Sunday, November 11, 2007

Brief procrastinating break-time...

Okay, so I'm working on my third paper for my Thursday night class. I'm comparing, contrasting, and critiquing Muhamad Yunus' Banker to the Poor, Amartya Sen's Development as Freedom, and C.K. Prahalad's The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.

I've been slogging through Sen's book for a good week or two, and I do mean slogging. The guy is very intelligent and he makes some really good points, but I have two issues with his book that have become very distracting.

The first is his incessant habit of mentioning things he's already mentioned. Following are a few quotes from pages 217-218:

"...which I have already articulated in earlier chapters..."
"I have presented these issues already in the book..."
"...discussed in chapter 8."
"As was noted..."
"...cited earlier."
"...referred to earlier..."

All in two pages! He spends so much time going over things he's already gone over it's a wonder there is much content in the book. Okay, I'm being a bit cynical, but he did do this 13 times just in this one chapter. It's starting to wear on me.

Second, he has a tendency to use interjections. A lot. Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of interjections - but within reason. Sen will write a sentence, for example, that makes immense use (such as this one), of interjections in commas, interjections in parentheses - not to mention interjections in dashes - as well as italicized words and "phrases" in quotes - but not because he's quoting someone (he's just making a comment - I guess - about the particular words in quotes (and yes, he'll even have an interjection within an interjection!)).

Sometimes I have no idea what he has said by the time I get to the end of a sentence. Perhaps I'm a moron. Who knows. But he did say in the beginning that he wanted this book to be more accessible and understandable to non-economists. That's why he put his other interjections, in the form of notes, at the end of the book. All 53 pages of them.

I've heard Prahalad is much more readable. Here's hoping.

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