CARLSBAD — A senior at the Army and Navy Academy has used his hardships to reflect on what type of advice teenagers need to hear and compiled it into a self-help book for adolescents.
At 17, Colton Fidelman of Carlsbad published his first book, “The Teenage Guide to Success,” which was released in November through Simon & Schuster’s Archway Publishing.
The book aims to help other teens struggling with issues like low self-esteem, a lack of motivation, and negative influences. Fidelman drew from his own experiences, overcoming a difficult family situation and depression, to help him feel more in control of his life.
Fidelman’s parents’ divorce left him feeling lost and insecure.
“I couldn’t talk to my dad for a while, and it was a really unstable time,” he said. He turned to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like overeating, which caused weight gain.
Fidelman spiraled into depression as his friendships fell apart due to trust issues stemming from the divorce. Rock bottom came when he was skipping between hotels with his father.
“I felt like such a loser that I couldn’t seem to accomplish anything,” he said.
A talk with his dad lit a fire under Fidelman. “He told me basically that no one else was going to get me out of this situation but myself,” he noted. This realization spurred him to commit to diet and exercise.
Through discipline and focus, Fidelman lost 60 pounds in five months. He also rebuilt friendships using advice from successful people he interviewed. Their stories of overcoming adversity inspired Fidelman to help others facing similar struggles.
“Talking to successful people helped me identify things I could work on, like discipline and focusing on passions instead of what other people think,” Fidelman said.
To research the book, Fidelman conducted over 20 interviews with accomplished individuals from various fields. “Hearing their diverse stories, I noticed common themes about mentors, perseverance, and developing people skills,” he said.
Writing the book took nearly a year of Fidelman’s free time. He would write full chapters and get feedback from friends and family. “My dad was really supportive and helped me refine the material,” Fidelman said. “Having that support system made a big difference.”
Cole’s father, Mark Fidelman, is the author of “Socialized!: How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social” and has experience writing and finding a publisher.
Fidelman’s school hosted a book signing on Dec. 7, where Fidelman offered 50 free, signed copies. He hopes his book will help teens like him find their inner strength.
“If I could get out of a tough situation, anyone can with the right mindset,” he said.