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was a great deal of phoniness in him but he had flair. He had
a knack for picking people. He picked people for his office,
and he picked authors who were going places by some kind of
intuition. As I said, he rarely read a book, but he was smart
enough so that when you could tell him the outline of a book,
he could con most authors into thinking he had sat up all
night with the book--after just a 15-minute briefing from
one of his editors.
I remember once in one of the sessions we had you said
something about his having this idea. You told his wife after
the fact. You said that was sort of his idea--the good man
and the bastard.
With Horace being the bastard.
I was just wondering--did he constantly do this?
No, this was very unusual. He didn't get many ideas
at all. First of all, a lot of the authors were wise to him,
but they liked him, and he was quite unusual in his day. Most
publishers were stodgy old poops who had no imagination at all.
They had inherited the business or they had built it up the
way a banker would build up a business in a small town. They
had no imagination. Their advertisements were dusty. The
books themselves were ugly. There was no attempt made to
dress them up. And then along came these young fellows like
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