Dan Okrent (photo) was an editor at Time and Life magazines. He wrote a column for Esquire and has authored several well-received books, including most recently, LAST CALL: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. Depending on the social circle, Okrent is best known either as the person The New York Times turned to in 2003, post Jayson Blair, when seeking its first public editor or founder of Rotisserie baseball, the premier fantasy sports game.
And, as of a day or two ago, after posting this review at CNNMoney.com, he's one of my favorite writers.
I appreciate that Okrent describes BROKE as "fascinating," of course. And I love this line as well: "Rivlin opens up, dissects, and eviscerates the gigantic industry of vulture finance."
But what impresses me most is how he captured the flavor of the book in a pithy 450 words.
I also appreciated this short-but-sweet review by David Lidsky over at Fast Company. "Gary Rivlin rivets readers with the characters who cooked up what he calls 'Poverty Inc.' -- and the activists who've fought them."
Also this line by Lidsky: "While most of the focus on financial innovation gone awry has been on Wall Street wheeler-dealers, the multibillion-dollar boom in "alternative financing" for the working poor is more fascinating."
I should say that I've never met Dan Okrent (we overlapped at the Times but, by design, the public editor worked outside the paper's normal editorial structure) nor David Lidsky.
Two other early reviews as well. One was a starred review appearing in Booklist and written by Vanessa Bush ("a powerful analysis, detailing how the financial sector has come to its current state of crisis and including personal stories...of working Americans who have been exploited along the way"). The other was posted at a site called Basil & Spice. I found this review interesting to read in no small part because I love the bio of its author, Loyd Eskildson: a former cross-country truck driver who has also worked as a computer programmer, an economics teacher, and a health care administrator.