Paul Le Roux was basically a spammer. A guy who flooded computers with unsolicited email and shady websites offering to treat hair loss, migraine headaches, and erectile dysfunction. Tired of standing in line at pharmacies? Tired of sitting in doctors’ offices? Get the meds YOU WANT online! Online. That was the key. Jeff Bezos saw it and built Amazon. Paul Le Roux saw it and went to jail.
We didn’t need Raghuram Rajan’s new book to convince us that economics attracts some of the smartest people on the planet, although Rajan himself is a fine example of that fact. Currently a professor at the University of Chicago, he has served as governor of the Reserve Bank of India, chief economic adviser to India, and chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, while receiving along the way nearly every accolade granted to rising young economists.
The failure of American colleges to promote free speech and intellectual diversity is like an open wound. It stains the imagination, obscuring paths of investigation with a sick puss. It drains the vitality of thought, leaving the mind weakened. And it strains intellectual discourse—the Socratic ideal of conversation—by making us fearful, anxious, and self-censoring.
Austin Bay opens his new book on the world’s flashpoints with a scene from the end of the Cold War. Or, at least, a scene from an American high-school during those strange days, as the Soviet bloc crumbled in the early 1990s. A retired Army colonel turned military historian and novelist, Bay was invited to join a panel of successful people who could tell an auditorium of high-school students and their parents about career development.
Leadership. Dozens of universities around the country offer courses in its study. Every other year casts up onto the bestseller list another book on the topic. And all of it is basically goo. The people writing about leadership can’t even agree on what it means. A few years ago, Bernard M. Bass pointed out that “a two-day meeting to discuss leadership” will often start “with a day of argument over the definition.” Joseph Rost looked at almost 600 academic papers on leadership and found well over 200 rival definitions of the word, bitterly dueling within them.