I don’t think of myself as especially hard working. I started my career at The New Yorker as a young staff writer—and in those days in New York publishing circles, the day began at ten a.m. That’s when the receptionist arrived, the switchboard opened. As a result, twenty-five years later, if I’m sitting at my computer by nine-thirty I still think to myself, “I’m early!” (Not only that, but twenty-five years later every place else I’ve ever lived still seems cheap by comparison.) Still, even with that laggardly start, I’ve managed to get done most of what I set out to do, and I’ve never spent a lot of time whining about how hard it all is. If Americans are supposed to be good at anything, it’s hard work.