Even as I pursued a doctorate in the history of ideas in my native Denmark, I realized I had neither the encyclopedic training nor the passion for cool logic - not to mention the nerve - to follow in the footsteps of classical liberal philosophers and economists such as Robert Nozick, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman.
The trends that are shaping the twenty-first-century world embody both promise and peril. Globalization, for example, has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty while contributing to social fragmentation and a massive increase in inequality, not to mention serious environmental damage.
Conflict, of course, comes about because of the misuse of power and the clash of ideals, not to mention the inflammatory activities of unscrupulous and bigoted leaders. But it also arises, tragically, from an inability to understand and from the powerful emotions which, out of misunderstanding, lead to distrust and fear.
A lot of people tell me now I'm their inspiration. They say, 'I don't play baseball,' and then they mention whatever - engineer, doctor, college student, high school student - but they're hurt because, for some reason, people feel shame about themselves or embarrassed because they are short or skinny or fat or whatever.
I enjoy the celebration of my birthday as much as anyone else does, but I always remember to start my day thanking my mom because she did most of the work the day I came into the world, not to mention all she has done throughout my life that has contributed so much to the woman I am today.