Alex and I went to Central High School a year apart, in college competed against each other in Ultimate Frisbee (I think his team, Wesleyan, beat mine, Columbia, more often), and shared a room in Paris for a summer. Eventually we played as teammates on a team called Blood in the 90’s.
His book puts him in the company of other friends who knew me before their debut books became huge.
Zadie Smith of White Teeth (and other) fame, hosted me and my friend (and her Cambridge University classmate), Nasser, at her London apartment on our route from Cambridge to Amsterdam. I think her mother cooked us dinner. I didn’t know she was writing a book until I saw her interviewed on Charlie Rose (one of the many times).
Marisha Pessl‘s Special Topics in Calamity Physics has little to do with physics. In fact, my meeting her through mutual friends had more to do with my leaving physics, as we met dancing — part of my departure from academia, though she was at Barnard and I was at Columbia at the time. I’ll spare the details of our story to protect the innocent (anyone who knows the mutual friends can guess).
A couple summers ago in Washington Square Park hearing a guy say to his girlfriend at the bench next to mine that the book changed his life. Earlier I had seen her book had the entire cover of the New York Times book section, which was a clue it was important.
After Alex, Zadie, and Marisha, any aspiring writers: get to know me!
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On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees