Brad DeLong decided to become an economist rather than a historian when he realized that the guys applying for history department assistant professorships were 35 and had published two books, while the guys applying for economics department assistant professorships were 25 and had a half-finished draft of one article. Since getting his PhD from Harvard in 1987, he has taught at MIT, Boston University, Harvard University, and the University of California at Berkeley. For the first part of the Clinton administration (the fun part) Brad worked for the US Treasury as one of its many, many Deputy Assistant Secretaries. He blogs at Brad DeLong's Website.
Why do you blog? > As a move in the intellectual influence game. The internet has to be useful for education and scholarly and political conversation somehow. This is just the latest in a series of experiments.
What has been your best blogging experience? > There have been a lot of wonderful experiences. The best? I'll have to think about that…
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Donald Luskin.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Figure out where you have the most to say.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Of those I know well, Larry Summers and Andrei Shleifer. Of those who are very dead, John Maynard Keynes and Adam Smith.
What are you reading at the moment? > Sargent and Velde, The Big Problem of Small Change; Tirthankar Roy, An Economic History of India 1857-1947.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Magic Mountain - but it has to be read at 21 while holding a Eurail Pass.
What is your favourite poem? > I have always liked Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress'.
What is your favourite movie? > Casablanca.
What is your favourite song? > 'Five Variations on a Theme of Dives and Lazarus', by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Who is your favourite composer? > Beethoven.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Does becoming convinced of the importance of keeping inflation under 5% per year count?
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That science works.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The 'I'm all right, Jack, and let's not worry about primitive accumulation' thesis of Anarchy, State, and Utopia.
Who are your political heroes? > LBJ, for breaking the Democratic Party over civil rights. FDR, for being pragmatic and willing to try a whole bunch of things. Winston Churchill and Edouard Daladier, for being the only two leaders seeking to put their countries in harm's way at the start of World War II.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > There's such a thing as political wisdom?
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Stop electing Republicans.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be President, who would you choose? > Bob Rubin.
What would you do with the UN? > I've always thought Max Singer's ideas about a 'democratic caucus' to be very good.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Nuclear proliferation.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > No.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Nuclear proliferation.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Finish more projects sooner.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Manhattan - but only if you're really, really rich.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Sit on a beach with a lot of books.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > What spare time?
What is your most treasured possession? > My wife (for some value of 'possession').
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Brad :)
What talent would you most like to have? > Better hand-eye coordination.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > I have the ideal profession.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > John Cleese.
Which baseball team do you support? > Boston Red Sox.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > That the Republican Party splinters into feuding factions - like what happened to the British centre-left between 1979 and 1990.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > I don't know. Would they be in their friendly or their unfriendly moods? Let's try John Maynard Keynes, Niccolo Machiavelli, and Isaac Newton.
What animal would you most like to be? > Labrador Retriever.
[Previous profiles: Ophelia Benson (Nov 7); Chris Bertram (Sep 26); Alan Brain (Oct 10); Chris Brooke (Jan 2); Francois Brutsch (Dec 5); Jackie D (Oct 17); Harry Hatchet (Oct 24); Saddam Hussein (Nov 14); Jeff Jarvis (Dec 26); Oliver Kamm (Nov 21); Sheila O'Malley (Dec 19); Glenn Reynolds (Jan 9); Natalie Solent (Nov 28); Roger L. Simon (Oct 31); Michael J. Totten (Oct 3); Brian Weatherson (Dec 12). The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature.]