When it comes to introducing people who’ll enjoy talking, my mom is, by far, my biggest influence.
But the folks below have had a significant effect on me, too.
Jean Giono and Frédéric Back.
The author and animator of the film, The Man Who Planted Trees.
Just lucked out one evening during my freshman year in college. This film is a love letter to generosity. I put it on every night as I fall asleep. It’s up on YouTube and embedded below. Thirty minutes that could change your life.
One day during the fall of 1981, my mom was looking through a grocery circular at our local Shop Rite. On one of the back pages was a 1/2″-tall advertisement for it.
A delightful, warm bouillabaisse of great conversation, for kids and adults alike. We spent every one of my high school summers there (and I ended up going to Cornell for undergrad, too).
James L. Brooks and Norman Lear.
I spent a lot of time, as a kid in the Seventies, in front of the tube, watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, Taxi, All in the Family, Maude, and Good Times.
It wasn’t until many years later that I realized how much of an impact the innumerable, funny, challenging, thoughtful, bebop-y conversations from those shows had on me.