Tuesday, April 10, 2012

NyTi Completely Rips New Tyler Cowen Book; I Have Never Before Seen Such a Negative Review

NyTi's Dwight Garner writes
Tyler Cowen’s “An Economist Gets Lunch” arrives on the table like a big, unidentifiable, whey-colored casserole. After 75 pages you’re still poking at it, thinking, “What is this thing?” and “Can I order something else?”... 
Reading Mr. Cowen is like pushing a shopping cart through Whole Foods with Rush Limbaugh. The patter is nonstop and bracing. Mr. Cowen delivers observations that, should Alice Waters ever be detained in Gitmo, her captors will play over loudspeakers to break her spirit.... 
 Reading Mr. Cowen — he is a professor of economics at George Mason University near Washington, the author of a best-selling e-book titled “The Great Stagnation,” and a food blogger — is like watching a middle-aged man in a blue blazer play Hacky Sack at a My Morning Jacket concert...
“An Economist Gets Lunch” might have worked if, aesthetically, it wasn’t rather dismal. It’s flat, padded with filler, flecked with factual errors and swollen with a kind of reverse snobbery that’s nearly as wince-inducing as anything you’ll hear at the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn...

 The quality of Mr. Cowen’s prose varies wildly. Many of his sentences read as if he composed them before entirely waking from a nap..

Speaking of Mr. Trillin, this book makes reference to the kind of ostentatious restaurants he used to jokingly refer to as “La Maison de la Casa House.” Mr. Cowen quotes his patron saint incorrectly, replacing “House” with “Haus.” Not a big deal. Except that this mistake arrives on Page 2, rattling your confidence.

Mr. Cowen later writes, “Google brings up over a million mentions for ‘tofu fajitas.’ ” That sounds crazy, so you check it. It turns out that Google offers only about 30,000 mentions of “tofu fajitas”; giving it a wider search range (without quotation marks) brings it up to about 115,000. Confidence further rattled.
Yikes, this is what I write about Cowen's economic books.

The only redeeming grace I can find is that this review is in the New York Times, so you have to consider a negative review as something of an endorsement. But for a beltarian, such as Cowen (he writes for the rag), NyTi is something close to a daily version of the bible. This means for Cowen, this review is worse than diarrhea caused by poorly cooked octopus.


  1. Maybe he should start reading books all the way through and perhaps pay attention to them instead of skimming them and tossing them aside.


  2. It just so happens that there is nothing I would rather be doing right now than "watching a middle-aged man in a blue blazer play Hacky Sack." Maybe I should pick up a copy of the book.

  3. Those dummies at the NYT probably think he's a free market guy (maybe because George Mason is so considered by the economically illiterate). If so, they'd green light a bad review. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the source of the animus. Not one bit.