Profile of Tyler

Brendan Greeley of Bloomberg has an excellent profile of Tyler, both amusing and accurate. Here’s one bit:

When Tyler Cowen was 15, he became the New Jersey Open Chess Champion, at the time the youngest ever. At around the same age, he began reading seriously in the social sciences; he preferred philosophy. By 16 he had reached a chess rating of 2350, which today would put him close to the top 100 in the U.S. Shortly thereafter he gave up chess and philosophy for the same reason: little stability and poor benefits.

He’d been reading economics, though. He figured that economists were supposed to publish, and by age 19 he had placed two papers in respected journals. As a PhD candidate at Harvard, he published in the “Journal of Political Economy” and the “American Economic Review.”

“They were weird, strange pieces,” he says, “but still in good journals, top journals. That cemented my view that I could, you know, somehow fit in somewhere.” I ask him what he was like, what made him doubt he could fit in.

“I was like I am now.”

“You’ve always been like that?”

“Always. Age 3. Whatever.”

“What did you do at age 3?”

“Read a lot of books.”

Read the whole thing especially for more on the sociology of the economics profession.

Oh and here is an interesting development, the hot new restaurants are now tweeting about Tyler.  Strange world.

Comments

"For the last 15 years, Cowen has had a strong hand in new hires for George Mason. The school looks for economists who are undervalued elsewhere."

Tyler Cowen, the Billy Beane of economics. Who'da thunk it?

It's probably an even more brilliant strategy than in baseball.

Batting Average is to Pub Count as On-Base Percentage is to _______

"Shortly thereafter he gave up chess and philosophy for the same reason: little stability and poor benefits."

No moat. He's also the Warren Buffet of Economics.

Economics: Not capital intensive, Joe Sixpack thinks he can have a take, idiosyncratic, fundamental, I'm probably leaving some out. I chose poorly.

"What did you do at age 3?"

"Blog obsessively".

;)

More like brag obsessively.

He should brag more. He should put on his business card "I don't do math, bitch" (allusion to The Social Network)

Here's a koan - is the Fake Ben Bernanke the real Ben Bernanke?

(1) Get a life.
(2) That's not a koan.
(3) "I think I'm going to throw up" (allusion to my reaction when reading this sycophantic post)

I hope some of that vomit hits your own shoes. What kind of ridiculous person takes the time to come to here, read the posts -- or some of them -- and then spends time posting an accusation that TC brags? Why not go and read something else if you don't like TC? Besides, where's the evidence?

I'm not an uncritical sycophant, but it should be obvious from perusing a few days of posts that TC is not a braggart.

I can just picture Tyler at age 3.

What I'm Reading:

The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne. Would have benefited from more architecture and less philosophy.

Goodnight, Moon, Margaret Wise Brown. An excellent follow-up to her Runaway Bunny. Some of the best poetry in American literature today.

The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss. Many people enjoy this book, but I'm not one of them. I'll blame myself rather than the author.

Ted Craig wins the thread and possibly the internet.

Nice work, Ted.

I wonder if he developed an early taste for Sichuan baby food.

when he was younger i bet he was a champion at playing chest.

Tyler is a complete tool. The fact that Businessweek is profiling him is about as rock-solid proof as you need of this fact (not that regular perusal of his blog wouldn't richly confirm it).

Uh oh, douche alert... I guess we will ignore the fact that someone has to actively visit this blog (while also taking the time to post a comment). It's clear that his opportunity costs are exceptionally low.

I think Hans is the same guy that uses GWAR pseudonyms and commonly inserts references to homosexual acts in his comments.

Read this morning after seeing it on the Coordination Problem. Good stuff.

PS 10/10 Ted

Does it bother Tyler when people refer to him as a libertarian? Does he ever try to correct them?

I don't think so as he self-indentifies as such.

Has the humanities fallen so far that we must call philosophy a social science so that people will be impressed by it?

It's fascinating to intuit the sourness underlying the comments of many "mainstream" economic professors re: Tyler.

It would be interesting to see the raw list of 27 books for the Brazilian trip compared to the ones actually finished and/or recommended. What does the winnowing process look like?

I don't think it's sourness, it could quite simply just be "look I don't know much about him except that he blogs, something I'm not necessarily comfortable with"

perhaps the declining to comment is a reflection of honesty.

Congratulations to Tyler on his current hotness.

As an academic economist who reads MR regularly, I admire his breadth of culture and knowledge, and I appreciate his originality (unpredictability). I also sometimes get mad at his inconsistency: it is not rare for him to write a list of bullet points that are mutually inconsistent. (Of course he is aware of it, and would probably defend his practice using some meta-argument.)

Obviously, breadth is not valued in academia where you get a name for making a precise point forcefully using consistent reasoning, which explains the (relative) lack of academic success of Tyler. I also think that he often doesn't confront the data much.

Another point: many academics do not blog also because they cannot write three paragraphs on an issue - they often realize the issue is very complex and they don't have all the info and knowledge to be as precise and correct as they would like to be. Basically academics want to have a strong value added compared to the "educated layman's reaction". Call it an acquired disease - researchers learn not to take easy answers. That explains I think some of the academics' reactions.

One thing that I find interesting is how Tyler benefit hugely, including monetarily, from his blog - certainly technology has helped him a lot -- no stagnation here!

I do worry about the incentives -- we give a lot of audience to people like Tyler or Ezra Klein who know little about the underlying issues they blog about -- say what you want about Christy Romer or Greg Mankiw but they have been thinking for 20 years carefully, in depth about some economic topics.

"I do worry about the incentives — we give a lot of audience to people like Tyler or Ezra Klein who know little about the underlying issues they blog about — say what you want about Christy Romer or Greg Mankiw but they have been thinking for 20 years carefully, in depth about some economic topics."

NOT. Mankiw nor Romer have a monopoly on depth or knowledge. They're just as fallible as Tyler Cowen. Perhaps they have more depth because they have more teaching assistants.

Prof. Cowen: if you're reading this can you post some of your wins in chess in your blog? I'd like to put them online.

No, they have more depth because they think, instead of spouting off. Although Romer isn't really much better in the end.

This shows which they last very much lengthier and thus saving you income which could otherwise are actually utilized to purchase new ones.gj

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