Tom Berliner has an undergraduate degree in English and said he’s always enjoyed writing. Working as a consultant and college professor, he called on that skill in his professional and personal life.
Mostly retired, Berliner has written a new job script, one in which his longtime passion has become his vocation/hobby.
A native of Queens, N.Y., Berliner moved to Fairfield Glade in 2019 from Illinois. He spent a number of years in Dallas, Texas, and did consulting work for most of his career. Berliner also served as MBA director at Aurora University in Illinois and dean of the School of Business at Judson University in that state. He’s continued his teaching by offering online classes in strategy, leadership and management for two California universities.
Berliner was anything but a stodgy academic who never left the classroom. He also was a tournament tennis player, competitive runner who did six marathons, and an avid golfer.
Some five years ago, true to his eclectic nature, Berliner decided he wanted to write a book. He said he just started writing with no specific idea in mind. The result was “Tap In I,” followed by “Tap In II” and “Tap In III.” He described them as books of basketball and faith.
The story starts with protagonist Conner Ramsey encountering God, in the guise of an eccentric old man, at his office following a recent prayer by the former asking for abundance. Ramsey is led to play in a pickup basketball game, where he displays other worldly defensive skills that belie his limited talent and experience and subsequently takes his talents to college and, ultimately, the Olympics as he uses basketball as his ministry.
Berliner said Ramsey, similar to a number of people in the Bible, is an unlikely messenger that God uses to accomplish his purposes.
“I want to show we do what we can to make people aware of God’s invitation,” said Berliner, noting he felt as though God was leading him in the writing of the books. “I also wanted to bring out that God loves us, He doesn’t make robots but people with free will, and that we have God’s humanity, and it’s reflected in his sense of humor.”
The writing gate opened for Berliner, who wrote 21 fiction books, eight of which he coauthored with three different individuals. The genres include crime, fantasy, science fiction, love and faith. He’s also authored or coauthored six non-fiction books.
Explained Berliner: “I wanted to try different things.”
Berliner self-publishes on Amazon and said he hasn’t really pushed his books. “I like to play golf,” he said.
Berliner said he’d like to write more faith books.
“As I’m writing, I reflect on my faith,” he said. “Without putting myself in the book, I want to be able to share my faith and bring more people to it.”
Ron Gajewski worked with Berliner at Xerox in the ‘70s and had him as his MBA professor. An electronics engineer, he has coauthored five books with his former coworker and professor.
Their books range from the story of how five people living in a small town are connected to an autistic boy and son of a police chief aspiring to become a detective.
“Tom’s the guy with the original idea,” Gajewski said. “They come out of nowhere. Tom’s a very spiritual guy. All his books have a minor reference to the Bible and some have more. The hope is you’ll be a better person after reading them. It’s fun and easy reading, a nice message, interesting story and good outcome.”
Don Brush has known Berliner for nearly 40 years, serving as his professor in college and maintaining a strong friendship that includes plenty of time on the golf course. He’s read three of Berliner’s books and remarked on the spiritual message they impart.
“Tom is not a Sunday school Christian,” Brush said. “He lives his faith every day. His caring, resilience and playfulness come across through certain characters. They’re steadfast in what they do.”
Bill Coons, who designed Berliner’s website and helps create his book covers, described him as a writer gifted with words.
Tom’s wife, Carlene, a retired dentist, said she’s not interested in most sports. With the “Tap-In” books, true to her nature, she looks beyond the action on the court.
“It’s about having a pure, humble spirit, be who you are and accomplishing the mission He’s assigned you,” Carlene said. “It’s an emotional book(s).”
For further information on Berliner’s books, go to Tom Berliner.com.