Today’s the release date for Tyler Cowen’s Discover Your Inner Economist. You’ve lost your chances to read the secret blog and get a personal podcast, but at least you can still buy the book! As I’ve said before, if you like economics, blogging, and/or Tyler, you will probably greatly enjoy this book… even though you still won’t know how to motivate your dentist after you finish it.

If you like knowing about the people behind the ideas, Tyler’s podcast on what he really thinks about his fellow GMU bloggers will delight you. And while I’m not set up for podcasting, now’s the perfect time to return the favor. Yes, here’s my answer to the question: “What do I really think about Tyler?”

The verities: Tyler has an astronomical IQ (perhaps even higher than Robin Hanson), overflowing creativity, an obsessive work ethic, an almost perfectly even temperament, and an unbroken record of fair, honest dealing.

The paradoxes: Tyler is…

  • an introvert who’s a natural leader
  • the most meritocratic guy I know, though he doesn’t believe in merit
  • one of the most intellectually stubborn people I know, despite (because of?) his often promiscuous open-mindedness
  • the giver of the best and worst career advice I’ve ever gotten (fortunately I know when to listen!)
  • obsessed with the future, despite his lack of interest in reproducing
  • a pragmatist and consequentialist who practices a largely deontological ethic; and
  • my intellectual conscience, despite our ceaseless disagreements.

Oh, did I mention that if I hadn’t met Tyler fourteen years ago, it’s fairly likely that I wouldn’t even be a professor? So he’s not just my mentor, but my savior as well. And since Tyler despises sycophancy, that just leaves just one way for us to show our gratitude. You’ll feel better if you do – on this point Tyler and I actually agree! (See here and here).