More From Professor Lester

How does he do it? How does Professor David Lester, the wonderfully prolific suicidologist who has published well over 1000 academic reports, many on aspects of suicide, manage to produce so much fine work? Professor Lester and his work were profiled in the Mar/Apr issue (vol 10, no. 2) of the Annals of Improbable Research.

Now we know at least a little more.Professor Lester recently sent a letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education. He complains that many professors complain, and that they don’t produce as much work as he does. He writes:

“I have published dozens of books and hundreds of scholarly articles and notes. ? Some friends have wondered whether I ever sleep. I need eight good hours a night, and I have a couch in my office for my afternoon naps. I have had three wives during the past 32 years? I used to lunch with colleagues, but I found that their continual complaints about the administration and the students soured my attitude toward the college. ? These days, I eat in my office and check the sports news online. For many years, I had my name removed from the faculty e-mail list so that I had no awareness of what activities were taking place at the college? do not pick up the telephone in my office, and my voice-mail message informs callers that I do not check for telephone messages. ? I have avoided as much college service as I can in recent years?

See Professor Lester’s full letter here.

That letter prompted an unhappy rejoinder from another Chronicle reader, who begins by saying:

“I was infuriated by David Lester’s “Complain, Complain” ?”

Read that letter here.

Professor Lester is setting a standard that few have attained. Perhaps the world should agree with him that, as he seems to explain, many others could match his breathtaking output — if for some reason they chose to do so.

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