By Christine McMahon Tumpson  |  Photographs from Doc Mendelson

James “Doc” Mendelson takes listening and sharing to new levels with observations made from his perch as owner of the famous “Doc’s Place” in Shadyside. A happy soul with a quick mind and a contagious laugh, Doc’s calling is connecting people. Many couples had their first meeting at the long bars of what is now “Mario’s” on Walnut Street.
Doc’s book is a great read, and for those of us blessed with his friendship, sounds like he is across the table telling you everything. Everything about why relationships work, how to keep close friend ships, and best of all, life lessons on how to live a beautiful life while there’s still time to change and grow!


The Psychology of the Human Spirit has been discussed by experts since the beginning of humanity, but who are the experts?

Are psychologists and psychiatrists experts?  No doubt.  But what about bartenders and bar owners, are they not experts as well?

In “Life Lessons from the Other Side of the Bar”, James “Doc” Mendelson, former owner of the iconic Shadyside bar Doc’s Place for over a quarter century, discusses his ideas of human psyche.

Doc explains that the reason he wrote this book is because he was implored to by his many clients with whom he has received and dispensed Information.  Doc explains, “I have heard thousands of stories every year, and in time I learned that the names were different, the faces were different, but the stories and their outcomes were eerily similar!  In time, I created a template to each scenario, and could predict the specific stories and their outcomes.  I was accurate most of the time.”

Thus, if you are seeking to learn more about yourself and/or your mate, are seeking a relationship, wanting to maintain or improve an existing relationship, or trying to recover from a broken relationship, “Life Lessons from the Other Side of the Bar” can probably help you!

Doc uses analogies, humor, and other tools to help us put things into their proper perspectives.  He injects rational thought into emotional situations, attempting to help us in our decision
making processes.

One of the greatest anomalies in life, according to Doc, is “We seek to fall in love, and then try to figure out if we like a person.  Yet when we truly like a person, why don’t we allow ourselves to fall in love with that person?”  That question is answered in
“Life Lessons!”

“Life Lessons” discusses why so many of the most important decisions in our lives are made at improper times.  How our “needs” outweigh our “wants”, and why so many decisions that we made seemed so right at the time, yet have turned out to be so wrong!

In the chapter titled “The Addiction”, Doc explains how so many people misconstrue passion for love, and how even though passion and love are interrelated, they are mutually exclusive.  You can love a person, yet have no passion for that person.  Yet when you feel passion for a person, why do you believe you are in love with him/her?  Because passion is a strong emotion…yet passion is an addiction!  And we know that we have difficulty with proper decision-making when facing addictions!  How, when, and why this addiction manifests itself is clearly discussed in this chapter, as is how to combat this addiction and make better decisions.

Would you like to know the difference between boys and men?  Is it age?…Not at all!…It’s attitude!  Here is some insight:
• A boy is concerned about what he wants and how he feels.

• A man is concerned about what his mate wants and how she/he feels.

• A boy has not yet developed his self-esteem, so he concentrates on making himself feel better about himself.

• A man has healthy self-esteem, feels good about himself, and thus can use his energy to make his mate feel better about herself/himself.

• A boy is concerned about how he looks with his mate and how everybody else judges him when he is with her/him.

• A man is concerned about how he feels with his mate, and doesn’t care at all about what anybody else thinks of her/him.

If you have any interest in learning more about boys vs. men, “Life Lessons from the Other Side of the Bar” might be a book that you should read.

We hear all the time that “people can’t change!”  Do we believe that?  Doc doesn’t believe it!  In the chapter titled “epiphany”, it is defined as an illuminating discovery, a revealing scene or moment; and a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something.

What this chapter says is that people can change…but that YOU CAN’T CHANGE THEM!  You can ask them to change, urge them to change, even threaten them…to change or else!  But these practices will not work.  The only thing that works is to make them WANT to change.  Don’t push to change your mates, that is a losing proposition!  Instead, educate them, which hopefully will make them want to change. 

After the sadness and pain of a break-up, what is our thought process?  We cannot get over the person, or the situation.  Doc believes that after every Break-up, you must remind yourself to focus on one of the most powerful four-letter words in the English Language…..NEXT! 

You can spend all of your time and energy festering and brooding , remembering the way things were.  But when all is said and done, you’ll have two choices;  first…Get over it!  Second…Don’t get over it.  But as you bitch and moan, fret and suffer, don’t expect anyone else to give a damn for too long.

Dating is solely trial and error.  If one doesn’t work…try another!

There are many like situations discussed in “Life Lessons from the Other Side of the Bar”, including the great confusion with actually knowing if you are selecting the proper mate.  Doc, however, does tie it all together for his reader by describing how relationships are supposed to be formed, how they should evolve and prosper, and how to mix emotions with rational thought to maximize your decision-making process.

Doc says, “In my years as a bar owner, I have encountered thousands of stories—both as a witness and interventionist—and decided to write about them.

Do any of them sound like yours?”  They Should!  They are all your stories!

Purchase the book by mail using either PayPal,, shopify, or sending a check to 1104 Grandview Avenue Unit 2, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15211

Book can also be purchased at any Bradley’s Books

Book is $16 including sales tax, additional $3.00 for postage mailed.
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