As I left Diane Rehm’s radio studio in Washington after doing her show in July, her parting words were, “Watch your Amazon ranking.” I did, and the Rehm effect was impressive, driving Myth of the Rational Market from somewhere in the 200s to as high as 112. The Daily Show effect was similar (on the Amazon rankings, at least—the Rehm show appearance also landed the book on the NYT extended bestseller list, which going on Jon Stewart did not do). I’ve already written here about the Nocera effect and the new Laffer curve.
Turns out the Krugman effect may be the most powerful of all (for my book, at least; we’re not talking Oprah material here). When Paul Krugman’s review of Myth went online the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 7, the book was in the 500s. Here’s how high it got the following Monday:
A few weeks ago, my wife stopped by the Borders at the Jet Blue terminal at JFK, and could not find Myth of the Rational Market (Borders ordered hardly any copies when the book first came out). Well, I'm in the Jet Blue terminal right now waiting for a flight to Oakland, and I can report that times have changed:
After I took this photo, a guy who saw me doing it (not one of the guys in the photo) immediately began checking the jackets of the books on the table. When he got to Myth and saw my picture he stopped, walked over to me and said, "Congratulations." His wife, he said, had done the same thing when her book came out.
It's been a long wait, but the New York Times Book Review has come through in a big way, with a review by Paul Krugman. The crucial bits:
… Justin Fox’s “Myth of the Rational Market” brilliantly tells the
story of how that edifice was built — and why so few were willing to
acknowledge that it was a house built on sand.
yet another book about the financial crisis? Yes, we do — because this
one is different. Instead of focusing on the errors and abuses of the
bankers, Fox … tells the story of the professors who enabled those abuses
under the banner of the financial theory known as the efficient-market
hypothesis. Fox’s book is not an idle exercise in intellectual history,
which makes it a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the mess
we’re in. …
One of the great things about Fox’s writing is that he brings to it a
real understanding of the sociology of the academic world. Above all,
he gets the way in which one’s career, reputation, even sense of
self-worth can end up being defined by a particular intellectual
approach, so that supporters of the approach start to resemble fervent
political activists — or members of a cult. …