Daniel Akst

Dan Akst is a journalist, essayist and novelist who wrote three books. His novel, The Webster Chronicle, is based on the lives of Cotton and Increase Mather. More

Dan Akst is a journalist, novelist and essayist whose work has appeared frequently in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Wilson Quarterly, and many other publications.
  • Guilty of Saving Lives

    Law enforcement authorities have arrested an alleged dealer in forbidden commodities, and the condemnations are flying thick and fast. What is the…

  • In the Heights

    A new study tells you what you already suspected, particularly if you are short. ...taller people live better lives, at least on average.…

  • Out of the Office!

    Jake Weisberg has a good piece in Slate on the way our health care system reflects the best and worst of our national character--and how to fix it…

  • It Wasn't Just Us

    An overlooked aspect of the housing bubble that recently popped was its global nature. Home prices soared in Ireland, Spain, Sweden, France,…

  • Speculation

    I'm always skeptical when people who are unhappy about the price of something or other blame "speculators." But the latest issue of Barron's (rarely…

  • School as Scandal

    Thanks to the Economist, I discovered an interesting report from McKinsey & Co. on the costs of our inadequate educational system. A key…

  • Why we need holidays on ice

    The NY Times reports that New York's city council has approved the addition of Muslim holidays to the city's school calendar. The NYC schools have…

  • Bernie Madoff and Augustus Melmotte

    In The Way We Live Now, Trollope gives us a crooked financier by the name of Augustus Melmotte who is for awhile the toast of London--until his…

  • Everything is too complex to exist

    There's a thoughtful piece in the Boston Globe arguing that some systems, like some businesses, are too complex to be allowed to fail--and therefore…

  • Big bidness again

    In an earlier post that was no doubt cherished by discriminating followers of this blog, I made the point that for various reasons bigness is here to…

  • What Does It Take to Bomb a Building?

    Identification. Not with Al Qaeda or the Unabomber. All it takes is a means of identification, like a driver's license. I have been riding Amtrak…

  • Speak of the devil

    My last post on the labor movement (surely there is a better term for something so hellbent on stasis) was so provocative that a comment poured in,…

  • Be somewhat afraid

    Leon Wieseltier has a wonderful little meditation on fear and its uses that packs many insights into very few words. Fear is traditionally feared as…

  • Portents

    I see that mortgage rates are up 79 basis points (more than 3/4 of a point) in just a couple of weeks, imperiling a mess of refinancings. At the same…

  • The death of newspapers (why we should care edition)

    Read it and weep, as the saying goes.

  • The death of newspapers (contd)

    From the Boston Globe:One stock analyst, Craig Huber of Barclays Capital, issued a report this week suggesting Times Co. shares could fall to $1 each…

  • Toward a more perfect union

    I have no idea what's going to happen at the Boston Globe now that the Newspaper Guild has rejected givebacks demanded by New York Times Co., which…

  • Stock up now!

    The New York Times reports on a great new designer who's trying to get man wearing "classics with a twist." The twist evidently is that you have to…

  • Up or Down?

    Greater minds than mine (and I realize this doesn't narrow it down much) are locked in a fierce debate: will prices go up or down? That is, should we…

  • Against Pastel Neckties

    First Obama, now Bill Clinton on the cover of the NYT  Magazine. How did this whole faux-aristocrat thing get started? Is it only Democrats? And why…

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

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