysitter or our son? From a financial point of view, we probably made the wrong decision, but we never saw that babysitter again.”

    The author traveled widely in his career, and peppers his narrative with funny remarks:

    “I was sent to Bulgaria as the official guest of Bulgarian State Television on a little-used State Department cultural exchange program. Only one American had been on this program before me – a long-haired, bearded guitarist, five years earlier – and he had not been heard from since. This did not seem to matter, however, because Bulgaria was not considered a very important country, and there was a surplus of long-haired, bearded guitarists in the U.S. at the time.”

    I especially liked this story about when he got a moving van in Paris. The streets weren’t very wide, and cars were parked over the curb on both sides, leaving not much room in the middle:
    "As we drove along, I heard a strange cracking noise on the right side of the van. Crack, crack, crack, crack. I asked my daughter if she could see what was making the racket. She looked out the window, then turned back and said to me, perfectly calmly: ‘Oh, Daddy, that’s just the noise the side-view mirrors on the cars make as they snap off when you pass them.’”

    Evaluation: This is a charming, humorous collection of vignettes by someone you will wish you knew in person. This book would make a great gift for parents or bloggers who feel a nostalgia for “the good old days” so well described by everybody’s Uncle Fred.

  Rhapsody in Books Weblog review

Sixty Slices of Life…on Wry is a delightful memoir published by a small press in North Carolina. Fred Flaxman is an award winning writer, public television and radio producer, and public broadcasting executive with a great sense of humor.

    Beginning with his dog, Buster, who he credits with teaching him not only responsibility but how to live, and carrying on throughout his adventures in life, Fred brings perspective to everyday life events. His wry sense of humor makes this a quick and enjoyable read. Sixty Slices of Life …on Wry will remind you of those afternoon chats with your father, or your uncle, or maybe your grandfather. It is a warm and witty account that advises against taking life too seriously.

    There are plenty of anecdotes to chuckle over and enjoy. Sixty Slices of Life…on Wry is perfect for those of us who wish to enjoy the nostalgia of ‘the good old days’."

  The Book Nook review

Sixty Slices of Life on Wry mirrors the creative personality of Fred Flaxman, a character comfortable with his ethnic roots and secure enough in his beliefs to poke honest but gentle humor at himself while living his convictions. A delightful read where I identified with his reflections on many of life’s profound questions.

  Sara Margaret Mitchell Rhodes, author, 'A Slender Volume of Poems, Essays and Short Stories'

Fred Flaxman is a talented humorist, and this is an enjoyable and readable book.

  the late Cleve Mathews, founding news director of National Public Radio

Evrything I lerned about humer I lerned from Fred Flaxman.

Peter Bradley, Unemployed Proofreeder

To see and hear Fred Flaxman
read a "slice" from his book, click