1.) Who taught you about manhood?
The usual suspects: my dad, my older brother, the movies, seeing what girls thought was manly and trying to fit the bill.
2.) Has romantic love shaped you as a man?
Sure. I wouldn't say I'm overly demonstrative, but I'm not afraid to say, "I love you." I live in a home with four women--my wife and three daughters --and they've taught me about romance, affection, etc.
3.) What two words describe your dad?
4.) How are you most unlike him?
My dad could spend a full year in a museum, spending hours at each exhibit. I could walk through a whole museum in 10 minutes.
5.) From which of your mistakes did you learn the most?
I didn't always think of other people first. But I learned that when you do that, at least a lot of the time, things seem better all around.
6.) What word would the women in your life use to describe you, and is it accurate?
Busy. And yes, it's accurate.
7.) Who is the best dad you know, and how does he earn that distinction?
Having worked with Randy Pausch on the book The Last Lecture, I watched him prepare his young children for a life without him. It was a brave, selfless, and extremely inspirational act. Randy died of pancreatic cancer in July 2008.
8.) Have you been more successful in public or private life?
I'd like to think I've been successful in both. But, of course, I recognize that public acclaim isn't worth much if your private life is in shambles. So I've tried to find that balance. My kids seem to like me, so I'm grateful for that.
9.) When was the last time you cried?
I'm not big on tears. But I've choked up a bit in movies...even at the end of The Blind Side!
10.) What advice would you give teenage boys trying to figure out what it means to be a good man?
Follow your instincts. Study your father and grandfathers. Don't let the media define you.
Jeffrey Zaslow is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, the coauthor of The Last Lecture (with Randy Pausch) and Highest Duty (with Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger), and the author of The Girls from Ames. All three books were published in 2009 and became bestsellers.
The National Society of Newspaper Columnists twice named Zaslow as best general-interest columnist at a newspaper with over 100,000 circulation. In 2008, he received the Distinguished Column Writing Award from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association.
Zaslow first worked at the Journal from 1983 to 1987, when he wrote about a competition to replace Ann Landers at the Chicago Sun-Times. He entered to get an angle for his story, and won the job over 12,000 applicants. He worked at the Sun-Times from 1987 to 2001, and was also a columnist for USA Weekend, the Sunday supplement in 510 newspapers.
In 2000, Zaslow received the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award for using his column to run programs benefitting 47,000 disadvantaged Chicago children. His annual singles party for charity, Zazz Bash, drew 7,000 readers a year and resulted in 78 marriages.
A Philadelphia native, Zaslow is a 1980 graduate of Carnegie Mellon, where he majored in creative writing. His wife, Sherry Margolis, is a TV news anchor with Fox 2 in Detroit. They have three daughters: Jordan, Alex and Eden.
Thomas Matlack is the former Chief Financial Officer of The Providence Journal, is the founding Managing Partner of Megunticook Management, and is the co-founder of The Good Men Project.