There’s No Such Thing As A Howard Beal Moment: Michael Wolff on Power, Access, Hubris, and Writing Great Sentences


Manage episode 317101701 series 2763258
By Meghan Daum. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Journalist Michael Wolff is best known for his juicy and deeply reported dispatches from various corridors of power. His many books include the 2008 Rupert Murdoch biography, The Man Who Owns The News, and the 2018 sensation Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House, which was easily the most talked about political book of the Trump era. His two other books about the Trump years are Siege: Trump Under Fire and Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency. Michael's most recent book, Too Famous: The Powerful, The Wishful, The Damned, The Notorious, collects selected works of biographical journalism over the last two decades, including lengthy treatises on Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon, and Jared Kushner. The word perhaps most often associated with Michael is “access.” He has a way of achieving astonishingly close constant with sources who seem willing to carry on as if he’s not there at all, knowing full well he’s writing everything down. This has made him famous in his own right, and prone to his own controversies. But Meghan invited him onto the podcast mostly to talk about writing itself: the craft of it, the business of it, the psychological toll it can take on author and subject alike. They cover a lot of ground in this conversation, including how Michael’s first big break came from a tip form his mother, how his second published piece was for Ms. Magazine, and why he thinks “controversy" isn’t so controversial anymore. They also get into one of Meghan’s (irrationally?) favorite subjects, the improbable lionization of Ronan Farrow, which Michael covers in Too Famous but that no magazine would give him an assignment to write about. Guest Bio:

Michael Wolff is the author of ten books including, most recently, Too Famous, a collection of essays, and three best-selling books about the Trump presidency. Over the past twenty years he has been a regular columnist for New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, British GQ, The Guardian, and The Hollywood Reporter. He has won numerous awards in the U.S. and U.K., including two National Magazine Awards. He lives in New York City and has five children.

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