The full MiB interview with Professor Siegel is posted, and I had to share some background on it with readers.
It was an unusual podcast recording, to say the least.
Let me say right off I have known of the professor on a professional basis for a long time. Over the years, I have often been on the opposite side of debates with him – mostly on CNBC, often throughout the 2000s, but primarily in the midst of the financial crisis and its immediate aftermath.
I had modest expectations as to this podcast, and he blew them away.
Suffice it to say that the short-form kind of idiot yelling contest so often found on television is not the ideal format for the good professor. However, I will tell you that he was made for long form – be it books, classroom lectures, or deep dive podcasts.
Of all of the interviews I have done for Masters in Business, this was one of the few MiBs where I wished there was a video recording during the session.
After the interview, I texted Mike (our head of research): DUDE, FUCKING AWESOME !
The audio actually does not do it justice. The video would have been hilarious; When I listened to the podcast myself, it was missing the visuals of his manic energy.
It is hard to describe just how enthusiastic and animated he is. Most of these interviews are two people at a desk (radio console actually) and having a conversation. Not this one. He was all over the place, spinning around in his chair, jumping up and down. If you listen carefully, especially during the podcast portion, you can hear his voice fade in and out. (That’s his chair doing a 360). Listen for the THWACK when he animatedly gestured, and whacked the microphone – its on this long arm attached to a pivot in the center of the console, which as the prof gestured he sent it careening on a huge arc around the console – I grabbed it and gracefully flung back to in front of him.
See if you can tell when he jumped up out of his seat.
My role in these things is to be more than just a bland reader of questions – its to engage the guest, probe, follow up, direct the conversation. I try to engage the guest, ask questions, speak – but not speak too much, and NEVER speak over them.
I failed miserably this time.
Professor Siegel was so entertainingly out of hand, it was all I could do to keep things moving along, as I desperately tried to reel him in.
Macro economics is a dry, boring subject. Yet Siegel is is consistently voted the most liked professor at Wharton — I can picture his class, with him so animated, making even tedious stuff come alive.
When I listened to the podcast, I was almost disappointed it was missing that Marx Brothers mayhem I experienced during our taping. But the content itself was really good, and as you listen, see if you can hear the various things going on.
It was a lot of fun to record.