*Finding Equilibrium*

by on August 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm in Books, Economics, History | Permalink

The authors are Till Düppe and E. Roy Weintruab and the subtitle is Arrow, Debreu, McKenzie and the Problem of Scientific Credit.  I very much liked this book, which provides an inside look at the discovery of some key theorems in economics, with an emphasis on the problem of joint discovery.  McKenzie, by the way, is the one who received the least credit, an example of the Matthew Effect.

1 AKS August 11, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I’ve been following MR for a while, and one thing that strikes me is how rapidly Tyler reads books. Every few weeks I see a post referring to new books that have arrived “in the pile”, and every week or so I see brief remarks summarising his thoughts on at least one book.

Is there some particular technique to sustained and swift reading on this scale?

2 andrew' August 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm

A. Don’t have kids
B. Get tenure
C. Read books

3 andrew' August 11, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Oh and D. Be Tyler Cowen for the world class speed.

Something I recall he posted a while back was to learn not to mentally speak the words as you read the. This is C. Where you read enough to make practicing that worth your while.

4 Willitts August 11, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I wonder if actors have to learn their lines by mentally speaking the words or if they learn the way Tyler reads.

5 Ray Lopez August 12, 2014 at 12:15 am

Tyler is like those chess masters that play blitz. They see stuff so much faster than us mere club level players. You can play them a game where you get 10 minutes and they get 1 minute, and they will still beat you. Also, there’s a speed reading website online, where they test for reading comprehension after you speed read a passage, and I have scored on average almost as high as a college professor, which TC is, and it shows TC’s speed reading skills are not extraordinary for his field.

6 Brian Donohue August 12, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I dunno. I’m approaching 50 (with a wife half my age times two!), and at this point, I think my time is better served meditating on a half-dozen or so of the tough issues I’ve come across in this vale of tears, rather than pinballing around reading everything in sight.

The ratio of tripe to Ray Lopez-level acumen is distressingly high out there.

7 freethinker August 11, 2014 at 9:10 pm

I think Tyler does have a kid.

8 Anon August 12, 2014 at 1:13 am

I think Andrew’ s point is that parenting a biological kid takes up time. Apologies if I am wrong , but I think an older step-kid may not take up as much time.
Hats off to TC’s various skills , of which voracious reading is only a small part.

9 andrew' August 12, 2014 at 10:22 am


My kid would eat his lunch.

10 Brian Donohue August 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Is this happening?

11 Anon. August 12, 2014 at 5:54 am

Tyler typically reads books where skipping and speed-reading are easy, if not necessary. When reading that kind of thing, if you can train yourself to stop subvocalizing you can go VERY fast. The approach is obviously unsuitable for things like literary fiction.

12 Ray Lopez August 12, 2014 at 12:23 am

Ironic passage from Wikipedia on the Matthew Effect, note attribution is NOT given to the Bible but to Robert K Merton, blasphemy! BTW “Robert K Merton” forms in an anagram: “Bet Terror Monk”, ironic, given this post and his pioneer work in the Black Scholes Model involving option bets? 3x Irony! Ironman3! Wikipedia: “In sociology, the Matthew effect (or accumulated advantage) is the phenomenon where “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. … In the sociology of science, “Matthew effect” was a term coined by Robert K. Merton to describe how, among other things, eminent scientists will often get more credit than a comparatively unknown researcher”

13 Ray Lopez August 12, 2014 at 12:55 am

Just to be clear, it is blasphemy by the anonymous Wikipedia writer, not by Merton, who DOES give credit.

14 freethinker August 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I am not an academic. Can someone enlighten a layman like me about why a learned journal like The History of Political Economy publishes a paper about how cold an economist ( Debreu in this case) was towards his family, how he walked out of his home abandoning his wife for a another women, how he eventually could no longer recognize people etc. What difference does it make to our understanding of ideas? I can understand a newspaper or a magazine read by the public at large carrying such stories but not an academic publication. As i said I am a layman so perhaps I am wrong. And such biographical details are more interesting than ideas.

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