Jesse Thorn talks to the singer/songwriter Bill Withers, of Lean on Me and Just the Two of Us fame, about making it in the music business and then retiring from performance. Plus comedy writer Joe Randazzo shares his secrets to an "unpredictable career in comedy" as outlined in his new book Funny On Purpose, and Jesse explains why his great American hero is one of the kid spellers from the 2002 documentary, Spellbound. Show notes
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Jack El-Hai is the author of "The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and his Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness." It traces the life of Dr. Walter Freeman (pictured above), who popularized the lobotomy. The technique was innovative in its time, but Freeman continued performing it long after more effective pharmaceutical treatments were available. Nonetheless, Freeman was an innovator in treating the physical causes of mental illness.