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PODCAST: "The Ideas Industry" Book Talk featuring author Dan Drezner

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Duration: 01:09:14


The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas

The public intellectual, as a person and ideal, has a long and storied history. Writing in venues like the New Republic and Commentary, such intellectuals were always expected to opine on a broad array of topics, from foreign policy to literature to economics. Yet in recent years a new kind of thinker has supplanted that archetype: the thought leader. Equipped with one big idea, thought leaders focus their energies on TED talks rather than highbrow periodicals.

Filled with engaging and witty stories about the foibles of contemporary intellectual life in the US
Argues that the traditional public intellectual has been supplanted by a new model: the "thought leader"
Identifies the forces driving this shift, including increasing inequality and political polarization
First work on public intellectuals in American life in years by a nationally prominent author

Read the New York Times column by David Brooks "This Age of Wonkery" on Drezner's book at the LINK HERE.


DANIEL W. DREZNER is Professor of International Politics at Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a contributing editor at the Washington Post. Prior to Fletcher, he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has previously held positions with Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University. Drezner has written five books, including All Politics is Global and Theories of International Politics and Zombies, and edited two others, including Avoiding Trivia. He has published articles in numerous scholarly journals as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Politico, and Foreign Affairs, and has been a contributing editor for Foreign Policy and The National Interest. He received his B.A. in political economy from Williams College and an M.A. in economics and PhD in political science from Stanford University. His blog for Foreign Policy magazine was named by Time as one of the 25 best blogs of 2012, and he currently writes the “Spoiler Alerts” blog for the Washington Post. His latest book, The System Worked: How the World Stopped Another Great Depression, was published by Oxford University Press in June 2014.


JOHN ZALLER studies American politics and public opinion. His first book, The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (Cambridge, 1992), explored how political messages reach the public and influence its thinking. His forthcoming book, A Theory of Media Politics, describes how the conflicting interests of reporters, politicians, and citizens shape the news. A second in-progress book, which is co-authored with three graduate students in the department, is called Beating Reform: The Resurgence of Parties in Presidential Nominations, 1980 - 2000. Its argument is that, by coordinating among themselves and controlling the resources necessary to run in the primaries, party leaders now control presidential nominations as firmly as they did in the period prior to the McGovern-Fraser reforms. Other recent projects use simulation models to explore incumbency advantage in House elections and to determine the power of opinion surveys to identify the influence of media events on public sentiment. Professor Zaller teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in American politics, public opinion, and statistical methods. He served for eight years on the Board of Overseers of the National Election Studies and has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.