Friday, December 9, 2011

Trying to answer some questions, including one about cuts in review sections in print media. I check in on some blogs and find this on Rajiv Sethi:

The very first book on economics that I remember reading was Robert Heilbroner's majesterial history of thought The Worldly Philosophers. I'm sure that I'm not the only person who was drawn to the study of economics by that wonderfully lucid work. Heilbroner managed to convey the complexity of the subject matter, the depth of the great ideas, and the enormous social value that the discipline at its best is capable of generating.

I was reminded of Heilbroner's book by Robert Solow's review of Sylvia Nasar's Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius. Solow begins by arguing that the book does not quite deliver on the promise of its subtitle, and then goes on to fill the gap by providing his own encapsulated history of ideas. Like Heilbroner before him, he manages to convey with great lucidity the essence of some pathbreaking contributions. I was especially struck by the following passages on Keynes: [the rest here]

Which illustrates one of the points I wanted to make - in the blogosphere reviewers are not constrained by word count, or by an editor's sense of the level of specialization readers can cope with.  And reviews can be reviewed, or recommended.

I've only written two reviews for print media, and each time I was told to write something under 500 words. Getting my thoughts on the book down from 1000+ words to 500- took 50% of the time.

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