Who Can Say?

Who do you trust?


It’s a fascinating story, especially because it’s true.

He won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969. Born in Dublin, he ended up living most of his life in Paris, including after it fell to the Nazi’s in WW2, famously preferring “France at war to Ireland at peace.” Don’t misunderstand: He hated the Nazis and everything they stood for. In fact, he was part of the French Resistance, risking his life.

If you’re interested, you can read about the life and work of Samuel Beckett HERE.

However, the point of this post is not the life of Samuel Beckett but a highlight that might apply to you and your work on the air.

And to do that I need you to read this brief account of a meeting American author Paul Auster had with Beckett in the early 1970s.

During the conversation, he told me that he had just finished translating Mercier and Camier, his first French novel, which had been written in the mid-40s. I had read the book in French and was unreserved in my enthusiasm for it. ‘A wonderful book,’ I said.”

But Beckett shook his head and said, ‘Oh no, no, not very good. In fact, I’ve cut out about 25 percent of the original. The English version is going to be quite a bit shorter than the French.’ And I said, ‘Why would you do such a thing? It’s a wonderful book. You shouldn’t have taken anything out.’ “

Again, Beckett shook his head. ‘No, no, not very good, not very good.’ “

After that, we started talking about other things. Then, out of the blue, five or ten minutes later, he leaned across the table, looked me in the eye, and said, ‘You really liked it, huh? You really thought it was good?’

“This was Samuel Beckett, remember, and not even he had any grasp of the value of his work. No writer ever knows, not even the best ones.”


And I’ve known so many talented people with this same blind spot, not just in Radio, but perhaps especially, because that’s been my field all my adult life.

Forget the issue of your PD making time to give you feedback.

The more salient issue is, would you trust his/her opinion of your content?

Here’s the point of this post, this question: Who can you trust to give you real, honest feedback on the content you produce every day?

I’m not talking about a sychophant, someone you go to in order to feel better, to boost your own ego.

I’m talking about someone with the professional chops to critique your work in a way you would find credible.

Almost all of your daily work can only be judged subjectively. That opens the door for personal bias that may have no relationship to what your listeners think.

At the end of the day, the end of this day’s show, what you want to know, at its heart, is have you touched the life of one listener in an unforgettable way?

Who can tell you that?



You can find the full article by Paul Auster HERE.