Noam Scheiber has a written a profile of Larry Summers (which has been discussed quite a bit in blogs). It is interesting throughout tracking Summers’ career from a top academic economist to a top economic policymaker.
Summers was always slated to become a top economist as both his parents were economists and Ken Arrow and Paul Samuelson are his uncles. However, his take on why he became an economist:
During his senior year of college, Summers was considering graduate school in both theoretical physics and economics. For weeks, he anguished over whether to pursue his passion (physics) or the family business (in addition to his economist parents, Summers has two uncles–Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow–who won Nobel prizes in the field). After he finally decided on the latter, he explained his thinking to Rollins: “What does a bad theoretical physicist do for a living? He walks into an office, sits at a desk, and stares at a plain white sheet of paper.” “But,” Summers added, “there’s a lot of work in the world for a bad economist.”
Fantastic :-) Great Read.