Norman Mailer: With those bad reviews of my second and third book, I learned the way a young professional fighter would learn that they can take a beating. They can take a bad beating, and they’re not ready to quit the ring, and that does give you a fine strength. It also takes something off you forever. I mean, to write a book, a good novel that you care about, and you put a lot into for a couple of years, and then get very bad reviews, takes something out of you forever. If nothing else, it takes away from you a certain large love of humanity that you might have had. Your love of humanity is somewhat smaller. That is part of — every professional in every trade or discipline goes through that. As professionals, they harden up. It’s why they’re professionals and not amateurs. Amateurs are still full of love. That’s the meaning of the word. A professional is someone who measures the cost of every achievement and decides whether that achievement is worth the effort — and sometimes the killing effort — that will go into it. And so for that reason, if you’re going to keep at one trade all your life, as I have, you truly do well to become a professional, because it enables you to take the bumps.