“A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood.” – Leo Rosten
Born on April 10, 1908, Rosten was an American novelist, scriptwriter and humorist who also had a deep interest in the relationship of politics and the media and the intricacies of their connections.
An immigrant (from Russia), Rosten grew up in New York City, started writing at age 9 and worked his way through all levels of school, including earning his doctorate degree at the University of Chicago. After starting as an economist, he did a series of government information jobs during WWII, wrote the first of many successful screenplays, and began a writing career that included 22 years at Look magazine as a feature writer and essayist. Fascinated by the power of of well-placed words, he once noted, “Words must surely be counted among the most powerful drugs man ever invented.”
Rosten, who died in 1997, counted major luminaries in journalism, politics and the cinema as friends and confidantes and was a much sought-after speaker. His quotes were often shared, including one of his most famous – a version of which is often misattributed to Emerson. "The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable. It is to be compassionate. It is to matter; to have it make some difference that you lived."
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