This Just In: Niall Ferguson Uses 'All Happy Families Are Alike' Lead In New Republic

I’m actually shocked that Niall Ferguson, a Harvard professor, used Tolstoy’s opening line from Anna Karenina, “All happy families are alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” as the lead of his review of a book about business dynasties in my latest New Republic. It’s shocking that Ferguson would display such laziness in a leading magazine, shocking that he seems to regard the use of the thought as original—it provides his tagline, too, of course—and shocking that the New Republic let him get away with it.

I suppose I ought to have known. I’m still sore at Ferguson over the lazy lecture he gave at Yivo a few weeks back, on a hot topic, Jews & Money, which turned out to be all cliches and chestnuts and threadbare Scottish homespun.