Prince, Jonathan

views updated

Prince, Jonathan




North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), communications strategist; senior advisor and speechwriter for President William Jefferson Clinton; Govolution (financial software), CEO and chairman; cofounder of Isay, Kores, Prince (communications firm); Brunswick Group (public relations), New York, NY, partner.


Named one of America's Best and Brightest by Esquire magazine for his work to improve political advertising.


(Editor, with John Edwards and Cate Edwards) Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives, Collins (New York, NY), 2006.

(With Sharon Moalem) Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2007.


Survival of the Sickest was adapted for audio (six CDs), read by Eric Conger, Harper Audio, 2007.


Jonathan Prince was the chief strategist for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) during the war in Kosovo and assisted in the strategy of the White House during the impeachment and trial of President William Jefferson Clinton. He also served as a deputy assistant secretary of state for strategic planning and a speechwriter during the Clinton presidency. Prince left the White House in 2000 to become CEO and chairman of the financial software company Govolution. He then formed a new communications firm with Dan Klores and Josh Isay that was later dissolved. In 2003, Prince was named a partner of the financial communications firm Brunswick Group.

Prince is the editor, with Senator John Edwards and daughter Cate Edwards, of the large format Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives, a collection of sixty essays that reflects on what makes a house a home, what dreams can be found there, and the values of the people who inhabit them. Many of the essays are about American childhood, and contributors include chef Mario Batali, novelist Isabel Allende, musician John Mellencamp, quarterback Joe Montana, and architect Maya Lin, but not all are celebrities. Actor Danny Glover offers a recollection of growing up in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, a neighborhood that supported and instilled in him his dreams of ownership and responsibility, and where his neighbors included musicians such as Santana's Leon Patillo and Sly Stone. Director Steven Spielberg writes of his first film, which he made in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his electric train and his father's 8mm Kodak. Celebrity Star Jones's contribution is an essay about the three generations of her family who grew up in a house in the mountains of North Carolina. Noncelebrities offer reminiscences of growing up in a Bronx apartment, a Colorado barrio, and an Ohio trailer park for veterans.

The only contributor from Edwards's home state of North Carolina is Yvonne Morrison, and her story is perhaps the most unique. She said that "The House of Many Barns" is really her parents' story. A.J. Evans was a welder who bought and dismantled thirty-one mainly tobacco barns and three houses in building his own family's home. He tore down the barns and reworked the wood and built their house with the original handworked finishes on the outside so that their histories would not be lost. Evans completed the five-thousand-square-foot home in four years, and it became a stop on the county's tour of historic homes. They eventually sold the house to Wal-Mart to be destroyed, but Wal-Mart did not build immediately, and the new home the family had planned to move to was sold. When they found four available acres, Evans moved the entire house. Photographs accompany the stories.

A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that the volume "is consistently engaging and downright endearing." Library Journal contributor Janet Ingraham Dwyer described it as "a heartwarming collection."

Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease was written by Prince and Sharon Moalem, a doctor who asks, "If evolution is all about survival, why would it select for deadly diseases?" His answer is that deadly diseases protect against an immediate threat. In reviewing the volume for the Blogcritics Web site, Nancy Fontaine wrote: "The emerging field of evolutionary genetics is something everyone should become literate in, given the pace of discoveries. Survival of the Sickest is a great introduction to the field and addition to the popular science literature. Read it, laugh, and learn." Hemant Mehta wrote for the Friendly Atheist Web site: "Considering the amount of biological and evolutionary concepts in the book, it's surprisingly easy to read. You feel a whole hell of a lot smarter after you're done. You're also eager to seek out more information on other diseases and their evolutionary histories."

The authors begin by welcoming the reader to the "magical medical mystery tour," then proceed to analyze the way certain diseases intervene on our behalf. They speculate that high levels of blood sugar (diabetes), may have aided Europeans to survive the onset of the Younger Dryas, or Big Freeze, that occurred over seventy years around the year 1300. Hemachromatosis produces high levels of iron in the blood and is deadly if not treated, yet people who suffered from the disease during the Bubonic Plague survived it to live, if not full, at least longer lives. Also studied is the relationship between exposure to sun and cholesterol and the predisposition or resistance to alcoholism, depending upon how one's ancestors purified their water.

In explaining their theories as applied to the field of genetics, Prince and Moalem state that as much as a third of human DNA comes from viruses and that the recent discovery of jumping genes that look like a virus and cause an intentional mutation "have reshaped our understanding of mutation and evolution." "The authors conclude that we've long been in ‘partnership with viruses’ which has sped up our evolution," wrote Hilary Williamson for the BookLoons Web site. "In one of the best lines in the book, they throw out, ‘Infectious design, anyone?’ Complicated—but fascinating—stuff. And it gets even more so with methylation, a process in which a compound binds to a gene and changes the effect of that gene without changing DNA." This new discipline is called epigenetics.

In reviewing Survival of the Sickest in CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal, Ann Loewen wrote: "We live in an age of Darwinist denial, when un-intellectual is one of the hippest things you can be. Yet important decisions need to be made based on good science at many levels of society. The authors have done a laudable job of taking complex ideas and making them palatable, delectable even, for anyone wanting to fill their plate."



Booklist, February 15, 2007, Donna Chavez, review of Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease, p. 21.

CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal, December 4, 2007, Ann Loewen, review of Survival of the Sickest, p. 1550.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2006, review of Survival of the Sickest, p. 1211.

Library Journal, December 1, 2006, Janet Ingraham Dwyer, review of Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives, p. 144; February 1, 2007, Tina Neville, review of Survival of the Sickest, p. 92.

Maclean's, February 12, 2007, Lianne George, review of Survival of the Sickest, p. 41.

New England Journal of Medicine, July 26, 2007, Robert Martensen, review of Survival of the Sickest, p. 427.

New Scientist, July 14, 2007, Clare Wilson, review of Survival of the Sickest, p. 52.

News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 29, 2006, review of Home; November 13, 2006, "Edwards' Home Takes Him on Tour"; November 21, 2006, "Love the Book, John. Now, about 2008 … "

New York Times, December 24, 2006, Liesl Schillinger, review of Home, p. 10.

PR Week, February 3, 2003, "Ex-Clinton Adviser Prince Named New Brunswick Partner," p. 1.

Publishers Weekly, July 31, 2006, review of Home, p. 68; November 13, 2006, review of Survival of the Sickest, p. 45.

Science News, August 4, 2007, review of Survival of the Sickest, p. 79.

Times-News (Burlington, NC), November 24, 2006, review of Home.

USA Today, November 22, 2006, Craig Wilson, review of Home, p. 01.

Washington Post, March 3, 1995, Al Kamen, "3 More to Put Words in Clinton's Mouth," p. 23; May 3, 1999, Al Kamen, "All Hail the Prince," p. 23; April 18, 1997, Al Kamen, "Changes in Domestic Policy Staff," p. 23.


Blogcritics, (April 16, 2007), Nancy Fontaine, review of Survival of the Sickest.

BookLoons, (December 29, 2007), Hilary Williamson, review of Survival of the Sickest.

Friendly Atheist, (August 18, 2007), Hemant Mehta, review of Survival of the Sickest.