John Silver grew up in the Chicago area and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1971. Beginning his first career in the arts, he sold his jewelry and photography as a street artist and at art-and-craft shows throughout the Mid-West. He then moved to New York City, went back to school for a masters and PhD in social work, and worked as a mental health therapist in the inner-city neighborhoods of Brooklyn and the Bronx for 20 years. Teaching at Columbia University as an adjunct professor augmented his career as a social worker. He currently works at the Therapy Center in Bedford Hills, N.Y., and lives with his wife, Sara, in White Plains, N.Y.
After a lifetime of pick-up basketball games, John began competitive running in his 60s.