I am a big fan of the January holiday. It’s the only time of the year that I don’t sit down to write a daily post (instead, you get a whole lot of pre-prepared posts – most of which get rushed into the scheduling during the first two weeks of December). But it gives me a chance to see and do things that I don’t normally have time for. And this January, my big plan was to discover the graphic novel.

I’m not entirely sure why.

Actually – that’s a lie. I blame the team at Pop Culture Happy Hour, who completely transformed my internal narrative from:

“Comics are about superheroes that I really don’t care about and why would I read that when I could be reading real books?”


“These are works of art. Real art. And you get non-fiction and indie-fiction and all manner of genre that don’t have anything to do with the Marvel universe or Japanese Manga.”

The other big benefit is that picture books align much better with our internal mental digestion. After all, when we read words, the mental process looks a lot like:

  1. Read words
  2. Try to form mental image of what is going on
  3. Read more words
  4. Assess against mental image of what is going on
  5. Tweak as necessary
  6. Start again if mental image doesn’t hold together
  7. Store in the memory bank

Comic books tend to do this:

  1. Look at image
  2. Read words to understand image
  3. Store in the memory bank

So what happens (I find) is that you’re able to absorb information/ideas/theories with both ease and speed.

Which isn’t really all that useful when you’re reading about Batman. But it’s particularly helpful when someone comes along and writes a non-fiction history of Economics.

Here it is:

Visit the official website
Visit the official website

To be frank, it’s a book that deserves the adjective “monumental”. I often try to condense economic concepts into illustration. And lemme tell you – it’s far easier to write than it is to illustrate (mainly because, when writing, it’s easy to take all kinds of knowledge for granted). And to see it done on this scale is masterful.

And if you’d like some proof, then I think that you should spend 3 minutes this morning going to this page: Economix explains what is going on with Social Security. It’s 16 pages of comic. And here is the first page:

See how quick that was to read? Finish the rest in the next 3 minutes here.
See how quick that was to read? Finish the rest in the next 3 minutes by clicking here.

I’m not saying that I agree with him about Social Security. But I do love getting so much information in a nutshell.

Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and the corporate life in general. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rollingalpha.