The American Enterprise

Life at the New York public zoo ... er, library.(valuable city resource-New York City Public Library)

NEW YORK CITY -- Manhattanites often express envy for the life of a freelancer: the freedom, the flexibility, the chance to lounge in pajamas all day. But go into any Starbucks and you'll encounter legions of freelancers who obviously can't handle the many distractions that present themselves to anyone toiling at home. The two of us (one working on a book, the other on a doctoral dissertation) found over the last two years that we couldn't even handle the distractions of Starbucks. So we made a pact to meet each day at the main branch of the New York City Public Library, and enforce steely work habits on each other.

We reasoned that the library's grand main reading room would bring "seriousness" to any project. …

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