Sunday, September 21, 2014

Why the Popularity of Piketty?

The contributors to the Guardian symposium on this question all missed what I think is the main reason: people who buy (and may also read) books in the US (at least) love fact-filled disquisitions about the long sweep of history.  Remember Guns, Germs and Steel?  On a more econ-ish note, This Time Is Different?  The length and factual detail of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, combined with its multi-century and multi-country scope, makes it that much more attractive.

If Angus Maddison had ever written a tome for the general reader, it would probably have been a mega-success.

In other words, while the style and politics of Piketty may have played a part, these aspects alone predict thousands of best-sellers.  Other filters are more important.

Of course, luck always plays a role too.  Avoid overfitting, especially when n is very small.

1 comment:

MaxSpeak said...

In the first round off statements by the august panel, the word "Occupy" failed to pass anyone's lips.