last weekend, Gary Becker, Nobel prize-winning economist and University of Chicago professor died. he was a giant in the field of economics. but more importantly, he applied the study of economics to the real world; you could say he was the forbearer of the ideas behind the award-winning book Freakonomics by Steven Levitt.
i had tweeted and facebooked the selfie i had taken at an awards dinner i had with him a few years ago, but to little response. i was a bit shocked actually with the timid response; in a world where selfies with celebrities is the norm, here's a guy that literally changed the world and most people didn't recognize him?
but then entrepreneur Richard Howard saw my tweet and emailed me back with a whole litany of articles at how impressed he was with Gary. and then i realized that simply most people didn't realize how much impact Gary had in the world.
so here's my top 3 reasons why Gary Becker is important and the original freak:
i end with a story not about his intellectual prowess, but Gary's humanism. cue Steven Levitt:
Years ago, my son Andrew died unexpectedly in the middle of the school term. I cancelled my classes for a few weeks. Only when I returned did I discover that Gary had stepped in, without anyone asking him to, and had taught the classes in my absence. The only problem was that my students were so disappointed when I returned!