They say that for a man, the closest thing to a woman giving birth to her first child is holding your first published book in your hands. Yesterday I had a pleasant Zoom call with a young doctoral student at Liberty University who is writing his dissertation. He wanted to talk to me about this book.
I was a bit taken aback. This was my very first book. It was based on my Basel dissertation. It was published exactly 40 years ago. And most amazingly, it's still in print. Publishing it back in 1984 was, to be sure, a milestone moment in my life, but my interests soon moved in other directions and I had long forgotten about it. However, as I embraced the writing process, I never forget the lessons about writing that I learned during my sojourn in that great city on the Rhine.
Yesterday I also ran into one of my colleagues who just published his first book. He told me about the thrill that he experienced when he finally received the first printed copy. Gratifyingly, the reaction to his initial publication has been very positive. I am really happy for him!
I've always felt that publishing should not be a pressure but a pleasure. In Basel I learned that good books do not rely solely on good ideas but on self-discipline and good old-fashioned hard work. I was very blessed to have learned that lesson early in my career. Thanks to my mentors in Basel, publishing has always been an enjoyable aspect of my career. They would probably have gotten a chuckle to know that someone was still reading "their" dissertation!