Something for Nothing: A Novel

Something for Nothing: A Novel

by Michael W. Klein

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Overview

A young economic professor's adventures in his quest for a tenure-track position and a well-balanced life.

David Fox (Ph. D. Economics, Columbia, Visiting Assistant Professor at Kester College, Knittersville, New York) is having a stressful year. He has a temporary position at a small college in a small town miles from everything except Albany. His students have never read Freakonomics . He thinks he is getting the hang of teaching, but a smart and beautiful young woman in his Economics of Social Issues class is distractingly flirtatious. His research is stagnant, to put it kindly. His search for a tenure-track job looms dauntingly. (The previous visiting assistant professor of economics is now working in a bookstore. ) So when a right-wing think tank called the Center to Research Opportunities for a Spiritual Society (CROSS)—affiliated with the Salvation Academy for Value Economics (SAVE)—wants to publish (and publicize) a paper he wrote as a graduate student showing the benefits of high school abstinence programs, fetchingly retitled “Something for Nothing,” he ignores his misgivings and accepts happily. After all, publication is “the coin of the realm,” as a senior colleague puts it.

But David faces a personal dilemma when his prized results are cast into doubt. The school year is filled with other challenges as well, including faculty politics, a romance with a Knittersville native, running the annual interview gauntlet, and delivering the culminating “job talk” lecture under trying circumstances. David's adventures offer an instructive fictional guide for the young economist and an entertaining and comic tale for everyone interested in questions of balancing career and life, success and integrity, and loyalty and desire.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262518710
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 02/08/2013
Series: The MIT Press
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Michael W. Klein is William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs at the Fletcher School, Tufts University.

What People are Saying About This

N. Gregory Mankiw

Michael W. Klein's novel Something for Nothing is a fun romp through the life of a young, aspiring academic as he struggles to find his way in the world. It is often amusing, sometimes edifying, and always entertaining.

Nelson Mark

"Klein effectively taps into fears that every researcher must have felt at one time or another about the possible fragility of his or her results, and gives us a window to view how a desperate but otherwise normal everyday person may be tempted to behave unethically. He does so with humor and a heavy dose of irony.

Klein perfectly captures the bumbling, bungling, and cluelessness of (at least some) new Economics PhDs beginning their careers." — Nelson C. Mark,Alfred C. DeCrane Jr. Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

Greg Mankiw

"Michael W. Klein's novel Something for Nothing is a fun romp through the life of a young, aspiring academic as he struggles to find his way in the world. It is often amusing, sometimes edifying, and always entertaining." — N. Gregory Mankiw, Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics,Harvard University, and author of Principles of Economics

Endorsement

The thrill in this book—as in the economics profession itself—comes from trying to determine what's real and what's satire. Klein expertly combines them by mixing the insights of an academic insider with an appreciation of the human comedy that was almost completely missing from his previous book, Exchange Rate Regimes in the Modern Era.

Yoram Bauman, economist and stand-up comedian

From the Publisher

Michael W. Klein's novel Something for Nothing is a fun romp through the life of a young, aspiring academic as he struggles to find his way in the world. It is often amusing, sometimes edifying, and always entertaining.

N. Gregory Mankiw , Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics, Harvard University, and author of Principles of Economics

Klein effectively taps into fears that every researcher must have felt at one time or another about the possible fragility of his or her results, and gives us a window to view how a desperate but otherwise normal everyday person may be tempted to behave unethically. He does so with humor and a heavy dose of irony. Klein perfectly captures the bumbling, bungling, and cluelessness of (at least some) new Economics PhDs beginning their careers.

Nelson C. Mark , Alfred C. DeCrane Jr. Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

The thrill in this book—as in the economics profession itself—comes from trying to determine what's real and what's satire. Klein expertly combines them by mixing the insights of an academic insider with an appreciation of the human comedy that was almost completely missing from his previous book, Exchange Rate Regimes in the Modern Era .

Yoram Bauman , economist and stand-up comedian

Yoram Bauman

The thrill in this book—as in the economics profession itself—comes from trying to determine what's real and what's satire. Klein expertly combines them by mixing the insights of an academic insider with an appreciation of the human comedy that was almost completely missing from his previous book, Exchange Rate Regimes in the Modern Era.

Nelson C. Mark

Klein effectively taps into fears that every researcher must have felt at one time or another about the possible fragility of his or her results, and gives us a window to view how a desperate but otherwise normal everyday person may be tempted to behave unethically. He does so with humor and a heavy dose of irony. Klein perfectly captures the bumbling, bungling, and cluelessness of (at least some) new Economics PhDs beginning their careers.

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Something for Nothing 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MKT More than 1 year ago
Econ profs will find this amusing and will recognize several realities of life as an economist and as a professor in general especially at a small college. The portrayals in the book, though fictional, are true to life. Non-economist readers will learn a bit about these topics, but I suspect will find the characters, plot, and writing style to be insufficient to make the book a recommended read. About once every ten or twenty pages the author has a turn or phrase or a passage which makes the reader smile or think "brilliantly done". But most of the rest of the writing is pedestrian or awkward. So I think only someone very interested in or close to an econ prof (i.e. econ profs themselves) will find themselves strongly wanting to read this book.