Carmel Valley author offers guidance on college admission

Dr. Ira Goodman (pen name JK Roark, MD)

Carmel Valley resident Dr. Ira Goodman released a book to help parents guide their children into the best colleges and universities, largely based on the journey he went through with his son.

The book, “Nudge Your Cub Into a Top 100 College TODAY, Including the Ivy League: What Works and What Doesn’t as a Pandemic Parent For Any Age Child”, was published under Goodman’s pen name, JK Roark, MD.

“Basically the book is a step-by-step guide for elite school planning, admissions and success,” said Goodman, who said he’s received a lot of positive feedback from readers in the months since it’s been released.

Goodman, a physician, said the book was guided by the experiences and obstacles he encountered in helping his son through school and into college.

“I really took a deep dive into every area of his childhood,” Goodman said.

Book cover
The cover of “Nudge Your Cub Into a Top 100 College TODAY, Including the Ivy League: What Works and What Doesn’t as a Pandemic Parent For Any Age Child”

He also addresses the challenges students have been facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced school districts into distance learning. Many students have struggled to keep their grades up, causing concern about how this year will impact their college prospects.

“Everything that I write in there is taken in light of the current pandemic and how that affects education,” Goodman said, adding that he included “a lot of information about the pandemic in general and how it affects education.”

Goodman said the book discusses three areas that help lead students to success: cognitive ability, emotional intelligence and executive function.

“Most people stress cognitive ability, which is measured by how you do on the SAT, what your GPA is, what your advanced placement scores are,” he said. “But not many people spend a lot of time on emotional intelligence.”

A greater awareness of emotional intelligence and executive function, which guides a student’s decision making, are lesser understood areas that can pay dividends, Goodman argues in the book.

“That will allow them to position themselves in a place in the world that is consistent with who they are and what will make them happy,” he said.

Goodman also said the book offers “several key conclusions,”

“One of the fundamental conclusions is that you should treat your child with respect as a thinking, feeling person, as opposed to someone to manipulate and control,” he said.

Goodman developed the concept of a “lion dad” as an alternative to “tiger parenting,” a term coined by a Yale Law School professor to describe parents who are overly strict and demanding. The book also includes add-on notes and other materials that did not make it into the main text.

In addition, he condensed a long list of websites with more information and resources into a list of the 50 to 60 most useful.

“You could spend your whole life looking through all these websites,” he added. “We picked out the ones that we used, and I wrote a little paragraph on each one.”

Some of the other topics in the book include nutrition, participation in sports, public schools versus private schools, and neuropsychological studies.

“This was a labor of love for me, and something I feel like I had to do,” Goodman said.

For more information, visit Goodman’s book is available on

Board certified in three specialties, Goodman has written several articles and chapters for medical journals, according to his website biography. He has traveled to over 65 countries, lectured worldwide, and he has volunteered in several countries to perform needed surgery, including Nigeria, India, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.