Former Wunderkinder on Early Success

Michael Medved, 39, TV film critic, author of seven books. Vaulted onto the best-seller list at age 26 with his first published book, which he was a co-author of, "What Really Happened to the Class of '65":

"Psychologically, there is a sense when you are 26 years old that people are thinking, 'well, he has done this now. Think what he will do in the future.' And that is a very intoxicating feeling. I still feel this way about myself, except the world doesn't necessarily feel that way any more. There is an assumption that if you're capable of great things, you should have done them by now."

Zev Yaroslavsky, 39, Los Angeles city councilman. Elected in 1975 at age 26, two years out of graduate school:

"Almost as soon as I was here, people were touting me for every office in the world. And you almost feel that if you don't make it in the next 48 hours, then you have failed somehow." His approach to becoming a "26-year-old operating in a world of 50-year-olds" was to take "a very arms-length approach in order to protect myself."

Stewart Brand, 49, creator of the "Whole Earth Catalog" series. Won the National Book award in 1972 at age 33:

"Fame accelerates access, if you want access. You can hang around with famous people, which is fun sometimes. Your credit is good with strangers. It's never hard to meet people. It's usually easy to find work, make some money. If you've withstood fame, there are some things you're strong at that you might not be otherwise. There's no reason to take it personally."

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