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A Tenured Professor

3.32  ·  Rating Details ·  98 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
John Kenneth Galbraith's third novel, A Tenured Professor, is at once an intriguing tale of morality and a comic delight. Montgomery Martin, a Harvard economics professor, creates a stock forecasting model, which makes it possible for him to uncover society's hidden agendas. Seeking proof that human folly has no limit when motivated by greed, Martin initiates mass hysteria ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 9th 2001 by Mariner Books (first published February 21st 1990)
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Steve Kettmann
Dec 22, 2008 Steve Kettmann rated it really liked it
This is a remarkable book. I came to it fresh as someone who has not read much JKG and found it's message amazingly timely: It would not be a stretch to say the book predicts the recent financial upheavals. I found the satire deliciously acidic at times and nicely sustained - no one expects JKG to have a full-time novelist's top-to-bottom polish, and he doesn't, but I still found it a delightful read.
I'm unsure how I ended up with this novel, which evidently I've had for years unread, but I thought I'd give it a try while in bed with some sort of nasty virus (flu?). It's charming and funny, and, having been written about American economics of the 1980s, proves astonishingly relevant today. I suppose a reader would have to be my age or older to recognize the various references--I know next to nothing about economics but recognized most of what/who was being satirized. In brief, this is the ...more
Apr 19, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This quote about sums it up: "Tenure was originally invented to protect radical professors, those who challenged the accepted order. But we don't have such people anymore at the universities, and the reason is tenure. When time comes to grant it nowadays, the radicals get screened out. That's its principal function. It's a very good system, really -- keeps academic life at a decent level of tranquillity."
Holly Jordan
Jun 02, 2016 Holly Jordan rated it liked it
This book was a fun bit of satire on the markets in the late 80s and early 90s. It suffered particularly from clunky writing at times and problems with timeline and flashbacks. A quick read.
Mar 28, 2013 Joanne marked it as to-read
Packed up Kitty Galbraith's papers recently and her son gave us each a copy of his father's only novel
Jan 11, 2011 David rated it it was ok
It was ok, a novel by a famous economist about an economics professor at Harvard, and the antics that ensue when he perfects a method of anticipating the direction of stock prices, gets wildly rich using it, and then along with his wife and an eccentric friend uses the wealth to play political hardball on behalf of left-wing causes. Lots of Cambridge, MA-o-centric scene setting and mildly amusing shots at academic/university culture.

I picked this up at a university book swap, and it's a quick re
Jun 12, 2013 Peter rated it did not like it
Shelves: miscellaneous
Identity Alert: I was a young Harvard economics professor in an office adjacent to John Kenneth Galbraith. This book is Galbraith’s cynical shot at the academy in general, and Harvard in particular, and perhaps at himself in particular. A Harvard professor develops a way to accurately predict the stock market, leading to investigation by the SEC of the possibility that he has engaged in insider trading by using his own self-developed methods. If you are an economist, especially a Harvard ...more
Feb 12, 2014 Eugenia rated it liked it
This must have been very funny when it was written, but reading it now, after its most outrageous predictions about "irrationality" in the stock market and our inability to legislate PACs have come to pass, it's uncannily prescient but not amusing. The fact that it's so smart makes me want to read some of his economic tomes. It's a shame he died before the current "behavioral economics" revolution.
May 26, 2009 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I had to let this one go. I thought it would be a sarcastic peek into academia, and it is that...but it's also really fiction for economists at its core, and if you don't remember anything about your econ classes from college, much of it makes no sense at all. Too bad. If I were going to recommend a good book about the university tenure race, I would recommend "MOO" by Jane Smiley...a book that made me laugh out loud!
Jan 16, 2016 Rick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1990, this book is not "timeless." I should have known how dated it would be when I read the following in the preface: "As this book goes to press, the President and the Congress of the United States are contemplating reform as regards Political Action Committees, the PACs. Whatever the outcome, the solution here offered is preferred." Let's just say that Galbraith's "solution" did not prevail.
Nan Williams
Very cute. Satirical. Enjoyable. Quick romp through Harvard and through US economics of the 80s.

My only real question is how come this was a new [hardback] book at my public library when it was published 25 years ago. I looked to see if it had been re-published, but didn't see where it had.

It reminded me a lot of one of my favorites, "The Rosie Project," but wasn't nearly so good.
Oct 02, 2012 Mary-Ann rated it really liked it
A short satire written by the noted Keynesian economist Galbraith that pokes fun at two of my favorite topics for lampooning: academic snobbery and investment folly. You can tell Galbraith isn't a novelist at heart, but he manages to keep the plot moving anyhow.
Jul 23, 2016 Cici rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book foresaw the coming of behavioral investing. Very cleverly written although the marriage relationship of the main characters are just sketches; it seems that the author wanted to do something about it, but in the end gave up and left it in its unfinished form.
Aug 23, 2011 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Surprisingly funny and brutally honest look at wealth and power among the American elite during the Reagan era that (unfortunately) could have been written today. And you do NOT need knowledge of economics nor academia to appreciate Galbraith's satirical genius.
Jul 20, 2012 Rebekkila marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Mar 13, 2013 Janet rated it liked it
This book had been on my list forever. Economics, politics and finance are not my favorite topics. But what an interesting story of the greedy protecting their flanks.
Jul 30, 2013 Thor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Great start and premise. I enjoyed the tone and the characters. But to truly enjoy this book, one must need to also enjoy economics and finance, neither of which are my cup of tea.
Sep 14, 2012 gaudeo rated it it was ok
Academic satire. Mildly funny. A great book for economics fans, especially those with ties to academia.
Aug 20, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: pop-sugar-2015
Reminded me of a Christopher Buckley book.. smart, sarcastic commentary of academia that is still completely relevant today.
Lou Olliff
Lou Olliff rated it liked it
Jul 10, 2013
Matthew Hall
Matthew Hall rated it really liked it
Oct 02, 2014
Oct 14, 2013 Lindsay rated it liked it
Really liked the one-liners about academia. Did not understand most of the economics lingo.
Bevin rated it liked it
Jun 19, 2008
S rated it really liked it
Jun 20, 2013
Mitch rated it really liked it
Jan 27, 2013
Cathy Houston
Cathy Houston rated it really liked it
Mar 11, 2014
Mary Waters
Mary Waters rated it liked it
Jan 06, 2012
Ken French
Ken French rated it it was amazing
Sep 09, 2014
Paul rated it did not like it
Oct 24, 2008
William T.
William T. rated it liked it
Apr 06, 2007
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John Kenneth Galbraith (10/15/1908–4/29/2006) was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian & an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism & democratic socialism. His books on economic topics were bestsellers in the '50s & '60s. A prolific author, he produced four dozen books & over a 1000 articles on many subjects. Among his most famous ...more
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