Авторы Теории Поколений пишут друг о друге.
We started working together ten summers ago, in endless meetings featuring dog-eared history books, chattering keyboards, and piles of empty diet cola cans. What did I first notice about Bill? Maybe the blinding speed of his typing. Then the equal speed of his mind—cadence weighed and syntax parsed in nanoseconds as he flew on, unstoppable, determined to draft the history of the universe in one sitting. Finally, the instinctive dramatic flair of the performer, always looking for ways to keep the reader in suspense. There are those (like me) who would rather merely reflect on a good idea and often feel overwhelmed by the task at hand. And there are those (like Bill) who are driven to grab a microphone and argue and persuade and convert people to a good idea—and whose boundless self-confidence is infectious.
The collaboration proved to be longer lasting and more productive than either of us then imagined. It wasn’t just the books (Generations appeared in 1991,13th-Gen in 1993, and now The Fourth Turning). It was also the vast research they required, and the numberless op-eds, essays, lectures, luncheons, and media interviews they triggered. Being a veteran entertainer, Bill showed me that the secret of on-stage success is feeling totally at home with who you are. Polls say most people would rather face a root canal than a live audience. Bill is the only writer I’ve met who actually looks forward to seeing that green «on air» light blink on.
After growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area (me too, but I never taiew him there), Bill migrated east to Harvard at the usual age, where he mixed book learning with civil rights activism. He left with degrees in economics, law, and public policy, and—like so many in his idealistic class of ’69—ultimately gravitated to Washington. He served as staff to President’s Ford’s Clemency Board, wrote the classic book on how Boomers handled the Vietnam draft, and later became counsel to two U.S. Senate subcommittees. A typical wonk? Not hardly—and this is where the entertainer part comes in. In the early ’80s, he co-founded the Capitol Steps, a political cabaret which he directs and for which he writes and performs. The Capitol Steps have performed over 4,000 shows and have recorded sixteen record albums.
He remains a policy nut on one issue: his passionate advocacy of the long-term economic interests of young adults and children. (He and his wife, Janie, have three daughters and a son, ages 12 to 19.) If you catch him just before one of his cabaret shows at Chelsea’s, he’ll gladly talk with you about 13ers and Millennials. He might even test a new song lyric on you. He won’t strike you as hurried at all—until about five seconds before he’s due to jump back on stage.