Herbert Simon, the Man

The first in a series of excerpts from Minds, Models and Milieux: Commemorating the Centennial of the Birth of Herbert Simon.

Katherine Simon Frank

How many children are conscious of their parents as different from their friends’ parents? How many understand what it means to have a parent who is known to others via newspaper accounts and television appearances? Would a child sense how a “famous” parent could be different from other parents? From my experience and observation growing up as the eldest of three of Herbert Simon’s children, my answer to those questions is: zero, none, and no.

That is, those would be my answers until people started asking questions and pointing out the differences. Why was your father in the newspaper? Why aren’t your parents moving to another house now that your father has won the Nobel Prize? What was it like growing up with a famous father?