Three Ways to Look at Editors

By Jack Limpert

The best editors are mostly warm-blooded, supportive, and encouraging—but also capable of killing stories or firing someone when it has to be done. Ruth Whitney, the legendary editor of Glamour, once told me she didn’t like to get to know her writers too well because it made it too hard “to play lord high executioner.”

The best editors are inner-directed (by an internal gyroscope) not other-directed (taking cues from other people). See The Lonely Crowd, by David Riesman, a book published in 1950.

Being a slow-thinker, I’ve always thought fast-thinking was overrated. In 2011 I enjoyed the book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. He has two ways of thinking: Fast thinking operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort. Slow thinking, Kahneman says, gives attention to effortful mental activities and can override the impulses of thinking fast.

Speak Your Mind