The Bald Truth: The Secret to Literary Greatness

The Wall Street Journal reported on a scientific study that found “men with shaved heads are perceived to be more masculine, dominant, and…to have greater leadership potential than those with longer locks or with thinning hair.” Men with short hair were even perceived to be taller and stronger than those with fuller manes.

As Business Insider recently explained, research suggests that people are “psychologically biased” in favor of bald men in business, noting that the CEOs of Amazon and Goldman Sachs are bald guys. The chrome dome apparently taps into cultural associations, “from Michael Jordan imposing his will on the basketball court to Bruce Willis saving the day on the silver screen.”

Overlooked in this discussion, I say, were thriller writers.

Consider Brad Meltzer. Sure, his first book in 1997 was a breakout bestseller, notwithstanding his then-thinning mane.

But, once he pulled out the razor, he became a television host, Hollywood writer, comic book master, non-fiction and children’s book bestseller, and he even has his own clothing line. And, just last month, another bestseller with The House of Secrets. Coincidence? 

Not convinced? What about Harlan Coben? Sure, he looked pretty cool with hair, as in this photo from his early days as a writer:

But, since he went cue ball, his last nine consecutive novels have debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, with 60 million books in print. His most recent bestseller, Fool Me Once, unsurprisingly has this large photo on the back cover:

And this week at ThrillerFest—the International Thriller Writers’ annual convention—author John Lescroart will receive ITW’s coveted Silver Bullet Award

But long before the awards, the critical acclaim, and his latest bestseller, Fatal, John looked like this:

photo credit: John Sievert

But, what about maned thriller icons, you say? Sure, James Patterson and John Grisham don’t have the power buzz and are two of the bestselling authors in the world. And, yes, there’s Gillian Flynn and all those amazing women thriller writers. But, just imagine what their sales would be if they hit the barbershop.

Ridiculous? I don’t think so. I’m not sure why, but I feel it—a bald scalp is the path to success for my novel, The Advocate’s Daughter. You can probably see it on my face:


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Anthony Franze has garnered national praise for his work as a lawyer in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice of a major Washington D.C. law firm. The New York Times, Washington Post, and other prominent news outlets have quoted or cited Franze concerning the Supreme Court, and he has been a commentator on high-court issues for The New Republic, Bloomberg, and National Law Journal. He lives in the Washington D.C. area with his family.

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