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A Tenured Professor [Kindle Edition]

John Kenneth Galbraith
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When America's most distinguished economist turned his observant eye and celebrated brilliance to fiction, the result was hailed by the New York Times as "his wisest and wittiest" novel yet. A respected Harvard professor creates an economic forecasting model identifying speculative folly, enabling him of society's hidden agendas that is at once a morality tale and a comic delight.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Harvard economics professor Montgomery Marvin, seeking proof that human folly has no limit when motivated by greed, amasses a fortune through the stock market and uses it to promote decidedly liberal causes. According to PW , this is a "succinct parable for our times, a rare comedy of point and precision."
Copyright 1991 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)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043EWTS0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,113 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Satire of Academia, Politics or Economics? May 24, 2002
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TWOFER May 31, 2010
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still timely June 12, 2011
By algo41
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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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.

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