Monday, September 26, 2011

I Stole Whose Idea?

It turns out that I'm not the first person to dream up the title, "The Making of an Economist."  This book by David Colander and Arjo Klamer was written in the 1980's and updated recently.  I can honestly say that I had not heard of it.  It was also used as a chapter in Alan Greenspan's memoir, The Age of Turbulence.  When I was reading that this summer, I noticed it, but had already posted several blog entries under this title.  I considered another title and began brainstorming.

The best one that I could think of was "Lemons from Lemonade," which I thought was a clever joke about economist's capacity to take something nice and reduce it to its not-so-nice parts.  Apparently, someone else was thinking the same thing.  Steven Levitt titled one of his chapters in Freakonomics exactly that.

One of the habits of most of the major minds in economics is to write an all encompasing book explaining economics.  Most of these books are meant to accompany college courses, but they are often named exactly the same title, Principles of Economics.  Perhaps the most famous of these was written by Alfred Marshall.  There have been many others written by: Alan Axelrod, Herbert Joseph Davenport, Louis August Rufener, Frank Taussig, Carl Menger, F. M. Taylor, N. Gregory Mankiw, William Stanley Jevons... really, the list goes on and on and on.  Two out of the three marginal revolution books have this title!  So perhaps taking a used name is not completely unprecedented in economics.

Additionally, the original book by Colander and Klamer is all about the experience of being a ph.d student in the United States.  Perhaps my blog is not even so different.  Anyways, I hope they don't sue me so that I don't have to come up with a new and more clever, but even less descriptive title.

You can purchase The Making of an Economist Redux here.

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