Saturday, February 1, 2020

98. Elisabeth Sifton

 This post combines a number of things:
—honoring the passing of Elisabeth Sifton, brilliant and gifted editor and writer
—noting how confidence defines a person
—remarking insecurely

Elisabeth Sifton was a formidable presence when I worked as Design Director at Viking Penguin (now Penguin Random House). She was dazzlingly intellectual, a bit condescending, and absolutely confident. Her authors—as impressive as she—were no match for Elisabeth Sifton. I often wonder if her intelligence gave her the confidence she seemed to display in every aspect of her life. Was she confident because of her father, the theolgian Reinhold Niebuhr? Or was she confident, thanks to hard work, despite her father and equally-brilliant mother? Of course, all of this conjecture is ridiculous and can be solved by reading her memoir, which I'll do. As an older person aware of pluses and minuses, I can read it with admiration and lack of sorrow for my own lesser abilities.

Speaking of older, Elisabeth Sifton was only a decade older than I am. Brains and confidence seemed certainly to put her in a different age.

Originally slated for October 18, 2019; posted February 1, 2020

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