- Listen to the Gentiles: Read outside your discipline. In his own words, ‘Pay attention to what intelligent people are saying, even if they do not have your customs or speak your analytical language.’
- Question the question: The questions asked in any academic discipline are theory laden. There is no such thing as a bare fact in any subject. Everything is affected by the presuppositions of the discipline, so Krugman quite rightly advocates paying critical attention to those presuppositions.
- Dare to be silly: Don’t be content with the safe and the familiar. Dare to strike out into uncharted territory.
- Simplify, simplify: Keep shaving with Ockham’s razor. Personally, I like A.N. Whitehead’s approach: ‘seek simplicity, but distrust it’. Or, to paraphrase Einstein, theories should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.
20 November 2008
How to win a Nobel Prize
Paul Krugman, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Economics, has some interesting advice on his website for anyone embarking on a piece of research.