Growing up in New York City, I was surrounded by intellectuals and an analytical culture. Both my father and stepfather relished doing the Times crossword puzzles, looking forward to completing them daily (without Google). My father even undertook the Sunday diagram-less ones, sketching them out onto graph paper. He was stingy by nature but never scrimped when it came to learning. He'd pay for any course I wanted to take to "better myself." Meanwhile, my mother and stepfather spent every evening discussing politics and theatre. So naturally, as a teenager that's what I emulated. For "light reading" I chose novels like Sophie's Choice and The Sound and The Fury. In high school, I began reading about current events so I could sound knowledgeable but towards the end of my college years, I began to wonder about all of this critical analysis and the pursuit of a 'life of the mind.'