An economics professor at George Mason University by day, along with being named a Top 100 Global Thinker in 2011 by Foreign Policy magazine and a popular, unofficial dining critic in the Metro-D.C. area through his blog Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Dining Guide, Tyler Cowen is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to discussing food trends, society, culture and economic practices. Here, he shares with us what got him to where he is today.
What is the one piece of advice you wish you had heard when you were starting your career?
Buy bitcoin the first time you hear about it. Buy lots. Sell it in late 2017. Have the right tax person to deal with this.
What has been your greatest achievement so far? / Your greatest regret?
My greatest career, non-personal achievement, if you would call it that, is having visited so many of the world’s countries and having tried to learn something in each one. My greatest regret is that there are many significant locales I have yet to see. I consider travel to be the most fundamental form of learning.
When did you feel you had “made it”?
Jan. 21, 1962 (his birthday). That was a turning point of sorts for me.
How do you define success?
Learning something new all the time, and staying healthy. Getting paid. Interacting with smart people. Having the chance to pass something along to others.
What job or position have you previously had that helped you get to where you are today?
I taught at UC Irvine before coming to GMU and learned an immense amount from my colleagues there and also from living in California. I’ve also learned a great deal from having lived in Germany, New Zealand and Mexico.
What do you do after a disappointment?
Bid higher next time.
Give us an idea of your work/life balance philosophy.
Do I even try to do balance? For me they are more or less the same. I know that makes me difficult. But I’ve ended up writing about what were once hobbies, and using so-called “leisure” time to prepare for research, writing, speaking and so on. My social life is pretty closely tied to my work life.
What is the one thing you do for yourself every day, or at least once a week?
I love dark chocolate and Twitter. And classical music. All of those get done more than once a week. The chocolate can take the form of either bars or ice cream.
What’s one thing you still want to do with your life?
Prolong it; it has been pretty good so far. Yet without curtailing the chocolate consumption. We’ll see how that goes.
Any advice for those who are going into your field?
Listen also to the advice of people who are not in your field. A lot of budding academics listen too much to their advisor and don’t receive enough feedback and mentoring from a broader set of sources.