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About Me

My writing life has grown farther and wider with each passing decade. In the 1970s, I began as a travel writer for Arthur Frommer, then in his Europe on $5 a Day phase, and traveled up the hierarchy to become the editor-in-chief of what grew to be five series of travel guidebooks, some of which I also wrote.

In the 1980s, I began to write magazine articles and books on mental health, psychology, and health. In 1991, when Allure magazine was born, I was recruited to write the Mood News column, and did so for virtually every issue for the next 25 years, publishing several books as well.

Come the millenium and my byline began to appear as well on newspaper and magazine articles about music and opera, frequently alongside that of my husband, Robert Lipsyte (speaking of writers with wide-ranging expertise). A lot of people know him as a sports writer. Most people know me as a psychology journalist. Sports+Psychology=Opera! A perfect fit.

Besides Allure, my articles and profiles have appeared in numerous venues, from More magazine and Natural Health to Classical Singer and the New York Times, among many others.

I've authored or coauthored seven books on mental health and health, including The Personality Self-Portrait, The New Personality Self-Portrait--now in its 31st printing--with John M. Oldham, M.D.  Our newest iteration, with psychologist Alok Madan, PhD, is entirely online: the NPSP25.  Now  you can chart your own Personality Self-Portrait as well as that of your family or team as a Group Self-Portrait.


 Dr. Oldham and I also collaborated on the award-winning Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons Complete Home Guide to Mental Health. Another award-winner followed, this in collaboration with Harmon Eyre, M.D., of the American Cancer Society, and Dianne Partie Lange: Informed Decisions: The Complete Book of Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery.

Meanwhile, Bob and I have covered music and travel topics in Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, New York City, and Long Island. Our articles have appeared in the New York Times, for which we also wrote two series of articles, one about the composer Tan Dun and the development of his opera, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, The First Emperor and the Itzhak Perlman Music Program on Shelter Island, on the east end of Long Island.

That project took us to Shanghai when the Perlman violinists joined up with Chinese violinists at the Shanghai Conservatory. On this trip we met an extraordinary Metropolitan Opera basso, Hao Jiang Tian and his wonderful wife Martha Liao. This chance encounter led to a rich and exotic collaboration on two major projects about his extraordinary life and times, beginning during Chinese Cultural Revolution in Beijing. The first was a memoir we coauthored, Along the Roaring River: My Wild Ride from Mao to the Met. After that came a PBS special which I cowrote and he performed, From Mao to the Met.

On our last research trip to China with Tian and Martha, we visited his parents' family villages in Jincheng and Yangcheng, Shanxi province. There I acquired a new name, LoLo. When Bob traveled with me our our next China trip, we became known as LoLo and BoBo.

Born Lois Borkan in Chicago, Illinois, I grew up in Glencoe, Illinois and attended New Trier High School. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with honors in journalism. After living in Manhattan for many years and spending weekends at our Shelter Island home, we now call Shelter Island home.  Here I am president of the Shelter Island Friends of Music (SIFM) and vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the Hamptoms/Shelter Island/ and North Fork.