[This email refers to Michael Braun's novel exerpt]
What is it about brushes with greatness? Why do we seek out the famous and the powerful? Well, stock tips, for one thing. Just remember, you heard it here first. I attended an investors conference this morning thrown by Credit Suisse First Boston. At one point I listened in on a muted conversation between Paul Krugman and Richard Holbrooke (economist superstar and Bosnia mediator/CSFB exec, respectively). Krugman, who had just given a speech which included a not terribly oblique reference to Johns Hopkins' Steve Hanke (Suharto's currency board advisor and audience member) as a "snakeoil salesman," was telling Holbrooke that the U.S. stock market is extremely vulnerable to sentiment changes following a likely if modest rise in inflation over the next year. Perhaps I shifted feet; something caught their eye and they suddenly noticed the third wheel with its bright orange press badge. I smiled, extended my hand, said "Hel--" and they turned and walked away, scowling. Is it name-dropping if they completely blow you off?