To all faculty at Harvard, Michigan, Yale, and similar schools: In your book prefaces, please be a little more discreet about the fun you had writing them. We know your smart graduate students read this book in draft – in fact, to do so was their seminar – and made useful comments. We know you have regular sabbaticals and travel funding, that interesting visiting fellows are at your institution every week, that your wives and children cooked lovely meals for you while you wrote and yet stayed out of your way, and that you have many other comforts.
I begrudge you none of this. The phrase I wish you would cease and desist from writing is “…without which this book could never have been written.” I have always found that sentence terribly depressing, as it implies that since I do not have these advantages, I cannot write mine.