Hard Copy:
19 June 2013

¶ Malcolm Gladwell has given Jeremy Adelman’s biography of Albert Hirschman, Worldly Philosopher, a rave review in The New Yorker. That’s great. If I’m slightly ambivalent about the honor, it’s because I recently decided that I no longer needed to give house room to Gladwell’s books. Also, it’s strange to be excited about praise for a man of whose existence I was unaware three months ago. Readers of the DBR will agree, I hope, that I’ve been making up for lost time.

Here is Gladwell on Hirschman’s best-known book (characteristically, the one that I’ve not yet read, although I have it), Exit, Voice and Loyalty:

Beneath Hirschman’s elegant sentences, you can hear a deeper argument. Exit is passive. It is silent protest. And silent protest, for him, is too easy. “Proving Hamlet wrong” was about the importance of acting in the face of doubt—but also of acting in the face of fear. Voice was courage.

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19 June 2013

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