Many of you likely know Tyler Cowen through the Marginal Revolution blog he runs with Alex Tabarrok, or, perhaps his contributions to the New York Times Economic View column . Tyler recently began conducting interviews with a variety of people who are “making an impact on the world through their ideas” (e.g. Peter Thiel, Dani Rodrik, Jonathan Haidt, Luigi Zingales, Jeff Sachs). I find many of the interviews thought-provoking, and here is why: Tyler steers conversations down less-traveled paths thereby liberating his guests from recounting or rationalizing their position on topics for which they are known. He asks quirky, sometimes provocative, questions. For more reflective interviewees, this approach elicits responses which are far more interesting than what you’d encounter in their most recent “book talk”. The rich conversations with Dani Rodrik, Jonathan Haidt and Luigi Zingales vividly illustrate the virtues of this approach. Tyler’s off-piste interview style doesn’t work as well with less reflective guests. Jeff Sachs, for example, appears to have little of interest to say, beyond recounting and justifying his well-known positions. But hey, it’s a pod- and vid-cast, you can easily skip to the next episode.
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