I am the U.S. Economics Editor for The Economist magazine, based in Washington, DC. I've spent two decades in financial and economic journalism, including 11 years at the Wall Street Journal in both New York and Washington and before that stints at The Financial Post and The Globe and Mail in Canada. I've appeared on television and radio, including National Public Radio,PBS, CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC. I've won or shared in several prizes for reporting. I graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, with a degree in economics and journalism, and now I live in Bethesda, Maryland.
I was introduced to economics as a child. My mother, a practicing economist, now retired, delighted in trying to apply what she knew about the dismal science to her four children's upbringing. We must have been the only kids in town whose weekly allowance was indexed to inflation. I took economics in college, though not intending to write about it; I just wanted a fallback in case journalism didn't work out. Right out of college, I joined a metropolitan daily newspaper that put me on the night shift covering local politics, crime, and the like, a lot of which never made it into the paper. The business section, however, had lots of space in it and regular hours, so I got a transfer. Soon, I was writing about the economy and the markets, and loving it.
In the process, I discovered a chasm between the economics taught in college and the real world. Textbooks go on about the money supply but it turns out central banks ignore it. Simple questions like "how big is the national debt?" have complicated answers. I learned about fiscal policy but not about debt crises. So I wrote The Little Book of Economics with those lessons in mind.