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Writing an important academic paper or article is a bit like being a doctor. you tell yourself that you’re a genius and that you know what you’re talking about because otherwise you would be unable to function. You would second-guess what you know to be true and ruin your confident statements with so many hedges they become meaningless. It’s not a matter of ego; it’s a matter of survival. Of course, you then have to remember to turn it off at the end or when asking for edits. That’s the part you really have to remember.

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As of last night, I’ve been utterly tempted by one mad idea. I should bind my thesis myself. That would actually give me an entire extra day to work, as I wouldn’t have to plan an extra day in case of a rush at the printer’s. And there’s something very attractive about having my hand in the final physical product.

Nobody knows it (until now, I suppose), but I did bind the copies of my undergraduate honors thesis. It started out ring-bound, but the printer only had 1″ rings, and mine was a half-inch thesis. So I tore out the rings and used the holes to bind the copies by hand with strong upholstery thread, covering the stitches with a strip of thin brown pleather my roommate had left over after a project. It was very classy. People were jealous.

Would calfskin be too showy? What about tasteful gold leaf?