We have never met, but I'd like use the comments section of your blog to thank you for writing "Other things equal: Aunt Deirdre's letter to a graduate studentâ€. It changed my life. I had just completed a 3 paper-theorem-proof standard issue thesis. By chance, I read your article addressed to the hapless, though insightful, grad student who wrote to you asking for advice in their first year. I decided to go to the US (I'm Irish), and do another Ph.D at the New School for Social Research on foot of your advice to him/her/me. The Ph.D is nearly finished after two years of work. I'm looking at Isaac Newton's role as Master of the Mint, and as I chose my topic, I did so with your words in my mind:
"Ask what matters to you. Do it. Find out something about the world. Really find out. Really explain it, with reference to the great conversation of economics since 1776.â€
Well, I guess I went a little before 1776, but anyway, thanks for the advice, and to borrow the previous comment-leaver's phrase, â€˜thanks for existing'.
All the best,