Monday, Mar. 07, 2011

Felix Salmon

There is a thousand times as much good stuff to read as any of us possibly could get to. So we read a little — things and people that we have found to be thought-provoking in the past. And when we run into somebody in the hallway, we ask what they have recently read that was interesting. Blogs greatly expand the number of people we run into in the hallway, although in this case it is, of course, a virtual hallway. That then creates the problem of which of the thousands of doors on your virtual hallway you knock on.

But even with all that's now available on finance, Felix Salmon makes the cut. Ever since he started working for Nouriel Roubini, a New York University economics professor who heads forecasting firm RGE Monitor, Salmon has been very high on my list of blogs to read. Why? Because he writes very well. Because he reads an immense amount. Because he is pragmatic and empirical: "This proves my ideology is right!" is not a message he wants to send anyone. And because he reads different things from what I do and thinks differently enough from me, I learn a huge amount.

Felix Salmon suits me. Would he suit you? He really ought to. Too many people are either on Team Politics or Team Ideology or Team I Talk My Book. You cannot learn much from them. I can name 10 articles in the past month alone that I am grateful to have learned about because of Salmon. I would have gotten to about three of them without him.

DeLong is an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of the recently renamed blog Grasping Reality with a Sharp Beak.