A Quick Introduction

Who am I? Why am I here? (Poor James Bond Stockdale really did get a rough ride for asking ‘What are the right questions’)

Let’s try the second. I’m starting a series of posts here in a voice and in formats that don’t fit in the form of a book, an op-ed, private poetry, or tweets. What will that be?

My first post is a short essay about what Ruth Bader Ginsburg was like, and her approach to legal and social change.

My second is on Richard Hofstalder’s 1964 essay The Paranoid Style in American Politics. And there’s more to come later this week, including a post about Facebook and the results of the 2020 election, so be sure to stay tuned (follow me.)

In the popular press, I write about things like the life and death of local hardware stores, the logic of hobbies, the tyranny of convenience, the invention of the coffee shop, and why you shouldn’t feel sorry for airlines. Stuff like that. And my day job is teaching at Columbia University’s law school.

My books might also give you an idea of my interests: they include the Master Switch (a book about the rise and fall of information empires, from the telephone through Google), The Attention Merchants (the invention of the attention economy). My most recent book, The Curse of Bigness, is everything you need to know about business getting to big and the revival of an American anti-monopoly tradition.

As for the question of who I am, I find that much harder to answer. I suspect you feel the same way too.

Until next time,


Professor at Columbia University; author of “The Curse of Bigness,” “The Attention Merchants,” and “The Master Switch;” veteran of Silicon Valley & Obama Admin.

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