Andy Rooney died today. I’ve always felt a strange sort of connection with the guy. In my TV-watching days, I would regularly tune in for his 60 Minutes commentary. I have read most of his books.

The popular opinion has pronounced him the archetype of the grumpy old man, but those who look more carefully will find that his voice—his writer’s voice, that is—was something quite different. Rooney was a keen observer of the world around him. He wasn’t just curmudgeonly in his pieces—he was incisive and witty and clever. He was also a serious woodworker with a deep appreciation for craftsmanship.

His best book, My War , is one of my favorites. It offers a deeply personal and completely fresh perspective of life in World War II. Go out and read it!