Ron Lieber: Intensely Curious

For the last two decades, I’ve turned to my friend, Ron Lieber, to help make sense of life’s “sweet and sour” (as Cameron Crowe once described it to me), those moments that are happy and sad at the same time.

As a New York Times Columnist and Best Selling Author, Ron is always on the hunt for stories and sources. So when spotted my “Crash Site” album, he emailed and asked, “Does the plane on the cover have anything to do with airline rewards travel”?

It didn’t. But we soon found that we had a lot in common. We’re the same age (well, Ron has a week on me). We both grew up in Chicago. We’re both writers. And we both love music. 

Over the years, as we grabbed lunch and took in rock shows, it became apparent that in Ron, I had someone I could count on for reasoned, thoughtful conversations about hard things (to say nothing about delicious things; no one’s introduced to more secret New York foodie spots than Ron).

Ron and his wife, Jodi Kantor – one half of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team to break the Weinstein story, and spark the Me Too movement – approach their extraordinary lives of service journalism with humility and pragmatism. They remind me that all of us live in a very real world full of nuance, complexity, highs and lows and middles.

And Ron knows that sweet and sour. Last winter, he lost his father to a long battle with ALS on the same day that his third book, “The Price You Pay for College,” entered the New York Times Best Seller list.

When Ron and I spoke for our “Friends & Neighbors” conversation, he had just completed another on a long list Herculean achievements. Just four weeks after finishing his first marathon – 26.2 miles through the streets of his beloved, sweet home Chicago – and raising tens of thousands of dollars for ALS research in his dad’s memory, Ron ran the New York City Marathon to boot.

This week, he shares insight on who inspires him, why curiosity is so important and precisely how he ran two marathons in 30 days.

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