Monday, January 08, 2007

Quite Frankly

Favorite thing in the Times today might be "For Gravitas or Levity, Try a Robert Frank Book":

Robert Frank, a reporter who covers private wealth for The Wall Street Journal, and Robert H. Frank, an economist and professor at Cornell University...have both written books dealing with the culture of wealth in the United States. Mr. Frank’s “Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich,” will be published by Random House’s Crown imprint in June, while Professor Frank’s “Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class,” will be published by the University of California Press in July.


The writers...rely on small distinctions to separate their public identities. “I use my middle initial, so this helps,” said Professor Frank, who has some experience sharing his name. (His literary agent also represents the photographer named, yes, Robert Frank.)

The journalist Mr. Frank, whose longtime byline is “Robert Frank” and whose middle initial is L., had considered using that initial with “Richistan” (early copies of the book’s jacket have it). But he has now decided to publish the book without the initial, he said Friday. Both men also said that their books, while superficially related, were very different in tone and purpose. Mr. Frank described “Richistan” as a “colorful and fun” collection of stories about the lives and lifestyles of wealthy Americans.

I like how in this last bit it's not entirely clear which Mr. Frank is talking about Richistan, though one imagines its Robert L. Frank. (Also, the other Robert Frank is dubbed "Professor Frank," throughout.)

An initial layer of confusion: Upon first glance at all this frankness and richness, I thought the piece was going to have something to do with Frank Rich...

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