A. My current and previous occupation: journalist.
A. writer and editor at The Washington Monthly
A. Francis W. Parker, Phillips Academy, Andover; Harvard College
A. Paul McCartney
A. The Killing Fields
A. The Colbert Report
A. My goals: Work Hard. Be Nice. Keep perspective.
A. I don't like mottos but believe in staying skeptical yet idealistic.
A. A day on vacation with my wife and our three kids.
A. Dying of cancer (I'm a cancer survivor)
A. Skiing on a beautiful day with good snow.
A. Franklin Roosevelt
A. Nelson Mandela
A. "But" and "hey"
A. Intentional or unintentional unkindness
A. Photographic memory for names and faces.
A. My kids.
A. Hubristic unthoughtfulness
A. Friendliness and seriousness of purpose
A. Barack Obama
A. My intense interest in politics and history.
A. Atticus Finch
A. Tony Soprano
A. I'd ask Abraham Lincoln about his childhood, which is not well understood.
A. Lousy customer service.
A. Watching funny movies.
A. President of the United States
A. Sense of humor, decency, insight
A. "Yesterday," "Good Golly, Miss Molly," "You're So Vain," "Sweet Baby James," "Imagine"
A. Just a few of them: Robert Caro, Taylor Branch, David Halberstam, David Donald, Geoffrey Ward, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Philip Roth, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, John Fowles.
A. I like parts of different books but don't have a top five.
A. No. There are too many new ones I haven't read.
A. Write like you're writing a letter to your aunt.
A. Your book is so readable!
A. At the end of 1999, I did a story for the TODAY show (I moonlight on TV) about great "What Ifs?" of the 20th Century. One of the what ifs was what if Giuseppe Zangara, an unemployed bricklayer, who got off five shots at FDR two weeks before he was inaugurated on March 4, 1933, had killed the president-elect? How would history be different without Roosevelt? I submitted the book proposal to Simon and Schuster on September 10, 2001. After 9/11, I put the whole project aside for six months. But then I woke up with a start one night and realized that the big issue of our time was the quality of our crisis leadership. This brought me back to the master--Franklin Roosevelt.