The book

The author

  • David Shenk is the national bestselling author of five previous books, including The Forgetting ("remarkable" - Los Angeles Times), Data Smog ("indispensable" - New York Times), and The Immortal Game ("superb" - Wall Street Journal). He is a correspondent for, and has contributed to National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, Gourmet, Harper's, The New Yorker, NPR, and PBS.

    More info here.

    Contact David.

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    Speaking inquiries here.


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July 02, 2008


Tim Dellinger

I read the profile a little differently: to me it's a classic case of an addictive personality.

Googling and grabbing the first link:
Gives us a New York Times story from 1983 called "THE ADDICTIVE PERSONALITY: COMMON TRAITS ARE FOUND". The common traits?

- Impulsive behavior, difficulty in delaying gratification, an antisocial personality and a disposition toward sensation seeking.

- A high value on nonconformity combined with a weak commitment to the goals for achievement valued by the society.

- A sense of social alienation and a general tolerance for deviance.

- A sense of heightened stress. This may help explain why adolescence and other stressful transition periods are often associated with the most severe drug and alcohol problems.

Pretty much every quote in the George Lucas profile supports one or more of those statements!

CJ Alexander

Hi David,

Great post; it's nice to see your insights again!

I would love to hear one of those stories about Michael Jordan, at some point. It does seem to me that an extreme emotional sensitivity can either massively inhibit or enhance one's capacity for greatness — there's probably not much middle ground. Personally, I find the idea inspiring that an instinctive inclination to harbor even minor slights can be turned into a force for productive (rather than destructive) emotional energy.

I know it's probably a ways off yet, but I'm looking forward to buying your book once it's available. This blog has been a treasure so far.


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