Steve Wartenberg is a veteran journalist who spent the first chapter of his career collecting bylines in Philadelphia before moving to Columbus to write as a business reporter for The Columbus Dispatch. For the last five years, Steve has been working as a freelance writer in the Columbus area, and he recently interviewed me for a story in Columbus CEO. He also writes for the James Cancer Hospital at The Ohio State University and hosts The James Cancer Free World podcast.

Steve is also an avid cyclist — some might even say he’s an obsessed cyclist — who has written several e-books about biking in France and has ridden in Pelotonia, a three-day cycling fundraiser in Central Ohio to support cancer research every year since 2008. 

I’ve known Steve for a while, but this is my first opportunity to interview him, and I was thrilled to have this opportunity to dig into his life, “The Incident” and how he’s used meditation and yoga to help him heal, and his work at The James Cancer Hospital.

What Brett asks:

  • [02:00] What were your early days like?
  • [07:55] What were you like as a kid? What early interests guided you, even if you didn’t know it at the time?
  • [10:13] How did things start to unfold for you at college?
  • [15:35] How did you decide that journalism is what you wanted to do?
  • [21:30] Tell me about a stand-out story or experience that really touched you.
  • [29:33] What brought you to Columbus?
  • [33:20] How does it work in a newspaper? Do stories get assigned do you? Do you have a say in which things you run with?
  • [39:05] Where did cycling come into your life?
  • [42:02] Let’s talk about “the incident”
  • [49:00] How have you turned to meditation and yoga to heal?
  • [52:00] Tell me a little about your work at The James Cancer Hospital


Lessons for intentional living:

  • “Listening is an underrated skill. The better you can do it, perhaps, we might all get along a bit better.” I couldn’t agree more with Steve here. One of the most transformative exercises I’ve practiced in my professional development career is something called Seven Good Minutes, which simply involves sitting across from somebody, looking them in the eye, and asking them questions for seven minutes without responding to them with your own thoughts. And the next level of that is trying not to think at all while they’re talking, just listening. And it’s HARD. Our instinct to want to just talk, we all have an innate desire to be heard — but in order to be heard, somebody has to listen.