• Teacher | Storyteller | Coach | Principal, HEFT Creative Strategies | Lover of All Things Book, Taco, Gin & Street Art.


    I AM.

    I am an Emmy-award winning coach, creative strategist, podcaster, writer, teacher and social worker who has been helping nonprofits, publishers, authors, small business and career changers tell their stories for 20 plus years.

    I serve as a Lecturer (and part-time faculty) at Lake Forest College. I teach LOOP 202: Professional Development in the 21st Century and Liberal Arts and The Workplace.

    I worked at Prevent Child Abuse America from 2007-2016, including serving as the Senior Director of Strategic Communications. While there, I introduced the organization to social media, wrote and managed grants from the CDC and Doris Duke, served as staff lead on the current strategic plan, and co-scripted the 2010 Emmy award-winning Ounce of Prevention of Florida “Prevent Child Abuse” public service campaign.


    I serve as Principal, HEFT Creative Strategies, where I believe in helping human beings and organizations be their best selves through story and have consulted with a range of organizations including Leo Burnett, Content R|S, lylole, Jeff Pfaller, Inc., Human Elements, lylole, Koan, The Montana Institute and The Center for Advanced Emotional Intelligence.


    I worked to support the emergence of Chicago publisher Curbside Splendor, where I played an active role in the acquisition, launch, and/or promotion of a number of acclaimed books including May We Shed These Human Bodies by Amber Sparks and Don't Start Me Talkin' by Tom Williams. More recently I've been working with the ascendant Green Writers Press on promoting a series of award-winning and timely books including Finding God in Ordinary Time by Christine Eberle, Offline by Brian Adams, and The Coffeehouse Resistance by Sarina Prabasi, as well as working with independent authors such as Greg Olear and Hosho McCreesh on Dirty Rubles and Chinese Gucci respectively.



    And I help people tell their stories.

  • Books

    I am the author of several award-winning books, including the science fiction novel Orphans and the essay collections Lost in Space: A Father's Journey There and Back Again and Be Cool - a memoir (sort of).

    "Akin to oral tradition." --The Coil

    "The pages of Ben Tanzer’s Be Cool seem alive as you read them." --Clash Media

    "Life in all of its joy and gutter glory." --Atticus Review

    "Be Cool is gorgeous." --Spectrum Culture

    "A wise, moving, and often funny memoir-in-essays." --Largehearted Boy

    • Finalist, 13th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards
    • Finalist, 2019 Eric Hoffer Book Awards

    To learn more or order Be Cool please go here.

    "Everything a person in need of a guide through the uncertainty of adulthood, manhood, parenthood, personhood, could hope for." --Literary Chicago

    "Lost in Space strikes an excellent balance of sincerity, realistic advice, and humor." --Entropy

    "Lost in Space is a gem. It is a cozy, sweet read, at times easy, at times not. It is a book with a heartbeat that should be read on the beach (that’s what I did) or at the pool or on the bus or before bed or with morning coffees or weekend lunchtime beers. It should be laughed at and cried at and worn-out and passed around from heartbeating-human to heartbeating-human and when it gets really quiet, you will be able to hear that this book has a heartbeat of its own." --Heavy Feather Review

    "Tanzer has crafted a series of essays that get at the joy and terror of adulthood and parenthood." --The Rupture

    "Ben Tanzer tells you what it’s like to be a dad now." --Chicago Magazine

    • 2015 Devil's Kitchen Literary Festival Nonfiction Prose Award
    • Honorable Mention, Chicago Writers Association 2014 Book Awards, Traditional Non-Fiction

    To learn more or order Lost in Space please go here.

    "Channeling Orwell and Melville, with a nod to popular American culture, Tanzer creates a template for human disaffection and passivity in the face of incomprehensible and omnipotent forces... this bleak, powerful book is a harrowing cautionary tale about a future that threatens to overwhelm human individuality." --Publishers Weekly

    "Ben Tanzer has established himself as an adept chronicler of a particular type of middle-class male anxiety." --Vol. 1 Brooklyn

    "Patently satirical, Orphans is about the reality of responsibility and the limitations imposed on us in adulthood by a capitalist society. Tanzer's setting and scenario owe much to George Orwell and Philip K. Dick, territory that sf fans might enjoy revisiting." --Booklist

    • 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards - Bronze Medal, Science Fiction
    • 24th Annual Midwest Book Award in Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror/Paranormal

    To learn more or order Orphans please go here.

    "The New York Stories is a three volume set, each published as separate books across a span of nearly nine years and because of this, the book builds a wonderful grand arc, narrative hindsight in a way that allows the whole thing to function as a story greater than the sum of its parts. We see not only the long protracted march of Two Rivers and its inhabitants, but, because of the time between when the volumes were written, the development of Tanzer as a fierce and world-class writer. This development is a beautiful thing to watch." --Atticus Review


    To learn more or order The New York Stories please go here.

  • The Blog Will Change Your Life

    Born December 2006

    July 3, 2020 · Vanilla Ice,Barrelhouse,Rob Van Winkle,I AM,Books
    I really did try. It was in Barrelhouse, the piece was titled "Ding" (it was also later included in the chapbook I AM) and you can find it here. Please take a look, let me know what you think and feel free to enjoy some excerpt below. "If there is a problem, yo, I’ll resolve it, check out the...
    July 1, 2020 · Podcast,Chris Green,Big Shoulders Books,American Gun,Gun Violence
    There is new This Podcast Will Change Your Life. There is also the Chris Green, not to mention American Gun: A Poem by 100 Chicagoans, rhythm, flow, epidemics, Big Shoulders Books, Bill and Irene Beck, pantoums and creating a wave. So, please do This Podcast Will Change Your Life, because it will...
    June 30, 2020 · American Gun,Chris Green,Big Shoulders Books,DePaul University,Books
    I may just be reading again, though even if I wasn't, couldn't, didn't have the energy to turn pages, I would read American Gun: A Poem by 100 Chicagoans from Big Shoulders Books and Editor Chris Green. I would have read it because I was pitched by a student from a publicity class at DePaul...
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  • Contact

    I want to tell stories. I also want to be involved in anything that helps human beings and organizations be their best selves through story. So, if you want to talk about this, if you have questions about any of things I'm currently working on (including my writing), if you seek a presenter or keynote speaker, want to retain me around my work with HEFT Creative Strategies and/or if you would like to treat me to a cup of coffee, taco or Gin & Tonic, don't hesitate to email me at tanzerben [at] gmail [dot] com or call me at (312) 622-3536. Thanks!

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