Although it is certainly not my wont to boast about my kin, I’m herewith deviating from my customary behavior to mention my family’s recent accomplishments. My two sons, Joseph and Jonathan, have been successful corporate lawyers, and the older one, Joseph, is also a physician, who majored in German literature at Harvard. But it is not these two male cognitive prodigies but my older daughters, Barbara and Beth, who have inherited my passion for words. Beth has co-written a book that has sold well for Penguin Press on TV entertainment, Ten Secrets I Learned from the Apprentice, and as far as I know, she is now working on other explorations of the cesspool that is popular culture. Meanwhile Barbara has produced children’s fiction and books on economics and mathematics aimed at the young. Most recently she has published a text on money for Heinemann Press; and she has also been the economic advisor to World Almanac, a weighty tome in which her own prose can be found. She has done this while dutifully tending to her three children, one of whom has special needs.
But that does not exhaust the recent publishing feats of those who bear or once bore my family name. My younger brother Dennis, who is a physician in Litchfield County Connecticut, has just brought out with Paragon Press a highly accessible work about soaring medical costs, Too Much Medicine: A Doctor’s Prescription for Better and More Affordable Medicine. Like all of my talented relatives, Dennis writes with flair and precision on highly technical subjects; and his work carries a blurb from someone who would not likely greet me on the street, Sean Hannity’s talking associate Alan Colmes. (No, my brother does not share Colmes’s or Hannity’s politics!)
Unlike my kid brother, who continues to be hung up on the impact of ‘cultural values,’ I am a convinced hereditarian in the matter of human achievements. And it brings me great joy to know that I share the genes of these people whom I’ve described. I’m also sure they’ll soon be doing other things that I’ll feel impelled to mention, and I’ll do so at the risk of sounding once again like a braggart. But I’ll accept that risk for good reason. My family not only has lots of smarts but also works hard to develop natural endowments.