Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nicholas Carnes

Nicholas Carnes is assistant professor of public policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. He has worked as a cashier, bus boy, dishwasher, receptionist, and construction worker.

Carnes's latest book is White-Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Carnes's reply:
To be honest, I probably haven’t read any fiction in over a decade. A few years ago, I started a job as a professor in a public policy school, and before that I was in graduate school getting a PhD in political science. Somewhere along the way, I just stopped reading novels.

That changed a few weeks ago. Over the holidays, I was trying to recharge after a busy fall semester. My girlfriend recommended Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis’s 1954 comedy novel about a young lecturer at an English university.

It was just what I needed. Amis wrote the book six decades ago, but his satirical depiction of college faculty—the egos, the cynicism, the politics—probably still gets a lot of laughs from college professors today. And the book’s cynical take on higher education reminded me that of how fortunate I am to be at a university and a policy school where I have so many great friends and colleagues who care about rigorous analysis and real-world problems. Lucky Jim was a good reminder of how lucky I really am.
Learn more about White-Collar Government at the University of Chicago Press website, and follow Nick Carnes on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: White-Collar Government.

--Marshal Zeringue