[There is a fan page for Peter Hessler that he did not create himself, unless it's a rouse; however, read these creds and tell me he would be that pedestrian.]
I lost track of him during the Peace Corps period. I have a letter he sent me from China with some Asia-bureau Wall Street Journal clips. We we colleagues about 13 years ago at the University of Missouri's Writing Lab. [Blah blah blah.]
What Wikipedia doesn't say is that he's also super-healthy, kind and unpretentious. At least he was when I knew him, and considering all he's accomplished, I think he must still be fairly disciplined. And he already had come from Princeton when we met, so I am sure he's still great company.
Learning Chinese is a huge thing in itself. I could never hope to be that smart. He is someone I could not edit, but I bet his work hardly needs it.
Here's cheers to you, Peter; I have begun Oracle Bones a number of times but lack discipline to get past page 40-something. Perhaps I should put away the Edith Wharton and buckle down (as it looks like I will not be taking any classes this semester).
It's good to have role models, even if we don't follow them.