Isaac Asimov and Andy Rooney

In his aptly named memoir, I. Asimov, Isaac Asimov mentions his friendship with Andy Rooney. Asimov writes:

At Rensselaerville I was lucky enough to become acquainted with the inimitable Andy Rooney, who has a summer house there.

In the photos for that section of the book, there is a photo of Isaac Asimov and Andy Rooney together, two peas in a pod.

Isaac Asimov was a big influence on my writing, as anyone who reads this blog knows well. He taught me how to write colloquially, and the style I have cultivated here first began with my reading of hundreds of Isaac Asimov’s essays.

Andy Rooney has also influenced my blogging, although in a different way. Rooney’s humorous style impressed me more than Asimov’s humor, but what Rooney taught me is that it is possible to write about anything and make it interesting1. Whenever I am looking for inspiration for something to write about here, I pick up an Andy Rooney book and begin skimming it. Usually, I am laughing for much of the time thereafter, but I also come away reassured that it really is okay to write about anything, even seemingly small and inconsequential things.

Last night, I was skimming through Sincerely, Andy Rooney, which I first read when it came out in 1999. There was a lot I didn’t remember about the letters in the book—in particular how funny they are. But I was surprised to discover Andy Rooney mentioning the Asimov’s in one of the letter in the book. Rooney writes:

We had dinner with Isaac and Janet Asimov at our home in Rensselaerville a few weeks ago. His brain hasn’t deteriorated but his body isn’t what it was—and it was never very much. Janet is a charming hypochondriac with a medical education which is the worst kind.

The coincidence of discovering that Andy Rooney had mentioned Isaac Asimov, while reading Rooney to get some inspiration, inspired me to write this post about two writers that have inspired me.


  1. At least, interesting to the author, if not the readers.