Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What The Music Industry Can Teach Us About Economics and Life
Author: Alan B. Krueger
Reviewed: December 2019
This is the most unusual book review that I’ve ever written, so far. You’ll know why as you read through it.
Let me start off by saying that this book as well as Ticket Masters (see our review of it, here) should be required reading by anyone who wants to be in the music business – especially as a performer of any type. Seriously.
As for Rockonomics, it is the book that I had hoped to eventually write. However, Alan B. Krueger’s finished tome is orders of magnitude higher than anything I would’ve ever written. A James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University, he also served under Presidents Clinton and Obama. According to Research Papers in Economics, he was among the 50 highest ranked economists in the world.
Yeah, I said “was”. The book came out in June. I recently read it and was so stoked by what I was reading that I knew that I HAD to interview Mr. Krueger. I had questions all laid out in my mind and was not going to stop until I secured an interview with him. After reading the book for a couple of days, I got around to looking him up on the internet. That’s when I learned that, tragically and inexplicably (at least, from where I’m sitting), Mr. Krueger decided to take his own life on March 16th of this year – before Rockonomics hit the stores.
Clearly, Mr. Krueger was a brilliant economist. I agreed with his much of his economic and music business views as presented in Rockonomics (free market-based thoughts backed by exhaustive study). I sensed from his writings that he loved music – especially classic rock – and that he had compassion for those who were less fortunate than he was – especially the unemployed.
Dr. Krueger illuminates the music business with the lights of data, understand, and common sense. When you finish the book, you will have an understanding and an appreciation of both the business and those who bring the world joy with their musical talents. I can assure you that you will glean many golden nuggets of knowledge about the music business (as well as economics) – each one alone being worth the price of the book.
When I learned that he had committed suicide, I couldn’t touch Rockonomics again to finish the few pages I had left for several days. His passing and its circumstances weighed heavy on my mind as it brought into sharper focus the more meaningful things of life.
I don’t know why he made this decision or the circumstances surrounding it. I do know that Dr. Krueger left behind a wife and two children who are going through the horrendous stages of grief in their own way. My heart goes out to the three of them and I pray that God comforts them in ways that only He can.
I encourage you that, if you have even the slightest interest in the business and economics, please buy this book. It really does present the facts in an easy-to-read-and-understand manner and your purchase will help Dr. Krueger’s family.
R.I.P, Dr. Krueger.