The result of my survey of economists is delayed one more day (I think). I’m timing it to run with an opinion piece I wrote for CNN.com, but the news about Lehman Brothers squeezed it off the page at the last minute.

[Insert your own joke about not having time to hear what economists say because we’re too busy with bank closures.]

I thought Hurricane Ike was going to bump my story today. There’s always something. I released my book God’s Debris in September 2001. That turned out to be a bad month for authors to get media attention. Another book, Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel was released the same month that the infamous Beltway Sniper was making national headlines. I was on my book tour, and all of my media appearances depended on how accurate the sniper was that morning.

I remember having dinner with a group of book publishers and asking them how many great undiscovered authors there are. They answered unanimously “none.” It was their view that every good author can get published because the publishing industry is scratching the dirt to find them. I think that’s mostly true. But how many books an author sells has a lot to do with what is happening in the news.

My first hardcover book, The Dilbert Principle, hit its stride in the summer, when there wasn’t much else happening in the news. The media attention was enormous. It was an easy and fun story and there wasn’t a lot of competition for people's attention. Sales were huge. But if it had launched during September of 2001, as my book God’s Debris did, it would have tanked. God's Debris was a solidly successful book, but sold maybe a tenth of its potential.

Timing is everything.

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Sep 15, 2008
Reminds me of the old joke:

"I am the world's greatest <pick your country> comedian!"


"Ask me why I'm the world's greatest <pick your country> comedian."

"OK, why are you the world's. . ."

"Timing." (it works better if you can say it)

I agree, timing is everything. A lot of people think so. Back in the old days, President Nixon picked an Admiral named Elmo Zumwalt to be Chief of Naval Operations, the country's top naval officer, over a number of more senior Admirals. When Zumwalt was asked the secret to his success, he answered (you guessed it), "Being in the right place at the right time."

As to your survey of economists, I'm still unmoved. It's going to be little more than political bias wrapped up in econobabble, regardless of which candidate comes out on top. But again, it's your money (unless Obama gets elected, and then it will be the government's money), and you can spend it any way you see fit. For now.

Sep 15, 2008
You have heard of "A Confederacy of Dunces" haven't you? If not, read it. Yes there are undiscovered masterpieces.
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Sep 15, 2008
Since your publishing seems to cause disasters. economic or otherwise, how can you in good consience continue to crank out material?
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Sep 15, 2008
Given the intensity of my last comment, I'd like to speculate on the outcome of your research Scott. It's not often a small person like me gets to know national headlines the day before they're released.

I expect the report to show Obama is better for the economy. I say this for a couple reasons:

- The admitted political affiliations of the economists surveyed were predominantly Democrat. In our current political situation any hint of respect towards the other side is outright treason. More importantly an economist's outlook on policy is swayed by their political belief system. Long point made short, bias is important.

- The results will be posted on CNN. To be honest, I've never known CNN to post a single Repulican-favorable document on their network. I do read CNN daily and I like to think of myself as somewhat middle of the road, but they're not exactly the most neutral of mediums.

If I had to choose a reason I disagree with findings putting Obama ahead of McCain on economics, it's Obama's tax policy. Any man openly willing to take another $4,000 more in taxes from an individual making only $30k a year will collapse the poor people's cash flow faster than any Republican policy.

I'm not saying McCain is good for the economy, I just believe there's significant evidence that he's not as pathetic as Obama.
Sep 15, 2008
Timing is everything...

Yeh. That's what *she* said!

Sep 15, 2008
I feel like Josh and start to suspect you trying to only increase the moment of suspense. Please get the results out.
Have a nice day and best wishes!
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 15, 2008
Timing isn't everything, but I agree it's darn important.

The pressure of my anticipation has been building so long I'm about to pee my mental pants...so to speak.
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