Paul Friedman's entry into the business of helping couples mend their marriages began with a very rough personal experience with divorce. This awakened his desire to help other couples avoid the traumas he experienced with marriage counselors and divorce. He writes, "The divorce courts are as dysfunctional as anything I have ever experienced. They funnel otherwise good people into negative positions they would never have imagined themselves capable of." Paul came out of an early retirement to become a mediator. His belief was that couples could easily work out the details of separation and get on with their lives. He discovered the truth from his clients:they only sought divorce because the help they found to stay together didn't work. He made up his mind to take a fresh and scientific look at what makes a marriage fail, and what makes a marriage work. His efforts yielded the most effective marriage manual ever conceived.