1. My greatest professional influence is my family, my colleagues, a series of amazing mentors(and several people who fit in more than one of these categories).
2. The last books I read were Michael Chwe's "Rational Ritual," Don DeLillo's "The Names" and David Macaulay's "Shortcut."
3. My advice for those just starting out in this profession is to focus on questions that are important, but that also interest you personally. And not to be a snob in evaluating research areas.
4. The most important lesson I ever learned was never to send a piece of email that you wouldn't be willing to see posted to the Internet.