50 Years of Influential Books and Journal Articles
So first I printed out a bunch of articles, put them in a binder, and sent them off to my editor, Doug Sery. "What's this?" he asked. "My book", I replied. "No it's not, it's a bunch of photocopies. Go and write a proper book". Two years later I returned, book in hand. "Where are the footnotes?" asked Doug. "There aren't any. I'm a storyteller, not some professor" I replied."You can be what you like" said Doug. "We are MIT Press. Go and do the footnotes". A year later, and 560 retro-fitted footnotes later, Doug accepted the manuscript. Bruce Sterling said the footnotes were the best part - and the author was not laughed out of court.
I remember the phone conversation in late 1994 with Tom Stone where he said, "We'd like to publish your book." When I got off the phone, I literally cried for a few seconds because I knew that a book from MIT meant pedigree, and I was at the very beginning of my philosophical career. I then called the head of my department and exclaimed, "I just got a contract to publish my dissertation through MIT Press!" and I'll never forget what he said: "Rob, that's astounding!" Yes, he used the word 'astounding'...
MIT Press has been producing thoughtful books for generations. I felt these keen minds of the past looking over my shoulder while editing The Reputation Society (2012). Congratulations to the Press on its 50th anniversary, and may it continue to support knowledge creation for generations to come.
From my first MIT Press book, Crisis in the Workplace: Occupational Disease and Injury (1976) to a recent book, Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda (2008), the Press has lead the publishing world in its editing, production, quality and eclectic collection of serious scholarship.
It is a pleasure to state openly what we feel personally. It was indeed a happy choice to have our book Majority Judgment: Measuring, Ranking, and Electing published by MIT Press.
The competence and thoroughness of the reviewers, the excellence of the editing, the beauty of the design, the decency of the price, and the spirit of constructive cooperation that prevailed throughout our relationship have all contributed to making both of us very contented authors.
Despite your venerable age, MIT Press, keep up the good work! Most importantly keep your door open to new ideas, theories and paradigms that challenge normal science.
Without MIT Press, I think I would still be hearing professional people tell me how naive I am for thinking cultural work is a necessary component in social movements and in political culture writ large. MIT Press has been an invaluable part of not only a critical tradition, but making cogent and lyrical testaments to why critical discourse can lead, at times, to the production of a more robust relevant cultural community.
MIT Press, especially in the person of Doug Sery, has provided an excellent path for inventive designers, makers, critical thinkers and scholars. In the digital domain, MITP has played a central role in both discourse and practice, boldly opening doors for provocative new ideas as well as publishing essential works of scholarship.
When I look at the spine of a book in philosophy of mind or cognitive science and see the unmistakable MIT Press logo, I know the book will be worth my while. The consistent professionalism and flexibility that I have experienced while working with the editorial, production, and marketing folks at MIT Press confirms that it is an organization without peer. Congratulations on 50 great years, and keep up the great work!
Happy 50th anniversary to MIT Press. Congratulations on your excellent cognitive neuroscience list.