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What is the job of an editor-in-chief exactly?
When I go on a lecture tour, for the following three
weeks, gobs of stuff pour in addressed to me personally. I
dump them all on poor Jim's desk. He's got to route it and
see that somebody looks at it. If some special book comes
in that I want read right away, I take it to Jim and,
instead of my having to do it myself and having to con the
editor into reading it--I'm afraid that I can't order anybody
at Random House to read a book because they're all too
independent and you have to implore them--I let Jim do that.
And yet, what I'm trying to get through and I'm not
succeeding, you are in a sense editor-in-chief because you
still oversee; and if there is a big decision to be made,
it comes to you.
I think that is an over-simplification. Donald and I
ran the whole show for a long time, but that's no longer the
case. Every book is done in sort of a different way. Sometimes
Erskine and Silberman and Donald fight over a book, or
sometimes Jason and Loomis and I will fight over a book.
Somehow or other it gets settled. When there's a big fight
over a book, then we'll all sit down and talk about it.
I'll turn down a book in rage sometimes and don't even ask
the others, and I get hell for it from them.
Then we have young John Simon--the good John Simon.
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