Joseph Schumpeter at Harvard

In grading his daily performances, he gave himself numerical credit for writing and research — including his endless effort to master mathematics — but seldom for teaching, counseling students, or any other duty.  He enjoyed reading Latin and Greek texts, as well as European novels and biographies — Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Morley’s multivolume Gladstone, Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians.  Sometimes he indulged himself with Ellery Queen and other detective novelists.  He loved to dine out and to attend art exhibitions and classical music concerts.  But he regarded most of these activities as unseemly distractions.  The only thing that really counted as work.  On that dimension Schumpeter held himself to unattainable standards and wrestled constantly with his conscience.  He was still trying to work out an "exact economics; and in doing so he was setting a real intellectual trap for himself.

That is from Thomas McCraw’s superlative Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction.  Here is David Warsh on the book.


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