Diana B. Henriques
Diana B. Henriques is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust, which has been made into an HBO film starring Robert De Niro. A writer for The New York Times since 1989, she is a George Polk Award winner and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Her work has also received Harvard’s Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and the Worth Bingham Prize, among other honors. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Where are you from?
Born in Bryan, Texas; raised in Roanoke, Va.
Who are your favorite writers?
God, how does one choose? Nonfiction: John McPhee, Primo Levi, David McCullough, William Manchester, John Brooks, James B. Stewart, Bill Bryson, Roger Lowenstein, Calvin Trillin, Ron Chernow and Kurt Eichenwald.Contemporary Fiction: Michael Chabon, Dorothy Dunnett, Michael Dibdin, Neal Stephenson, Jane Smiley, Patrick O'Brian, Dorothy Sayers and, yes, J.K. Rowling.Gore Vidal is a big favorite in both categories.The Late Greats: Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen, in a dead heat for first. Close behind: Edith Wharton, Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.
Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
I'd like to think they are ones by Primo Levi and John McPhee. I have read their entire canon, several times over. The clarity and simplicity of their approach is a bracing tonic for writers who tend to go a little overboard. The consistently beautiful work of the late John Brooks, a business writer for the New Yorker, was also a revelation and inspiration.
What are your hobbies and outside interests?
Nothing you could honestly call a hobby except reading and the theater. I plan to take up ballroom dancing in retirement.
What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
Every single rule between the covers of the time-management classic "How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life" by Alan Lakein. The result has been a lifelong commitment to goal-setting, list-making and long-term planning.
What is your favorite quote?
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."-Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
What is the question most commonly asked by your readers? What is the answer?
Q. What makes you think you can be truly objective about anything?A. I don't - I just think that working hard to be objective gets you a lot closer to that ideal than giving up.
What inspired you to write your first book?
A passionate desire to explain the risks surrounding an obscure but very important public policy development, the proliferation of public revenue bond authorities. Hey, it was a long time ago!
Where do you write?
My books have been mostly written in my window-less, sky-lit home office in Hoboken. Since I use voice recognition software for all my long writing projects - and have since 1998 - the seclusion helps.