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A Tenured Professor Kindle Edition

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Length: 212 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Twenty years have elapsed since the celebrated Harvard economist's last novel ( The Triumph ) but this succinct parable for our times, a rare comedy of point and precision, is well worth the wait. Harvard professor Montgomery Marvin, a clever, mild-mannered economist whose Ph.D thesis examined arcane aspects of refrigerator pricing, devises an approach to economics that he calls the Index of Irrational Expectations, based on the all-too-apparent notion that there is no limit to human folly when greed is the driving force. Buying stocks of irrationally inflated companies short, selling while the price is still high and replacing them cheap when the inevitable decline comes, Marvin and wife Marjie soon amass a fortune. Liberals at heart, they spend the money by endowing peace professorships at military schools and establishing countervailing PACs--money to support candidates for office opposing those helped by wealthy lobbyists. Only when they buy a major arms manufacturer and turn its efforts to peaceful purposes does the sacred defense establishment turn on them. This rueful tale is embellished with countless delightful asides on matters as various as Harvard academic manners and the proper behavior before Congressional committees.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Can a tenured professor of economics at Harvard, creator of a stock forecasting model, put his vast yields toward liberal causes without upsetting the prevailing political-economic system? Montgomery Marvin develops the Index of Irrational Expectations (IRAT) after studying the euphoria which accompanies investment, and with his activist wife Marjie he puts IRAT earnings to such uses as labeling products based on their makers' number of women executives; establishing chairs in peace studies at the military academies; and setting up PRCs (Political Rectitude Committees). In his first novel in 22 years, Galbraith shows that as a novelist, he is a fine economist. His language tends to be pretentious and his tone pedantic, with hints of condescension amid occasional wit and convoluted sentences which slow the pace. But he fits his scenario deftly into the present scene, providing a modern fable of some interest. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/89.
- Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 211 KB
  • Print Length: 212 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0618154558
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (February 4, 1991)
  • Publication Date: February 4, 1991
  • Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043EWTS0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,444 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

John Kenneth Galbraith who was born in 1908, is the Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard University and a past president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the distinguished author of thirty-one books spanning three decades, including The Affluent Society, The Good Society, and The Great Crash. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Harvard, Oxford, the University of Paris, and Moscow University, and in 1997 he was inducted into the Order of Canada and received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2000, at a White House ceremony, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Carl Malmstrom on May 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Though "A Tenured Professor" was written in 1990, it's just as topical for the post-Internet boom world as it was for Reaganomics and Bush Senior's recession. A story of a liberal economics professor who finds the key to predicting boom and bust cycles for stocks based on consumer hysteria or pessimism, it is told as a satire, but it cannot escape the sting of realism from time to time.
Galbraith himself, aside from being a Professor Emeritus of economics at Harvard, has a great deal of familiarity with the country's political landscape, having been, among other things, a former US Ambassador to India. His familiarity with Washington politics in both parties comes through with striking clarity. At times he need only to refer to a Senator or Congressman obliquely for me to know exactly who he speaks of. Economically, as well, the book sparkles with a cynicism and perpetual questioning of whether or not economic interests control political ones. Even his academic knowledge is impressive - it's obviously that he is both very fond and somewhat sardonic of Harvard at the same time - but it is not so much a book about academics as it is about the direction of our country.
If it struggles anywhere, this book struggles with it's own style. Galbraith is obviously highly intelligent and an accomplished economist. He is not, however, first a novelist. This becomes apparent when he has to push the plot along from time to time in with forced dialogue or grope for it within his satirical meanderings. However, he has enough experience with the novel as a form that it never grinds to a halt.
In spite of it's form - or maybe because of it, this book does have an important comment to make about the interplay between politics and economics in the United States today.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Harvard Professors of intellectual glory are at it again! This book will be interesting to anyone who enjoys reading novels on a regular basis. The autodidact who consumes philosophical, historical, and scientific works daily may be disappointed...but you be the judge. Psychological irrationality and economic models allow the hero to elude the "risk factor" that is commonly associated with predicting the market. If academic snobbery and ivory tower elitism is as interesting to you as it is to me you will find something in this book that will get your cerebral juices flowing!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON VINE VOICE on May 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
The part that irrational optimism and euphoria play in economic behaviour is a familiar soapbox of Galbraith's, better known from his `Short History of Financial Euphoria'. I wondered which came first, that treatise or this novel which is about the same subject. They were both first published in the same year, it seems. If so, the subject must have been one that he had a good deal to say about, and I for one am thoroughly pleased that he said it. In the current economic times I can't commend Galbraith's insights into the matter sufficiently strongly, and if he goes over a certain amount of the same ground twice I consider that a bonus, like two helpings of profiteroles but a lot more beneficial.

I suppose the start of this book is rather clunking, but never mind that. I was quite prepared to give it 5-star rating even if it had been just a tract thinly disguised as a novel, but in fact I think you may find that it gets better, just as a novel, as it goes along. The main characters develop genuine personalities, more than they do in the novels of even such a recognised practitioner of the genre `novel' as Arthur C Clarke. Like Clarke, Galbraith is out to teach as least as much as to entertain, and not unexpectedly we find the same awesome historical examples of dewy-eyed folly in both the Short History and the slightly longer work of fiction, about 200 pages of it. The tulip mania in 17th century Europe is related again, and so is the South Sea Bubble in the 18th.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Contact1 on March 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
A classic book that you'll want to read, especially if you have ever worked in the area of quantitative investing. A satire, but informative as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By algo41 on June 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
This 1990 satire of how Congress and financiers work is, unfortunately, still timely. I suspect, without firsthand knowledge, that its satire of Harvard professors is also still relevant, except than many of Harvard's current economists have made huge sums as consultants who have provided their clients with rationales (source is Bloomberg Business Week magazine) for what turned out to be reckless behavior. The novel is also entertaining, although a bit slow before it focuses on its protagonist, Professor Marvin. One false note: in the real world, it typically takes longer for shorts to benefit from stocks pumped up by irrational exhuberance.
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