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Perspective

Harvard’s E.O. Wilson on career passion

In an excerpt from his new book, a celebrated Harvard biologist offers advice for a happy career.

Reprinted from Letters to a Young Scientist, by Edward O. Wilson. Copyright © 2013 by Edward O. Wilson, with permission of Liveright Publishing Corp., a division of W.W. Norton & Co.

BACK IN 1938 WHEN I WAS 9 YEARS OLD, my family moved from the Deep South to Washington, D.C. I was an only child, but not especially lonely. Any kid that age can find a buddy or fit into some small neighborhood group, maybe at the risk of a fistfight with the alpha boy. Nevertheless, I was alone that first summer and was left to my own devices. No stifling piano lessons, no boring visits to relatives, no summer school, no guided tours, no boys’ clubs, nothing. It was wonderful!

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