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Amanda Cook and Sara Lippencott edited #1 physics bestseller

  1. Sep 23, 2006 #1


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    Amanda Cook and Sara Lippincott edited #1 physics bestseller

    Editors are usually hidden in the back room, seldom get credit for work on a singleauthor book
    Smolin's book is brilliantly planned organized and written. Some person or persons did magic on this book.

    BTW as of 9:10 AM Saturday 23 September the amazon general physics bestseller list, with overall sales rank included, went:

    1. The Trouble with Physics #269
    2. The Elegant Universe #1201
    3. The Road to Reality #1283
    4. Physics for Dummies #1313
    5. Not Even Wrong #1345
    6. A Brief History of Time #1777

    TwP has been #1 continuous since 30 August, going on 4 weeks (at least whenever I looked which has been pretty often :smile: )
    I think this book had remarkable editing. It is not a putdown to say I think it is better than Lee Smolin would have produced on his own. So I want to check out what he says in his acknowledgments to his editors Cook and Lippincott.

    BTW here is about Cook
    in April 2004 she moved from Basic Books to become a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin (the publishers of TwP)

    here is a picture and some more detail
    "HOUGHTON MIFFLIN Amanda Cook, specialist in Russian and American political, economic and military affairs, has been appointed senior editor in the adult trade department. Formerly with Perseus/Basic Books and DFI International, she will be based in Boston as of April 19...."

    and here is about Lippincott, she is the one I want to focus on
    this has a picture too:

    "Sara Lippincott is an editor specializing in nonfiction and particularly in books about science for the general public. For ten years, from 1982 to 1993, she was a nonfiction editor at The New Yorker. In 1993 she moved to Pasadena, where for the next ten years she was a lecturer in the creative writing program at Caltech. She has edited several bestsellers, including Bill Bradley's Time Present, Time Past; Lawrence Krauss's The Physics of Star Trek; Timothy Ferris's The Whole Shebang; and John McPhee's Annals of the Former World, which won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction. She is currently an assistant editor at the Los Angeles Times Book Review."

    (Tim Ferris and John McPhee are great science writers and maybe excellent simply as writers---both should be familiar to readers of the New Yorker)

    She is Wellesley class of 1959 and is still editing freelance
    She writes this to her Wellesley classmates regarding the Class Newsletter:
    Re The New Yorker, I was an editor of non-fiction there, but not exclusively science. Science is something I gravitated to, and I've made it my specialty as a free-lancer since leaving the NYer 12 years ago. I'm editing for the LA Times Book Review part-time and also (am) a full-time (is this mathematically possible?) free-lance book editor, with four book-length manuscripts currently in different stages of editing and two more on the way in January and February. I won't get them done when they are supposed to get done! Needless to say...

    Retirement? Aren't we much too young for that?


    this means that Houghton Mifflin KNEW they had a potential bestseller and they picked a world class editor to do final polishing and, in effect, they were very very nice to Lee Smolin.

    OK let's hear what Smolin has to say in the acknowledgments section
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
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  3. Sep 23, 2006 #2


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    Sara Lippincott would be pissed if she knew I originally spelled her name Lippencott. editors are like that. My grandfather was a newspaper editor and he had a fierce hatred of spelling errors.

    ===exerpt from Smolin's Acknowledgments===

    ...No writer has had a better editor than Amanda Cook, and the extent to which anything good here is due to her guidance and interventions is embarrassing to admit. Sara Lippincott finished the job with an elegance and precision any writer would kill for. It was an honor to work with both of them...


    Yes. modulo jovial embellishment that is believable. the book has real elegance and precision.
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