In which the NYT makes me slap my forehead

Ok, I strongly suspect Ed Glaeser’s book, The Triumph of Cities, is a very good book because he’s a sharp guy and a great writer. Haven’t read it yet. But can I just ask WTF is the NYT doing having an assistant professor of public health reviewing it?

Have they lost their minds?

First of all, there are a fair few experts on the city outside of public health departments. Like, other urban economists. Like urban studies people. Like not public health people, who in general are not experts on cities, let alone urban economics, even though they’ve decided they can fix us fat people with urban form now.

And not just a public health person, but having an assistant professor review it? Um, let’s see. Gee, I wonder if she’ll approve of the endowed chair at Harvard’s work here?

(Hint: yes, to the point of rather embarrassing slobbering. Not that I blame her: she’d be nuts to say anything else.) No, there’s no work out there that’s comparable, nor any other books worth contrasting it with. Of course not! To compare or contextualize the book, you’d need to know the field. Is there something that Glaeser might have wrong? Certainly not! Pshaw! How mighty and dazzling is this book!


Silvers shouldn’t be in this position, and Glaeser’s ideas deserve better than worship.

Reviews should be equals evaluating equals at the very least. Where’s Witold Rybczynski when you need him?