Sam Anderson is a writer for New York Times Magazine and the author of Boom Town.

“I love being in that place where everything is just coming in, and everything is potentially important, and I’m underlining every great sentence that John McPhee has ever written and then I’m typing it up into this embarrassingly long set of reading notes, documents, organized by books. And then when you sit down with it as a writer who has a job, and his job is to fill a little window of a magazine or website, all of that ecstatic inhaling has to stop. You realize that you’ve collected approximately 900,000% of what you need or could ever use.”