I became a writer because I had a lousy jump shot. I lacked most other essential basketball skills, too, so as a rarely used forward on my high school team, I spent most games at the end of the bench, doing more observing than scoring or rebounding. One day, the editor of the local weekly newspaper asked if I’d be interested in writing summaries of our games for the sports page. I accepted the offer, for which I was paid $4 per article. (In retrospect, I probably should have held out for $4.50, though I’ve always been bad at haggling.)

My budding journalism career was put on hold during my four years of college, as I focused on other pursuits, such as listening to Clash records and skipping 8 a.m. classes. After college, I freelanced for a few small local newspapers before landing a job as a reporter at the Boston Phoenix. I spent four years writing about a wide range of topics—everything from hair weaves to hot dogs—but by the end of my stint at the Phoenix I had begun focusing primarily on health and medicine.

In 1994, my wife, Ann, and I moved to Seattle and immersed ourselves in a world of espresso, great microbrews, and spectacular scenery (when it wasn’t obscured by clouds). My freelance career took off while living in the Emerald City, as I wrote for Esquire, Men’s Health, and several other magazines. I also spent a few years learning a lot about medicine and the people who practice it while working in the communications office at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

We eventually moved back east—way, way back east, about as far as we could go, to Cape Cod. Over the years, my work has appeared in over two dozen major magazines and newspapers, including Prevention, Reader’s Digest, Fortune, the New York Times, and Better Homes and Gardens. I’ve done stints as a contributing editor for Health magazine and as a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. I’ve written a few books and ghostwritten several others. I do some corporate consulting, too.

When I’m not in my office with my colleague (see accompanying photo), I like to play golf, hike, and search the Cape for a really great bowl of pasta Bolognese.