Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In this age of e-mail, do academics receive interesting snail mail?

I showed up to work today and actually received two interesting letters. One was from Robert Axelrod and the other was from Ken Arrow. Professor Axelrod is a University Professor at the University of Michigan. I have never met him. I am a recipient of a mass mailing inviting me to China. Here are some excerpts,

"I am honored to invite you to participate in an international professional and cultural program. People to People Ambassador Programs is develping a delegation of professionals speacializing in political science to meet in China in May 2007. ... The estimated cost per delegate or guest is $4,995 U.S dollars"

Well I have 2 things to say to Dr. Axelrod. I am not a political scientist and I'm not going.

Ken Arrow's letter meant more to me. I had the opportunity to get to know Ken when I was a Visiting Professor at Stanford economics a couple of years ago. I sent Ken a copy of my "Green Cities" book and he was kind enough to send me a note. Not all recipients of my book have been so kind!

I hope Ken won't mind if I quote his letter. He wrote: "Thanks for the copy of your new book: Green Cities: Urban Growth and the Environment. It looks to be a very thorough study of the environmental implications of cities. I shall look forward to using it."

Several other economists have sent me kind notes about my book and this has boosted my confidence.

Dora and I are now writing a book about social capital. If you expect to receive a free copy of that book, I'd like to hear some praise for Green Cities! How's that for bundling!?