My principal mentor, the conductor and composer Theo Morrison, is 15 years older than me.  My father’s principal mentors in science were William Firth Wells (b. 1887) and Andre Cournand (b. 1895), men who were 24 and 16 years older, respectively, than him.

Roger Federer’s coach, Stefan Edberg, is 15 years older than Roger.

Manny Machado’s avowed “great friend” and potentially bad influence, Alex Rodriguez, is 13 years older. (Note to Manny: never hang out with a Yankee.)

Here’s my theory: there’s a great receptivity to people who are what I would call a “short generation” older than oneself.  Not old enough to clearly be in one’s parent’s generation, but definitely older than a typical sibling or peer.

How about you?  Do you have mentors in the short-generation-older-than-you category? Is the influence of mentors a short generation older characteristic of guys only, or does it hold true for women as well?

All responders who corroborate my fledgling theory and make me famous will be invited to my Nobel Prize-winning acceptance speech in Stockholm, 15 years from now, in 2029.

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