THE book of the week and podcast

On Wednesday 12 February, I stopped into the offices of Times Higher Education to meet Karen Shook, the paper’s book editor, and to record a books podcast. Karen has a very disarming way about her, and soon had me holding forth on all sorts of things: the limits of social science and the menace of Freakanomics, most of all. The podcast, available here, accompanies a very generous review and placed I Spend Therefore I Am as book of the week. Thank you Karen and all at THE!

LSE lecture available as podcast

On 11 February I gave a lecture at the LSE, in the splendid Hong Kong lecture theatre. It was part of the public lecture series and quite an honour to be listed in the same programme as some of the great lights of global social science. I chose the provocative title ‘Economics, the enemy?’ and the hall was packed – yes, they were turning people away at the door. The podcast is now available, and you can listen to it here. As you can hear that quite clearly in the recording it was a tough audience, but the questions were excellent and I had some good feedback afterwards.

I Spend Therefore I Am in the Times and the Independent

More mentions of my book in the Saturday papers (2 February 2014). A short but upbeat review in The Times, says ‘simple economics becomes complex moral and political philosophy’, and called me a ‘management guru’. Well, maybe one day. Meanwhile, in the Independent, the economist Vicky Pryce takes me to task, although she does conclude that it is a ‘readable and entertaining’ book, which is also fine by me! You can find the Independent review here.

First reviews in print…

The first reviews of I Spend Therefore I Am have hit the news stands! They’re both written by philosophers, and I was pretty pleased with them, although they don’t give me an easy ride!  The conservative thinker Roger Scruton writes at length in Prospect magazine, which you can find here or on this pdf (Prospect Feb 2014 Scruton), and academic philosopher Edward Skidelski, author of How Much is Enough, reviews my book in the Guardian, here.

Back on Radio 3!

On Thursday evening I caught up with my old friends at BBC Radio Three with an interview on Free Thinking: how Channel Four’s (atrocious) Benefits Street has become the centrepiece for a battle over welfare payments and the (un)deserving poor. I followed a column by another former New Generation Thinker, the Oxford historian Jonathan Healey, who told us how these voyeuristic rogues galleries of the ‘idle poor’ go right back to the 16th century. You can listen to the show here: Jonathan and I get the last 15 minutes or so.

February lectures: the LSE and RSA

There’s something exciting on page 19 of the LSE’s public lecture calendar: on 11 February I’m giving a lecture called ‘Economics, the enemy?’ It starts at 6.30pm in the Hong Kong theatre, Clement House. No ticket is needed, and full details are available on the LSE page.

I’m also giving a talk at the RSA on ‘The True Cost of Economics’ , so If you’re in London on 13 February, and fancy some intellectual stimulation at lunchtime then come along to 8 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ. I hope you will be provoked as well as entertained! Details and booking via RSA events here.

New Generation Thinking 2011 to 2012

Going back a bit in time, but for the archive, here are some links to the AHRC BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers contest and the broadcasts that resulted.

In January 2012 I broadcast a column for Radio 3’s The Essay. On the subject of The Entrepreneur, you can find it on iplayer here.

The media were quick to get hold of the contest in 2011: the Guardian had some pleasant things to say – I especially like ‘young’ – while in the Telegraph Rowan Pelling begged to be spared from a ‘buzzy new breed‘ of academics. Young doesn’t seem so flattering in Pelling’s article. you have to take the rough with the smooth, I think, but I would point out that ‘relevance’ is exactly the kind of ‘virtue’ that you are going to get if you insist on assessing education with market metrics like ‘impact’, a strategy of which the Telegraph would generally, one assumes, approve. I’ve had some thoughts about this kind of logic, and if you want to know more, you should read my book!