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Michael Crichton

John Michael Crichton was born October 23rd, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, and raised on Long Island, New York. 

 He attended Harvard University, studying literature and biological anthropology. After graduating in 1964 and he went on to Harvard medical school.

While in med school, he began writing novels for extra money. Doubleday rejected his first novel, Odds On, but New American Library published it in 1966. He used the pen name ‘John Lange’ to avoid his patients worrying he would write about them. ‘Lange’ means ‘long’ in German, and it was a play on his height – 6’9”. 

Crichton wrote eight novels published as John Lange before graduating med school in 1969. They are, fittingly, considered his ‘The Med School Collection,’ – Odds On (1966), Easy Go (1967)Scratch OneThe Venom BusinessZero Cool (1969), Drug of Choice, Grave Descend (1970), and Binary (1972).

His first hardback novel (under the pen name Jeffrey Hudson), A Case of Need (1968), won him the Edgar Award and marked the use of technology in his novels. The Andromeda Strainpublished in 1969, established him as a best-selling author. Film rights to the book sold his senior year at Harvard.

Although he graduated from med school, Crichton never practiced medicine, choosing to focus on his writing and film career. While working on novels, he would sleep only a few hours a night, throwing himself into the writing. 

His 1990 novel Jurassic Park was turned into a blockbuster film in 1993 by Steven Spielberg, as was its sequel, The Lost World

In total, he wrote 25 books that have sold over 200 million copies. 

Crichton was married five times. 

He died November 4th, 2008, at the age of 66, from lymphoma. When Crichton died, his wife, Sherri Alexander, was six months pregnant with their son, Josh Michael Todd Crichton.

Lesson from Crichton:

Crichton always wanted to be a writer but wasn’t sure he could make a living at it. His change of major from English to Anthropology, and the pursuit of a medical degree, ultimately gave him the background and experience he needed to write the books he was famous for.

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