A Brief History of Editor Who Made a Difference

Can editors really make a difference for writers? Especially for good writers? Stephen Hawking seems to think so and has publicly given an editor much of the credit for the success of his best-selling book A Brief History of Time.

In an interview published last week in the Wall Street Journal,  Hawking describes the relationship he had with Peter Guzzardi, an editor at Bantam Books “who took his job very seriously.” Hawking’s goal was to write a book that would explain to nonscientists how the universe operates, and he says Guzzardi pushed him to reach that goal.

“Each time I sent him a rewritten chapter, he sent back a long list of objections and questions. At times I thought the process would never end. But he was right: It is a much better book as a result.”

Hawking says Guzzardi also suggested a key change to the title of the book.

“My original title was From the Big Bang to Black Holes: A Short History of Time, but my editor Peter Guzzardi turned it around and changed Short to Brief. It was a stroke of genius and must have contributed to the success of the book.”

It’s not always obvious what editors do, and it’s not always easy to explain how editors can help writers make their work better. So it’s fun to get a peek into one such relationship and nice to know that even Stephen Hawking needs an editor.

September 9, 2013

Blog Categories


Need help with your article or advertisement? Want someone to give your book a final look? Drop us a line or give us a call—we’d love to have a word with you.


I appreciate Tammy’s willingness to ask questions when appropriate, flex on deadlines, offer sound advice, and rewrite sentences or sections as needed. Her command of substantive and copy editing ma… Read more
Patricia Ryan, International Council on Active Aging

You May Also Like…

Two Decades of Remembering

I’ve been watching lots of 9/11 documentaries in the past few weeks, and the images are still searing, even 20 years...

Happy 1st Decade to Me!

Ten years ago this month, I first sat down to work under the (virtual) banner of eDitmore Editorial Services. I was...

Monday Night Lights

Most days I spend my work days in front of a computer, my workplace interactions limited to email or the occasional...