I am a fan of the Unemployed Philosophers Guild. Do you know it?
Having a sense of humor is crucial, and the Unemployed Philosophers Guild does. So, too, does it have a way of linking their humor, their intellectual verve and financial acumen. (The latter hinted at by the fact that their url is actually www.philosophersguild.com and thus the UN is missing.)
In their case, they bring these various features together by selling such things as Nietzsche's Will to Power Bar, Schrodinger's Cat, and a Virginia Woolf finger puppet (not to mention many more). Each one makes you smile -- if you are in the know.
Balancing the humor, the intellectual verve and the financial acumen is part of it. But they do one more thing: they fund projects that are oriented toward social justice. (well, they do two more things. They also have this blog.)
What does all this have to do with Shimer? Several things.
First: I am so much a fan, that I sometimes think of our Ph.D. Philosopher who is an internet marketer as the evidence that Shimer is, in fact, the employed philosophers guild. I also think the blend of intellectual, financial, humor and more is not that different from what we strive for when we are at our best. We must not take ourselves too seriously, but we are serious. We know that employment is not everything though it is definitely important to us all. We care about being financially stable and we are enchanted by similar authors and artists as the Unemployed Philosophers are. We are, in fact, a likely market for each other, I often say, only half-jokingly.
Second: above I used the phrase "if you're in the know." One way to get "in the know" regarding the products of the Unemployed Philosophers Guild is to get a "great books" education that exposes you to a vast array of the figures that the guild references. And, of course, it does more than "expose" you -- it allows you or requires you to think -- and for that, I think you definitely need a sense of humor. So does April Fool's Day. But there is not a single statement in this blog entry that is false. Trust me.
Check them out. How many of them do you know? Are they acquaintances or friends? Or?