Dr. Jelani Cobb is a New Yorker staff writer and the author of three books, including The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress. He teaches journalism at Columbia University.
“Ralph Wiley — the sports writer, late Ralph Wiley — told me something when I was 25 or so, and he was so right. He said I should never fall in love with anything I’ve written. … The second thing he told me was, ‘You won’t get there overnight, and believe me, you don’t want to.’ I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t get it when he told me that. I was like — why would I not want to get there overnight? Now I’m like: Thank God I didn’t get there overnight. Because there’s so much writing I would have to explain.”
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