Jerry Davis is a Genius

… but not perhaps (or not only) for the reasons you might think. I’m currently reading his excellent new book, Managed by the Markets: How Finance Re-Shaped America. The book is something of a synthesis that tries to tell the story of the rise of finance in the past few decades and what Jerry calls “the portfolio society”. That is, a society “in which the investment idiom becomes the dominant way of understanding the individual’s place in society.” (p. 6) The book is fun, and well-written and seems to be aimed at a much wider audience than, say, readers of ASQ, but without sacrificing much depth. I predict it will do very well, and recommend it.

But none of this explains how Jerry is a genius. Rather, this quote from the acknowledgments does:

“All remaining errors are my own. In fact, for the more pedantic readers, I have purposely inserted a small handful of minor factual, grammatical, and spelling errors – its the least I could do to keep their interest up.” (p. xv)

With this one deft move, Jerry has now forced me (i.e. a pedantic reader) to look ever harder for small errors and be upset if I don’t find any. I don’t know if Jerry seriously introduced intentional typos – apart, perhaps, from the use of “its” in the above quote? – but now I have to assume he did. And every time I find one, rather than being upset at the general decline of editing skills in the world, I will now feel the slight tinge of conspiratorial victory. Well played, Davis. Well played.



  1. Ending on a preposition was also ingenious, as a means to ferret out the especially fastidious pedants. But how far can one push the boundaries of “minor factual errors”?

  2. “Sock puppet?”