I grew up in Kings Point, Long Island—F. Scott Fitzgerald’s West Egg— and graduated from Great Neck North High School in 1981. The fact that such a famous novelist and I share Scribner as our publisher is pure happenstance. Who names their kid “F” anyway?
Not the perfect student—a thorn in the side of my Harvard-educated father—I channeled most of my energy into sports. My athletic passion was lacrosse, and the skill I possessed was a simple one: I was really good at picking the ball up off the ground. Since ball possession determines the outcome of a game, I was the one, rather than the guy scoring all the goals, named Most Valuable Player.
I went south to Tulane University in New Orleans, where the Big Easy proved a life-changer for me: a new culture, soulful music, festivals, and, of course, lacrosse, Louisiana style. Dixie beer, red beans and rice, and jambalaya on the sideline. It was a high point of my life when we won the First Southwest Championship, beating the extra-large cowboys from Texas A&M.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a storyteller. The kind I like to spin are the type people often label as tall tales. But they’re not: mine have always been based in fact. The key to an attention-grabbing story, in my opinion, is, first, to be a good listener. Only then is your audience left wanting more.
I met my wife, the former Randi Kramer, on a blind date. (If you can believe it, we were fixed up by her mother.) I told her on our second date—four years after our first date—that I knew I was going to marry her. We have three wonderful children—Blake, Cooper and Phoebe—and live in Bedford Hills, New York, with an unlikely trio of dogs and an upstairs cat.