Anatomy of Influence The delight and danger of swaying others

Ronald Weaver illustration
(Illustration by Ronald Weaver)

The Common Reader staff and contributors

The Common Reader is staffed by Professor Gerald Early, staff writers Jeannette Cooperman and John Griswold, and managing editor Ben Fulton. Stephen Belt, PhD, is Associate Professor of Aviation Science and Chief Diversity Officer at Saint Louis University School of Science and Engineering. Susan Butler is a journalist and writer living in Lake Waters, Florida. Butler’s biography East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart was the basis for the 2009 movie Amelia, starring Hilary Swank. Stephen Dark has worked as a journalist and writer for more than thirty years in locations as diverse as London, Buenos Aires, and Salt Lake City. He currently resides in Eastbourne, on the southeast coast of England. Michael Finke, professor emeritus, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, was on the Washington University in St. Louis faculty from 1988 to 2006. The most recent of his eight scholarly books are Freedom from Violence and Lies: Anton Chekhov’s Life and Writings (Reaktion Books: London, 2021), and Approaches to Teaching the Works of Anton Chekhov (edited with Michael Holquist; MLA: NY, 2016). A recovering journalist—the former executive editor of the St. Louis alt-weekly The Riverfront Times and arts-and-entertainment editor of The St. Louis Post-DispatchCliff Froehlich is the retired executive director of the nonprofit Cinema St. Louis. Alexander Nemerov is the author most recently of The Forest: A Fable of America in the 1830s (Princeton, 2023), a series of tales each centering on a visionary experience in the last years of America as a heavily forested land. Praised by Annie Proulx ("deeply beautiful,” “astonishingly tender,” “one of the richest books ever to come my way,”) and Edmund de Waal (“moving and shocking and beautiful, an extraordinary achievement”), The Forest conjures a lost world of shade and sun. Nemerov’s previous book, Fierce Poise: Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York, was short-listed for the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Prize in Biography. He teaches art history at Stanford University. Clifford Thompson is the author and illustrator of Big Man and the Little Men, was published by Other Press in the fall of 2022.