"It has long been my belief that the best way to get a piece of writing done is to go someplace where writing is the only option. Because of this, I am using a portion of my weekend in New York to come to the main branch of the New York Public Library, one of my favorite institutions in the world, to finish off a chapter of my book. I started coming here regularly when I was in graduate school at Potemkin University. One day in the reading room back in the 1980's, prior to the invention of laptop computers and a set of rules imposed by the Giuliani administration to prevent vagrants from coming to the library in the winter to thaw out, my friend Barbara pointed out a number of people sitting at one of the long tables and said: 'Just try to guess which are the historians and which are the homeless.' And indeed, each person at the table was wrapped in odd layers of grimy clothing and shuffling index cards and scraps of paper around. Upon closer inspection, some were scholars and others were -- well, just shuffling scraps of paper, trying to find a pattern".