They all told me not to do it. Don’t go to lunch or dinner with them, they said. Don’t accept their free books, pens, calendars, or slides. Don’t take or return their calls. Duck into the bathroom when you spy their suits coming down the hall. And never even consider committing that ulti mate act of masochism called textbook writing. Because next to a premed given a B+, the creature most to be avoided is the acquisition editor. So warned my colleagues at Miami University in 1981 where I was an assistant professor of zoology.

I didn’t listen. Now, nearly a decade later, I’m still not a published textbook author. But I can see the light at the end of " the tunnel—it’s a sickly yellow, like that found in texts that have been highlighted by college freshmen— and I expect my biology text for non-science majors, tentatively titled Biology...

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