Authors@Google: James Magner, M.D.

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 13.12.2011

>> Male Presenter: Hi. Good morning. My name is Kevin Wang from 141.
Thank you all for coming. You know, we have lots of
chess players here. Also lots of chess players in 141. Today
it's our honor to have Dr. James Magner here to talk
about his new book. Also share his advice. And
Dr. Magner is a scientist, a doctor, husband, father, investor, and
a chess player. He went through college, medical school,
married and raised a family. And still was able to get in
some serious chess playing. His new book, which you have
now, and provide help to readers who want to live rich and meaningful
lives who also want to win more chess games. [laughter] Without
further ado, let's welcome James.
>> Dr. Magner: Thank you very much. So I'm really -- I'm really
happy to be here. It's a real privilege for me to be
here because I know how skilled and creative people at
Google are. I had a problem. I was busy with my career
and you know going to medical school and so on. I wanted
to meet girls, okay? I wanted to do something meaningful
with my career. And I wanted to, you know, I was
ambitious. I wanted to get a good job that had good pay
and benefits. I didn't want to be totally materialistic,
but I recognized I had to earn a living, pay a mortgage,
buy shoes for children. And so, all of that is important
to keep in mind. But I wanted to keep interests. I'm an
amateur astronomer. I collect fossils. I was in Boy Scouts so I had those interests. And
I, even though I was an adult, I wanted to keep some of those
interests. And then, over the years, I accumulated lots
of stories, because I raised two daughters, I had interesting,
difficult patients. I had various crises as we all do.
And I saw that there was, in medicine sometimes people get
burned out and sort of cynicism in medicine. And I
wanted to share some of my stories because sort of as a
positive message for medical students and trainees that
you have to keep your eye on many different things but
enjoy your life and do something productive and be a good
citizen and, you know, have fun. And how could I share
some of those anecdotes and stories? Because I'm not
Henry Kissinger and so nobody is going to pay to publish
my stories, which I thought were valuable. In other
words, I felt I had a message or interesting and
actually. Nobody wants to read a long, dull, book so I
wanted to do something that was entertaining and useful.
In other words anecdotes could be instructive and
entertaining and useful. Who's going to do it? Well, I
was an amateur chess player. Now, I'm an average player
that plays in tournaments. So of people that pay 50
dollars to sign up in a tournament, I'm sort of average
in that -- so my rating is like 15/50, okay? So and part
of my problem over the years is I never had time to study
chess, really. So I decided over the years I would
collect little traps and tricks I could use occasionally to beat
really strong players. And it was fun. Although I would
usually lose to strong players. [laughter] To occasionally surprise
one of them and beat them. So I thought what I'll do,
since I played for 40 years, that I would collect some
of these games where I actually tricked somebody that was
hundreds of points better than me. It can happen. And
put those together. And then, interweave my, the
things that I really wanted to publish, which are my
anecdotes. And have a chess publisher publish it and
then that way I wouldn't have to pay. Because if you
publish your own book it's like 20,000 dollars. Maybe
electronic publishing is cheaper now. But I wanted
actually a book. I'm my age if I'm going to publish a
book, I want a book. So I thought, "how could I get this
done?" So to make a long story short, I sent out samples
to three chess publishers, one of them in New Haven, who is
a prominent chess publisher. Sent me a response, "it's an intriguing -- some intriguing material
-- come meet me on Saturday morning; we'll talk about
it." So that morning I put on my necktie. I had coffee
with my wife and she said, "Jim I just want to protect
your ego because this is a chess publisher. He's going to tell
you you're an average player. You have a very
creative, like a tricky style, so it's kind of, you have some
intriguing games. But you're kind of an average player.
But all this other crap has to come out. [laughter] And so, I said,
"well, we'll see what happens." So I met with the
publisher and he said, "well, Jim you have an intriguing
style. You have tricks and traps. You beat some strong
players. But basically you're an average player. You
probably have too many games. Take some of the games
out. [audience chuckles] But put in some more of these stories, because
those anecdotes are great, okay? [laughter] So that's the kind of
publisher I really needed to meet. So his name is Hanon
Russell. And he's published many chess books over the
last 30 years in the United States. So he committed the
money. Actually, he gave me a 1-page contracted saying
he was going to get 90 percent, I'm going to get 10
percent. So I said, "let me -- I played chess for 40
years, I wrote up the games, I wrote up my stories. You
publish it and you get 90 percent and I get 10 percent."
And he said yes. Because of course, he's putting up the
money -- he has to earn his money back. And I said,
"sold." [laughter] Signed it. So that was -- I mean,
so I want to make clear at the very beginning -- I'm not
here to try to sell anything really or to, I'm not
doing this to make money. I feel I have a valuable
message especially more young medical trainees or
actually any bright college age person or professional. I hope that
you'll actually. You can skip the chess parts. If
you'll actually look at it over the holidays, it's
entertaining and I think you'll take something away from it.
So I'm just going to read some excerpts if that's the way
you usually do this. And also, this is very informal.
So you are welcome to contact me later. I work at
Genzyme down the street. I'm an endocrinologist. But I
mostly sit at a computer all day. You know what that's
like, doing clinical research documents. So in the
introduction, I talk about the development of expertise
in an area such as skill playing chess. Is that the result of
innate talent or is that a skill even an average person
can achieve if enough hours of study and practice were
applied? Intuitively many persons believe that innate
talent as well as practice are required. There's a guy
named Philip Ross who came up with a 10,000 hour rule, a
hypothesis much discussed in recent years, that states
that a bright person who wants to have a skill in some
area need only study and practice that skill for 10,000
hours to achieve a very high level of expertise. Let me
now do a calculation. Assuming a person has a spouse and
a family as well as a job and other responsibilities, one
might potentially only be able to study or play chess for
one Saturday afternoon for four hours at most. That
would commit 2500 Saturdays or 48 years before one would
achieve expertise in chess if the 10,000 hour rule is
valid. And that can be a discouraging realization although I thought it was probable, I suppose,
that after only 1,000 hours some people may be reasonably
good. So other people have thought about this too.
Charles Krauthammer who's sometimes on TV, a very
smart man. He wrote a review -- a little article -- in the
New Republic in July 1983 called "Joy and Madness at the
Board: the romance of chess". And he quoted at the beginning of
his article HG Wells. You have, let us say, a promising politician,
a rising artist that you wish to destroy. Dagger
or bomb are archaic, clumsy, and unreliable. But teach
him, inoculate him with chess, so that's the way
to destroy your enemy. For Wells, chess was not just
an addiction, its continuing popularity constituted a kind
of heresy. Wells wrote, quote, "The passion for playing chess is one of the most
unaccountable in the world. It slaps the theory of
natural selection in the face. [laughter] It is the most absorbing
of occupations, the least satisfying of desires. It
annihilates a man". So Krauthammer humorously speculated
that Well's ire had been formed at an impressionable age
when he left a rook hanging in an important game and he
postulated that Wells never quite recovered. So could
be. So one of my themes in the book is that you need to
have hobbies like chess, but don't get so addicted or
taken by whether it's swimmer or running or whatever your
hobby is. You do need to keep balance. You have
families, you have children, you have careers, you have
other important interests perhaps with your church or
certain charities. And we -- Kevin and I -- when we go
to the chess tournaments, I think we see some rather odd
people there sometimes who have spent 40 hours a week
playing chess. And like they barely have enough money to
buy groceries,I think. And so, it's -- one can take
things a little bit too far. And also probably the new
addiction might be Texas Hold'em poker, which I also enjoy
playing, but I see some of these people at poker
tournaments who probably dig ditches for a living and for them $100 to sit down and play
in a poker tournament, that's a lot of money for them.
And they're not thinking clearly in terms of the way
they're investing their time. I did well in school and
it's important for the people still in college who might
read this to have the priority to do well in school. And
I won a scholarship to come over to Woods Hole, Massachusetts to do
biology studies for a summer in 1972. That was the era of,
you know, a little wildness and free love and all that
stuff. I was just in college, at the summer experience,
sort of a long way from home in Illinois. I was a good
boy, okay? But it was a coming of age experience for me
that summer. And I'll read you one anecdote. During the
summer of 1972, after my junior year in college, I was
awarded a small scholarship to live and study in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. I
was to take the summer biology course and complete a
well-defined research project in a few weeks. if possible.
I joined a group of a dozen bright students from around
the U.S.. We had a great time added both at work and play.
During the first week, Dr. Janish invited the students to spend an informal evening
at his home. We had some lively discussions about biology,
sciences and Woods Hole when at about 1030 p.m., one of the young ladies from California
stood up and shouted, "let's go skinny dipping." Everyone
immediately agreed and we raced out the front door to
the nearby beach. Although I'll admit that this shy and studious
boy from Illinois, -- land of endless corn fields--,
was trailing in the rear and was quite bemused by this sudden
turn of events. And so, that was one of my first quite memorable
experiences. And of course, we did good science at Woods
Hole also. [laughter] In the book -- I've been interested in human evolution, in
genetics for a number of years. I put some material
in the book about that as well. And I talk about DNA and
sort of like you, probably most educated laypersons
know. That all of us share almost identical DNA sequences.
Of course the police can track down criminals
by the occasional differences in certain areas. But
like on page 31, I mention that, "if the long strings
of the DNA letter sequences from any two persons were
set side by side and compared, about 999 out of every
1,000 letters would be exactly the same in the two sequences. Of
the approximately 3 billion letters in each long
string, the inheritable differences in each person thus
would consist of just 0.1 percent of the sequence. In contrast,
chimpanzees are approximately 7 to 10 times more genetically diverse.
Moreover, the genetic differences between a chimpanzee
and a human are 20 times greater than the differences
between two average humans even though the overall DNA
sequence of an average chimpanzee is about 98.5 percent
identical to that of an average human. The high
similarity of the DNA sequences among individual people
is evidence that all humans descended from a relatively
small group of ancestors perhaps because many thousands
of years ago the human population went through a
so-called bottleneck because of famine or disease or lack
of resources. The bottleneck concept would be more
believable if our ancestors were living in a relatively
small region so that a famine, for example, could affect an entire
location where the ancestors lived. Intriguingly our direct
ancestors possibly moved out of Africa about 50,000 to
100,000 years ago after stopping for awhile in the Middle
East and then they spread over a wide area. They
followed in the footsteps of other hominids who had
exited Africa in prior waves of migration. And these
earlier human-like creatures who had migrated out earlier
shared a common ancestor with us, but the ones who had
immigrated earlier from Africa were not, for the most part,
our direct ancestors. In fact, there may have been a
little breeding between these separate groups under special
circumstances. And then I mention in the next paragraph
an intriguing theory by Huff and all from University of
Utah. They looked at so-called mobile elements in the
DNA and they found that about a million years ago there
were -- based on their mathematical calculations -- there
were only about 18,500 animals that were human. So we
came from a very, very limit -- small group. And that's
sort of an intriguing story. In medical school, that was
also a coming of life experience. And I only played a
little chess in medical school. I'd been an Eagle Scout
in my hometown of Quincy. So as part of my scouting
experience, I learned to shoot a small caliber rifle.
But I'd never seen a gunshot wound. Many patients with
knife and gunshot wounds were brought to the emergency
room at the University of Chicago where I went to medical
school. And one evening, as I was following a surgical
resident around on call, his beeper went off and he was asked to
come to the ER right away to see a young man who had been
shot. I road down the elevator with the resident and I
was rather uncomfortable. So I was still a medical
student then. Because I had no idea what this was going
to be like. The two of us were directed to an
examination room and I held my breath as we stepped through the
door. There on the exam table sat a 25-year-old man
looking more annoyed than traumatically injured. He wore
a bright purple vest over a lime green shirt and sported
a large gray felt hat with a small orange feather on one
side. He looked up at us and pointed at his left thigh.
The nurses had removed his pants and had applied pressure
bandages where a small caliber bullet had entered and
also exited his thigh. We unwrapped the bandages to
examine the small tears in the skin where the bullet had
passed clean through. After a brief medical history, the
resident showed me how he could tell the path of the
bullet had not hit the bone. The pulses in the leg were
normal and the neurologic examination of the leg also was
completely normal. As I watched with a suppressed smile,
the resident expertly applied a band aid to both the
entrance and exit wounds, shook the man's hand and
pointed him to the checkout desk. So that was the first
gunshot wound I ever saw. Then I'll just quickly add.
Sadly, not all of my experiences with gunshot wound
patients were as lighthearted. By the time of my fourth
year, surgical rotation, I'd established myself as a
smart student who was very precise, well organized and
highly competent. But unfortunately in the eyes of my
surgeon supervisors, clearly inclined to internal medicine instead of surgery. They brought
me one evening to the surgical intensive care unit where
a middle-aged woman lay intubated on a respirator with multiple IV
lines, a Foley catheter, a chest tube etcetera, etcetera.
She had been shot in the chest and abdomen four times by her husband
and had been stabilized in surgery that day. The surgeons
told me to watch her all the night, keep track of all
the central lines, IVs, medications, blood transfusions,
urine flow, chest tube output, vital signs, respiratory
settings, blood gases, etcetera. And give them a call
if I had any serious problems. I was thrilled -- so fourth year
student -- I was thrilled by this opportunity to manage
a complicated and very ill patient along with the skilled
nursing staff and characteristically and quite understandably
the surgeons were thrilled to leave these medical
tasks to a bright student so that they could get back
to the operating room. Different people are just
naturally inclined to different sorts of challenges.
All went well until midnight when a hospital security officer
peeked into the intensive care unit to see me. "Hey
Doc. Got to talk to you," he whispered. And although
I was wearing a white coat, I was not a doctor, just a fourth
year student. We just got a call that this lady's
husband found out she is still alive so he's grabbed
his gun and is on the way to the hospital to finish her
off. "Oh", I replied numbly while holding two clipboards
and three flowcharts. [clears throat] "Just wanted to
let you know,Doc, so you can be ready if the man comes in here." [laughter]He
shrugged and then added, "the chief asked me to sit down the hall for
a couple of hours so I'll be here." Not feeling much better
about the security situation, I kept the IV's running,
the blood transfusing, the chest tube draining, the
respirator pumping, the urine flowing and the blood pressure
stable all night until I was relieved in the morning.
The angry husband never showed up. So that's another
story. We also took care of indigent patients in Chicago.
And some of them were alcoholics, criminals, down and
out people. And they would lose weight, become malnourished
and some of them would get tuberculosis. So we took
care of them. On one occasion, a young physician was visiting
from England and he walked -- we walked him around
the ward. While standing at the bedside, I presented
to him a case of a man who was improving on anti-tuberculosis
medications. The young doctor was incredulous that we
were still seeing cases of TB, commonly, in the United
States since during his training he had not seen one case
in England. I explained that our impoverished urban
areas still had malnourished or alcoholic or other down
and out persons with TB. With typical British humor he
responded adamantly, "not in our slums." So it was
interesting to go to medical school in an urban area
dealing with all sorts of people, but still not too much
time for chess. But I was beginning to realize a few
basic principles about chess as I was playing a few
people. One needs to gain a a reasonable understanding of the basic chess openings and focus on about
a half dozen openings for more careful study. You
can't learn every opening. So with the limited time that
we have in our lives to do a hobby like chess, you need
to be selective and focus on just certain parts
of it. In addition to just a few openings, you need
to gain insight into important chess techniques. The most
important techniques probably are practicing king and
pawn endings, typical mating nets of the way certain pieces
come together, let's say against the castled king.
Proper use of the rooks which even top experts make mistakes
when you're down to just a king and couple pawns
and a rook on the board. So there are definite sort of physiological
rules the way those rooks and pawns interact and
it's very, if you know those, sometimes a good player
will not be optimally positioning those rooks and you
can beat them. You should keep a record of tournament games
and study those games. You can play over famous games
in chess history. That's always fun to do. You should
get adequate sleep and avoid alcohol the night
before a tournament. Learn some opening traps both
for black and white and be boldfaced enough to actually
try them during important games. So I have 31 games in here.
Many of them I won by an opening trap. And it's embarrassing
to the opponent if you can beat them in 15 or
20 moves. Especially if they're a whole lot stronger
than you are. It's because they underestimated you. You
surprise them. They weren't ready for it. You need to. We
play with clocks of course, so you manage your time
well in the games. Because, if you don't do that, you
don't really have time to properly think at the critical end
stage of the game. Have discipline and remain highly attentive
during games to watch for small errors or inaccuracies
by opponents. Consider carefully when it may
be to your advantage to trade off queens and other pieces
to take dangerous weapons out of your opponent's hands
and so on. And so, why try some of these -- I'm not reading
them all, but why try some of these trappy, tricky
plays? It's because against a very strong opponent you're
going to lose anyway. [laughter] So you might as well
try something a little bit unusual. If you're playing somebody your
own strength, you should probably be very disciplined
and play really the most correct way that you
can. But if you're playing somebody hundreds of points higher
be a little creative because you're probably going to
lose the game anyway. Accept the fact that you will lose
to a strong opponent in any case and you are trying a
somewhat desperate strategy to win the game. Keep in
mind Teddy Roosevelt's observation. Quote, "Far better
it is" -- you can almost see him saying this -- "far better
it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even
though checkered by failure than to rank with those
poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because
they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory
nor defeat". Well, I finish my medical school and then
I had met a girl. She was from Texas. So I decided to
do my internship and residency in San Antonio. So
we loaded up her car and drove to Texas. So on Page 48,
I talk about that little trip. Things were looking up.
I was finishing medical school in 1977. I was engaged
to be married that summer. I also had been accepted
at my first choice hospital for internship in internal
medicine. The drive went well till we were about 30
miles outside Little Rock, Arkansas. We were on the
4-lane highway and the Charger started coughing and
losing power. So Glenda pulled it over to the side of
the highway. We sat stunned for a moment as cars and
trucks whizzed by, each one slightly rocking our stalled
car. It was still light although dusk was coming. And
there were pine trees as far as we could see. We stood
outside the car and I raised the hood. Of course, this
was before cell phones. 1977. For several minutes, the
cars sped by, but after a quarter hour, one old small
station wagon passed us but slowed, pulled to our side of
the highway, then backed up 50 yards to reach us where we
were parked. A clean cut man in his 30s walked back
toward us. "Out of gas?" he asked. "No, the car just lost
power," I replied, "so I guess we're going to need a tow
truck." We shook hands and I was certainly glad he had
stopped. He said to grab anything valuable out of the
car and then, and he would give us a ride to the next
exit where he thought there was a filling station and
someone could probably arrange for a tow from there. He
smiled then handed me a newspaper he carried with him. A
pro-communist newspaper with a hammer and sickle in the
top corner. "I also want to give you this," he said
earnestly, "and I really want you to read it and think
about it." I was now more stunned than when the car had
died. I realized that I was in the woods in Arkansas
talking to someone who should be feeling a little out of
place in this county. But I took the newspaper, thanked
him, and when I reached into the Charger to collect a
small travel bag, I tossed the newspaper into the
backseat. The ride to the exit took less than three
minutes and we hopped out of the filling station and
waved good-bye and I really did appreciate his help. The
station owner said we were in luck since Merle was just
bringing the tow truck into the shop right now and he
would be happy to tow us into a place he knew in Little
Rock that could fix our Dodge. In a half hour, a very
large tow truck pulled in, driven by a very muscular young
man. I helped Glenda up the high step into the front
seat next to the driver and then I stepped up, slid on to
the seat, shut the door. Off we went to retrieve our
sick car. Merle told us to take any other valuables out
of the car since he would drop the car at the dealership
then drop us at a nearby motel. This time when I reached
into the Charger, I had a couple of minutes to stuff the
communist newspaper into one of my small bags out of
sight. I didn't want that in the car where the workmen
might see it. Merle raised the front wheels of the
charger and hooked it up. We climbed back into the front
seat and off we went to Little Rock. It was now dark.
In a couple of minutes I realized we were going about 85
miles per hour. I looked back and yes our car was still
dragging along behind. Next I realized in the dashboard
in front of our driver was a large black pistol without a
holster and next to that was a 3-inch stack of bills
secured with a couple of rubber bands. "I guess you are
ready for any trouble," I said in a loud voice to be heard
above the roar of the truck as I pointed at the gun.
"Yep", said Merle. "Okay if I put on the radio? My
favorite show is on now," he added. Not being in an
argumentative mood, I agreed and he clicked the button.
The church choir was just starting "Holy, Holy, Holy" and
Merle turned the volume up higher as the engine roared.
I think he also picked up the pace to 90 miles an hour.
Our car, remarkably, was still attached. The next few
minutes were quite memorable as we raced along the
highway in the dark swerving around slower traffic, with
the gospel choir on the radio at full blast. Soon we
were at the dealership where we dropped the car by the
front door. A few blocks away at the motel we bid
farewell to Merle with our sincere thanks and a small tip
since at that point we barely had any money in our
checking accounts. Merle did his job well and he did it
in style -- Arkansas style. The next afternoon, we had a
repaired car and an interesting story to tell. So that
was my adventure with Merle. I put in a chapter about my
first daughter. Having children is wonderful. There can
be surprises. So show of hands. Do some of you have
kids? So, okay great. So there's always surprises. So
I'll just read a little bit from Chapter 7. Erin was
born at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland in
January 1981. Glenda and I had joked. Remember I said
January. Glenda and I had joked somewhat nervously about
what might happen if she were in labor just before or
during Super Bowl. But actually, all went well that day.
Glenda had to stay in the hospital an extra day because
of a low grade fever which gave me an opportunity to
speak again with the pediatrician who had briefly
examined our baby. I told him that I was a bit of a nervous
new father and I was not highly trained in pediatrics so
I asked him, please, to re-examine our little girl one more time
very carefully. That way I would know that when I got
her home if she was cranky or had some other issue I
would be more certain that the root cause was not really
a major problem. He laughed and agreed and all was well.
We brought our baby back to our apartment on the third
day after her birth but she didn't take her breast-feedings very eagerly and she slept
quietly most of the time. Others commented how lucky we
were to have a quote good baby. When she was ten days old,
I came home from work and found Glenda crying because
the baby again had seem to not take to breast-feedings very
well and was fussy and crying. Over the course of the evening,
I took a look at the baby more with a doctor's eye
than a father's eye but I knew little about babies.
I was certain that she had been very carefully examined
twice about a week ago by the pediatrician. But
by 10 p.m., I noted that her respiratory rate had increased
and she started having what are called rib retractions.
And early physical sign of difficult breathing.
I told Glenda I might be overreacting but I thought
there were objective signs of a respiratory problem and
I suggested we take the baby to the emergency room. When
we arrived at the emergency room, the staff was responsible
enough to take a look at Erin within just a minute
or two and they immediately felt there was some sort
of important respiratory problem. During the next 60 minutes,
her respiratory problem worsened rapidly and Erin
was intubated and placed in the intensive care
unit. The chest x-rays showed fluid in the tissues of
both lungs that possibly was pneumonia and the heart
was enlarged. Erin's blood oxygen worsened during the night
and she suffered a cardiac arrest. But after a few
minutes of resuscitation, her heart was beating again
and her breathing continued to be supported by the
machine. Stunned, Glenda and I sat in the waiting area
throughout the night trying to remain supportive of each
other. So I won't go into more detail about all that
just at the moment. But Erin then had a horrendous course
but survived. And required some heart surgeries
and lots of other things. Which make for a short but quite
interesting series of anecdotes. And then, I put in some
photos including, of Erin as she graduated from high
school and later got married to her college sweetheart.
So it all turns out well. But those sorts of surprises
can overtake any family. And you need to be prepared to
deal with that. I had a younger daughter Carley who was
quite skilled and talented, loved to play the piano and
was quite good at it. And she, as a young elementary
student, she performed brilliantly several complex
classical pieces at her spring piano concert so I was
dismayed that during the following summer months -- do she
was in elementary school--, she decided she would not
practice the piano even one day. In September, --so the
summer had gone by -- I thought that I would teach her a
useful lesson about the importance of practice and
continued effort. I sat her down at a piano and asked
her to please play her classical pieces from that prior
spring concert. The smug look dropped from my face when
Carley effortlessly played them all nearly perfectly from
memory. So I'm not sure who learned the bigger lesson
that afternoon. Parents should observe carefully and
take to heart a real sense of wonder and awe as their
children grow and develop. Human beings are truly
amazing. Carley made transitions and so on. And when
she was about 16 years old, she joined a group of high
school students who were being trained by the local
police to go into a bar and order a drink. If the
student was not properly carded, and was actually given a
drink, the police waiting outside planned to move in and serve a
citation. Although Carley was a fairly worldly teenager, she actually did not have, at that
time, any experience ordering alcohol. The dozen or
so students were assembled for an informal training session
that included a mock-up of a bar area with a policeman
acting as bartender so the students could practice
what they were supposed to say. The police instructor
explained that the bar would have hard liquor as well
as beer in both bottles and draft. Carley was first at
bat so she somewhat self-consciously stepped up to the
mock bartender, feigned a confident attitude, and
in a loud voice announced, "I'd like a bottle of draft
beer, please." [laughter] After a second of stunned
silence, the bartender and all of the police trainers roared
with laughter. Blinking like a deer in the headlights
and a little red faced, Carley listened as they
explained her error. So that gives you some flavor of raising
Carley. When I was then a young faculty member in
Chicago, I had to interview students who wanted to come and
be interns and trainees at our hospital. So I had different
sorts of interviews. Some were interviews for students
who -- to get more boots on the ground I would hire
bright students to come work in my research laboratory for
the summer. So I -- hospital paid for it so I was happy
to hire them. And they always made a contribution. It was
fun to be around bright young students. But there was
an issue. I had accepted a very bright young coed to join
my lab for a few weeks. But a month before her scheduled
time, she called me and explained sheepishly that she
would have to back out of the job. So this is her on the
telephone. She said, "I have just won an all expenses
paid trip to Switzerland for this summer." "Wow," I replied
and I expressed by sincere congratulations then
I added just in jest, "but if you stop to reconsider for a
moment, wouldn't you rather work in my lab in Chicago
doing fascinating biochemistry rather than traveling
here and there in Switzerland?" She was silent for
a moment. So then I added, "and consider Chicago is actually
exactly like Switzerland only flatter". [laughter] Now
realizing that I was just teasing her we both had a good laugh together.
In addition to interviewing college students
for summer positions, I also interviewed individually
each year about 20 medical students who were applying to be interns in
the hospital's internal medicine training program.
I really enjoyed meeting these bright applicants and
I was quite interested to see what they were doing with
their lives. One of my particular points of interest was
to analyze the chronology of what they had listed on
their applications so I could understand what they
had done year by year since high school, a period of
8 years for these applicants. Sometimes a little probing
would disclose they had traveled in Europe for a
year or worked on an archaeological dig. During one interview
with a muscular young man, I was having difficulty
understanding what he had done for one 12-month period where
there seemed to be a gap in his CV. He hemmed and
hawed a bit and I still had no clarity after a minute
or 2. "So just tell me," I continued in a mildly stern tone.
"Is that the year that you were in jail?" His wide eyed
expression instantly told me --somewhat to my horror--
that I must have struck a nerve. But let me explain right now
doctor he blurted that it was not really my fault. We
finished the rest of the interview in a fairly routine
manner but I'm sure he walked out, wondered what amazing
investigative techniques had been employed by the hospital to discover
his secret. I'd only been joking, of course, when I mentioned
jail. [clears throat] As a young faculty member I had a research lab
and I loved my research and I loved publishing papers
and so on, but the grant process is very competitive and
I got to the point where I eventually just couldn't compete.
I was a pretty small operation. I did some good things
working on TSH and of course later, I came to work
on Genzyme and they make recombinant human TSH for thyroid
cancer patients. So I've had 30 years of experience
working on the biochemistry of TSH. So this was a really
good fit for me to move to Genzyme . But at the time,
we were under a lot of stress. And as we were unable
to support our research, find ways to do it, it was tough
times in academics. And it still is tough. I loved
a joke that circulated in our department at that time
that seemed quite apropos. There once was a remote monastery
of monks whose goal was to pray three times a
day for the salvation of the world, help the poor a little
if they could, and teach young boys how to become
monks. So this was like a parallel situation to us in academics
where we weren't supposed to just see patients all
the time -- patients patients patients -- but we were supposed
to teach and do research and other things just as the monks
were supposed to pray for the salvation of the world, help
the poor, teach young boys how to become monks. The
monks took pride in being very self-sufficient. So they
tended small gardens and eked out a living as best
they could. One day, a bright monk came to the superior
with the idea that if the monks sold some of the wine they
made each year, there would be more funds available
to make life more efficient for the community. Even the
poor could be helped a little more. The superior approved
the sale of wine and over the next years, the monastery
sold more and more wine. Soon it became a booming business.
But a new superior became concerned as costs of business
rose. And more and more wine had to be sold to support
the infrastructure. The superior asked the monks
to pray less each day, and teach less each day. And
instead, spend more time making wine. After a few more
years, the superior reached a crucial decision. In order
to meet the new quotas for the next year's wine deliveries,
the praying and the teaching would have to stop
completely. So that was our joke at the University and then
shortly after that, I left the University and I joined
as some people said the dark side of the biotech industry
where we were trying to do clinical research to
invent new drugs to make money but also, of course, to
help patients. That sort of innovation is critical to have
new drugs that will cure diseases. Okay. So we're coming
to the end. I put a chapter in about the importance
of making and saving money and investing. And it's not
just to buy the fancy cars. Having a little extra money
in the bank gives you the independence to go to the job
you want to go to even if it's not the best-paying job
or to move to the city that you want to move to even if
it's not the best-paying situation. It also allows you
to tell your boss, "that's a good idea but I actually see
it this way and so please consider looking at it this
way." Maybe you don't have that issue at Google, but in
many places you do have that issue. And if you are not
just worried every minute about what your job review is
going to be and so on it just gives you a little more
independence in terms of -- not that you're being insolent
or a troublemaker, but it just affects the way
that you can handle yourself in certain difficult situations.
So the the money is not the end. It's a tool. A very
important tool. And so, some people almost go the other
direction where they want to be completely non-materialistic
and I'm note going to save my money and so on but
you have to realize, as a responsible person in our culture,
you have to have savings and investments. And that
gives you the ability to be relatively independent of forces
that are trying to control you, okay? So I put -- of
course, I've counseled over the years many medical students
and trainees and they're worried about all the
hard work. They're worried about how I can make a living
in the future. What should I do? I have a girlfriend
in San Francisco. How is this going to work out with
my training and so I would work with them. But
one of the key things I would always talk with them about
was saving and investing and trying to save money. And
I loved the auto biography of Benjamin Franklin. So let
me just read a little bit from Chapter 19 about that. So
I've made the widely known points earlier about saving
and investing sensibly. They're the true keys
to accumulating wealth. But there are also other
important tidbits to mention. One must study hard, work
hard, and make the proper connections so as to optimize
one's earning potential. An entertaining and very
readable account along those lines has been given to
us by Benjamin Franklin in his autobiography. Although
this selection might sound formidable, his autobiography
is actually a slim paperback volume that can
be purchased about 10 dollars new. He wrote the first part when
he was -- and then he was interrupted so he completed the
last part in old age. Actually many scholars believe the
book was not finished. The somewhat old fashioned language
takes only ten pagers or so to get used to and the authenticity
is well-worth this minor inconvenience. Frugality
is but one of many topics addressed. He was willing
to leave home, travel to many places, expertise at
reading and writing was vital, he was willing to serve
on committees and do other unpopular jobs of that kind since
he actually then could have a direct hand in shaping outcomes
of important relevant questions. Notable was Franklin's
skill at being in the right place so as to be the obvious
choice when some task had to be done for a fee such
as printing up paperwork for the legislature. His personal
reflections on trying to be a good person and his record-keeping
of sins are delightful accounts. Many educators
would assert this is one book that every American
should read or anyone of any nationality really and it
could be read in just a few days or during a couple of airplane
rides. And so, I list that book in an appendix that's on
Page 173 of what I would recommend at least for people
interested in science and medicine as key books that might
be of interest for let's say holiday reading or
summer time reading and they include the Double Helix
by James Watson. A great book is the Discoveries by
Alan Lightman. The Discovery of Insulin by Michael
Bliss is a good book. A collection of little funny anecdotes
that are each about a page long is Eurekas and Euphorias
by Gratzer. That's a great book especially for airplane reading
because each anecdote is like a page,by famous scientists, Tesla,
Einstein. I like space and things. So I put some books
on about the great inner planetary missions, sending robots out to other planets. Amir
D. Aczel, who I think is in New England, wrote a book
called the Mystery of the Aleph. There's a book at the
end, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, which I bought and
read when my first daughter was very, very sick. And of
course was having many bad things happen to her. So what
does it mean when bad things happen to good people?
And in closing, I'm going to leave a little time
for some questions. I added a chapter that's only three
pages. But these are my closing thoughts. And of
course, this book was intended to be about chess, yes,
and there are lots of examples about chess games and strategies
for trying to trick and win some chess games.
But the book was intended to be more about chess. I go
on to say anecdotes can be entertaining but also instructive
and helpful. My hope is that a thoughtful reader
might glean practical advice from my ramblings that will
prove useful in other areas of life . And I actually have another appendix
where I give specific advice because I've worked with
medical students, trainees and of course, two daughters
and so I tell them to wear sunscreen, wear a hat, take
calcium and vitamin D every day. Money is very
important, but don't be overly materialistic. Money is a
tool, not an end and so on. So I put lots of things that
I hope people -- young people -- would see value in some
of those things just like for my recommended books. You
can't read all these books, but if you pick three or four
of them to look at. These are not my books. They're
books I recommend that I think would be of real value to
bright young people who are interested in science or
medicine. I talk about, you know, what does it mean if
we're faced with a world full of suffering and which many
people claim, I mean, that there's no ultimate meaning to
any of this anyway. So what's the point of all this?
Why don't we just go out and get drunk? So I quote Isaac
Newton. And also one of my favorite authors Loren Eiseley
who probably if you pick one book off my list to read and
it's easy to read. It's not highly technical. It's an
old book a couple of decades ago. The Immense Journey is
a very easy book to read. So I guess the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and the Immense Journey
by Loren Eiseley. Are very thoughtfully written entertaining
books. So Newton was a brilliant, creative, a loner, a
supremely hard worker who was willing to pursue scientific calculations day and night without
food or sleep. But he also was concerned about ultimate
understandings. And in his treatise Optics published in
1794 he criticized other scientists who were trying to
banish God, the first cause as he viewed it, from a proper
understanding of the world. Newton writes "latter
philosophers", meaning our current thinkers now, "banish the
consideration of a cause out of natural philosophy," he
wrote. Feigning hypotheses for explaining all things
mechanically and referring all other causes to metaphysics.
But Newton viewed this purely mechanical approach as
flawed. Newton instead wanted to deduce causes from
effects till we come to the very first cause. He was
comfortable with gravity's mysterious action at a
distance, for example, and was content to describe how
gravity acted in mathematical detail while admitting the precise mechanisms whereby gravity
exerts its effects, remain completely unexplained. Newton
wanted not merely to unfold the mechanism of the world
but he also wanted to learn, "whence is it that nature doth nothing in vain and whence
arises all that order order and beauty which we see in the world."
And then Eiseley, I'll just close on a couple
quotes from him. Eiseley who was a 20th century anthropologist and
naturalist, echoes some of Newton's longings for ultimate understanding.
Eiseley writes there's no logical reason for the existence
of a snow flake any more than for evolution. It
is an apparition from the final world which contains,
if anything contains, the explanation of men
and cat fish and green leaves. Eiseley was not enamored of
organized religion but his keen scientific mind also
encompassed a profound mystical sense. Quote, "Man is not
as other creatures," he observed. "Without the sense of the holy,
without compassion, his brain can become a gray stalking
horror. The divisor of Belsen". So I would like to
close now to entertain a couple of questions. I
would encourage you to, you know, take a copy. Share
it with a friend. Buy six more copies, you know, I make
I think 59 cents for each copy that's sold. I've tried
to write a book under the guise of a chess book that
also has, I think, messages that really would be valuable
to let's say college age students or young trainees that
deserve, even if they don't like what I write, if they'll
look at the appendix and look at some of the books I recommend
I think there would be a lot of value here for
a pretty slim book. So let me close there. Thank you
again for your attention. I'd be happy to answer any