Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New York Magazine Profiles Krugman

Awesome profile by Benjamin Wallace-Wells: What's Left of the Left: Paul Krugman’s lonely crusade. Here's an excerpt:

Paul Krugman is a lonely man. That he is comfortable in his solitude, that he emphasizes its virtues, that his intelligence gives it a poetic gloss, none of this diminishes the poignancy of his isolation. Krugman grew up an only child and is deeply self-conscious. He will list his shortcomings as though he’d been preparing for the chance: “Loner. Ordinarily shy. Shy with individuals.” He is married but has no children nor—rare for a Nobelist—many protégés. When I asked him if there were any friends of his I could talk to in order to understand him better, he hesitated, then said, “That’s going to be hard.” One colleague at Princeton, where Krugman has taught since 2000, says the economist will avert his eyes when circumstance places the two of them alone in an elevator, his nose stuck in the corner, so as to avoid conversation. Krugman’s wife, Robin Wells, an academic economist herself, was recently reading the Ian McEwan novel Solar, whose protagonist is a Nobel Prize–winning physicist who has been married five times, and she found the scenario implausible. “You could never win the Nobel Prize with that kind of personal life,” she says. “It’s too distracting.”

For another profile (equally awesome) with a different emphasis, try this one at the New Yorker from a year ago.