The first academic book I got when I started at McGill was “Intermediate Microeconomics: A modern approach” by Hal Varian. It got me hooked on the subject. He is now both “Chief economist” at Google, and professor at Berkeley; and still does brilliant research. (Accenture ranks him as one of the top ten “business intellectuals” https://newsroom.accenture.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=3898 )

He has written an essay for young aspiring academics (Phd students), on how to build a model, or actually, how to think about research. Where to get inspiration (everywhere, apart from journal articles, his favorite is the NYT) how to evaluate it (many ideas are not that good), how to build a model, (make it simple), how to generalize it (makes it interesting), search the literature (and if someone has done it before, learn from how they did it) how to test it (share it with everyone, until they are bored, and yes, pity your husband or wife), give seminars (and take notes of all objections), write and structure your paper (very few will read it, make it as easy, engaging and interesting as possible!), and stop in time!

 

It is at times funny, and a very easy to read documents, with great advice from a brilliant mind. Highy recommend reading it!

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http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~hal/Papers/how.pdf

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