Norman Kingsley Mailer (January 31, 1923 – November 10, 2007) was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film-maker and actor. In a career spanning over six decades, Mailer had 11 best-selling books, at least one in each of the seven decades after World War II—more than any other post-war American writer.His novel The Naked and the Dead was published in 1948 and brought him early and wide renown. His 1968 nonfiction novel Armies of the Night won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction as well as the National Book Award. His best-known work is widely considered to be The Executioner's Song, the 1979 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
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There is a well-worn adage that those who set out upon a great enterprise would do well to count the cost. I am not sure that this is always true. I think that some of the very greatest enterprises in this world have been carried out successfully simply because the people who undertook them did not count the cost; and I am much of the opinion that . . . the most instructive consideration for us is the cost of doing nothing.