It’s a Must-Have Book, Even if You Never Read It

051914bucks-carl-sketch-master675-v2I confess that for a stretch of time, I convinced myself that having The Economist lying around would make me smarter, even if I never picked it up. Just by being in the same room, I’d somehow learn by osmosis about the news in each issue. Also, I liked having people think of me as the kind of person who read The Economist. But the osmosis thing didn’t happen, and I finally stopped my subscription when I realized I’d probably never read it on a regular basis.

I remembered my failed theory when I saw all of the stories about Thomas Piketty and his book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” Less than a month ago, I suspect most of you didn’t know Mr. Piketty existed. Now, he and his book are everywhereA good number of people will push through and read all 698 pages. Given its size and subject matter, however, Mr. Piketty’s book seems destined to land on many never-read piles. It raises the question: Why are so many people buying it in the first place?

Read the rest of the article on The New York Times.