Gordon died yesterday. We were colleagues at the Public Choice Center at VPI and I have affectionate memories of him. Some bits and pieces ... .
Gordon gave the impression that he read every book that was published. As best I could tell, he was bluffing about half the time.
Like George Stigler, he was sharp tongued but not, so far as I could tell, in the least malicious. The best advice he gave me was that the one part of the submission cycle you can control is the time your article spends on your desk.
My wife remembers meeting him when she was my girlfriend. He started the conversation by asking why she was wearing a backpack. Her interpretation was that the only form of conversation he knew was argument, he only knew two things about her—that she was my girlfriend and that she was wearing a backpack—so he flipped a mental coin and chose the backpack. He never made the common mistake of thinking that an argument was a quarrel.
One chapter of the recent third edition of my first book is based on something I published when I saw an opportunity to argue, in print, that something Gordon had written was both obvious and wrong. Anyone who knew him will understand that it was a temptation I could not resist.
The last time I saw him was an event at George Mason a good many years ago. I told him that I had heard he was publishing a book of his rejected articles. He smiled and nodded. So I asked when the first volume was coming out.
I will miss him.