At the time of this writing, I have been a physician for fifty years
and have been publishing scientific lit­ er ­ a­ture for forty-­five of
them. This is my first attempt at writing a book about something
other than science. Moving beyond disciplined academic writing
to a highly personal story without preconditioned bound­aries has
been a difficult challenge and one for which my professional ­career
did not prepare me. Among the many ­ things I’ve gained during the
preparation of this book is a greater appreciation of how much I
owe to ­ others for the many opportunities I’ve had.
First, I’d like to mention my parents—­IdaandMorrisSnyderman—­
immigrants who fled the pogroms in the Ukraine in 1918 and
ultimately made their way to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, to what I
realize in retrospect was a lower-­middle-­class neighborhood. In a
one bedroom apartment, they raised my older ­brother Ted and me
as best they could. My parents knew very ­ little about scholastics or
ways beyond the hardships they experienced, yet they raised me to
understand that my ­ future lay outside of Brooklyn. They taught me
the importance of learning, integrity, per­sis­tence, high aspirations,
and striving to do impor­tant ­ things. The traits I learned from them
and the rugged nature of my years growing up provided me with a
toughness and determination that, for better or worse, have con-
tinued to shape me. I am grateful to my ­ brother Ted, who tragically
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