PJ O’Rourke’s Eat the Rich is a fantastic example of academic writing. My sister needed it for her college-level macroeconomics class, and I picked it up for fun. Eat the Rich, if you’ll pardon the pun, is delectable to read. Not only that, it’s lots of fun to read. “Academic reading” and “fun” don’t usually come together in a sentence unless separated by “not”. But it reads like a dictation of a comedy routine/[Activity] for Dummies book.
“I had one fundamental question about economics: Why do some places prosper and thrive while others just suck? It’s not a matter of brains. No part of the earth (with the possible exception of Brentwood) is dumber than Beverly Hills, and the residents are wading in gravy. In Russia, meanwhile, where chess is a spectator sport, they’re boiling stones for soup. Nor can education be the reason. Fourth graders in the American school system know what a condom is but aren’t sure about 9 x 7. Natural resources aren’t the answer. Africa has diamonds, gold, uranium, you name it. Scandinavia has little and is frozen besides. Maybe culture is the key, but wealthy regions such as the local mall are famous for lacking it.”
- Chapter 1 Love, Death, and Money