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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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deals with the Book-of-the-Month Club and Time-Life, Inc. The big book on the Knopf list was John Updyke's Couples. Another Random House book that year, which was of special interest to the Cerf family, was The 21 Day Shape Up Book. My wife was instrumental in getting this book for Random House. The book is based on exercises that are done religiously by Phyllis and myself, and are responsible for keeping us in very good shape to this very day. Also, during the year, my son Christopher had his first book publihsed. It was called The World's Largest Cheese and the publisher was Doubleday.

Early in the year of 1968, I met Rod McKuen, whose various books of poetry have sold over three million copies for us in the past three years. I gave a dinner for Rod at “21" that included in the guest list--Ed Sullivan, Walter Cronkite, Gloria Vanderbilt, Aileen Mehle (Suzy), Gardner Cowles, Richard Rodgers, Arlene Francis, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Lind Hayes, Mr. and Mrs. John Steinbeck, Mr. and Mrs. George Plimpton, Mr. and Mrs. Osborne Elliott (Newsweek) and Rex Reed. The most important guest, as far as Rod McKuen was concerned, was Frank Sinatra, and before the evening was over, Sinatra had agreed to listen to some of Rod's music. Later this resulted in a joint album by the two of them that was outstandingly successful.

In May, William Styron won the Pulitzer Prize for his Random House novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner. The announcement was made while I was attending a Directors‘meeting of RCA in Indianapolis, and the first I heard of it was when General Sarnoff turned to me, very excited, to say, “WE have just won

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