The Tribe's Scribes: Sean Braswell

The Tribe's Scribes: Sean Braswell

Why you should care

Writer, editor and wrangler of the Presidential Daily Brief, Sean Braswell does it all. Here’s a collection of his best work.

Whether he’s showing how a generous gift changed American literature or exploring the sound of hotness, Sean Braswell’s distinctive voice is OZY to the core. Here are four of his best stories. Not surprisingly, they’re also some of OZY’s most popular.

Harper Lee’s Big Break

Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, received one unforgettable gift that changed her life, and all of ours, forever. More than half a century after its publication, Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird still sells over 750,000 copies per year, yet it might never have happened. In 1956 Lee was a rather taciturn 30-year-old ticket agent for the British Overseas Airways Company, who, like many aspiring writers, had come to New York City to pursue her dream. But after seven years of struggle, it seemed beyond her grasp.

Luckily, Lee had made two very good friends in New York: a Broadway composer named Michael Brown and his wife, Joy, a Balanchine dancer. Read the story of how this generous couple provided Lee with a gift that made all the difference, to her and to us.

What is the Sound of Hot?

From ancient Greek sirens to crooner Barry White to Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, artists and lovers have long recognized the seductive powers of the human voice. But scientists are only beginning to discover just how closely linked voice and attraction may be. Among other things, recent studies suggest that men generally prefer women with higher-pitched voices, and women like their men with lower-pitched voices — though not too low, and it helps if they’re saying nice things.

Both men and women appear capable of matching speakers’ voices and photographs with astounding accuracy (75 percent of the time in one study). Since voice is such an important barometer, perhaps you should consider arranging those first dates over the phone and not by text or email.

Is This America’s One-Child Policy?

Raising a child has always been a major financial undertaking, but putting more than one kid through college may soon look like financial suicide.

Consider what the cost of college will be in the 2030s, when a baby born today would attend school. Not only will parents spend a minimum of $217,000 to raise a child to age 18, but, according to an analyis of 2011 College Board data by the Daily, tuition and fees for a graduate of the class of 2034 will top $288,000 (in today’s dollars) at an average-priced four-year private college and $123,000 at an average-priced public college. Could these escalating costs be America’s equivalent of China’s one-child policy?

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