The New York Times Book Review - Justin Fox
Compared with more easily classifiable economists of his generation like Milton Friedman and Paul Samuelson, [Hirschman's] name just doesn't come up that often. Then again, neither of those guys has yet been the subject of a doorstop of a biography like Worldly Philosopher, the hugely engaging 740-page epic that Jeremy Adelman has just delivered. The battle for posterity is far from over, and Hirschman has a formidable ally in Adelman, a Princeton historian who knows how to construct a narrative.
New York Review of Books - Cass Sunstein
[An] astonishing and moving biography. . . . Hirschman's work is more than interesting enough to justify a book (or two, or ten), but Adelman's achievement is to demonstrate, in novelistic detail, that he also lived an astounding life, full of narrow paths and ridiculously improbable twists and turns.
Wall Street Journal - Roger Lowenstein
[A] massive, erudite biography.
Marginal Revolution - Tyler Cowen
This is the book I have looked forward to most all year and so far it does not disappoint.
American Prospect - Robert Kuttner
Worldly Philosopher will be the definitive work on Hirschman for some time. . . . If you liked Edmund de Waal's The Hare with Amber Eyes, you will find Adelman's story of Hirschman's early life rivetinga book-club quality read. . . . Worldly Philosopher is a prodigious piece of research, lovingly told and immensely worthwhile for the new light it sheds on the odyssey of a writer whose small ideas add up to major insights.
Mint - Prashanth Perumal
Adelman's biography does a thorough job in shedding light not just on the academic and intellectual prowess of the great thinker, but also in informing the reader about the man whose life away from the intellectual world exhibited the same milieu of refreshing variety.
From the Publisher
"[A] magnificent biography."Lourdes Sola, European Review of International Studies
"Adelman has written an outstanding book whose depth, breadth, and insight mirrors Hirschman's own."Daniel Bessner, Chicago Journals
Albert O. Hirschman (1915–2012) was an influential economist and a prolific writer. Adelman's (Spanish civilization & culture; director, Council for Int'l. Teaching & Research, Princeton Univ.; coauthor, Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the World) engrossing biography illustrates how Hirschman's global background, natural linguistic ability, education, and worldly experiences shaped his thoughts and enabled his thinking "outside the box" to arrive at original and often provocative ideas. Hirschman believed in the idea of life's many possibilities, such that positive economic change often emerged from "unbalanced growth" or disequilibria. His ideas attracted attention from governments, international institutions, and academia worldwide and resulted in opportunities for him to advise top officials, for example, policymakers at the World Bank. Hirschman held many academic appointments, including one at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University until his retirement. His personal life, including his escape from Nazi Germany in 1933 and the obstacles he faced because of McCarthyism, about which Adelman learned from examining newly released secret government files, are especially riveting. Photos of Hirschman and his family and friends are carefully integrated into the text. VERDICT Hirschman's story will appeal to many general readers, but especially to economists.—Caroline Geck, Camden St. Sch. Lib., Newark, NJ