Saturday, March 14, 2009

Quote of the Day (Henry Petroski, on the Baseball Card-Wall Street Connection)

“Baseball card collecting teaches its participants all the elements of successful business practice….On the backs of his baseball cards a boy’s fascination with numbers begins, preparing him for the Dow Jones industrial average, the Consumer Price Index, and Moody’s credit ratings. Besides the heights and weights and birthdates, there are the columns of performance figures that contain as much mathematics and as many subtleties of interpretation as an adult will encounter in reading the market reports.”—Henry Petroski, “Bullish on Baseball Cards,” in Beyond Engineering: Essays and Other Attempts to Figure Without Equations (1986)

Now just wait one doggone minute….You’re not trying to tell me that we’re going to blame Alan Greenspan, Henry Paulson, and Ben Bernanke on little kids’ love for the great American pastime, are you? Perish the thought!

On second thought….Isn’t relying on batting averages and home-run totals that may have been inflated by steroids a bit like poring over stock-market tables for firms who, like Bernie Madoff, might have been cooking the books?

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