Is is okay for a writer to make money for the words he or she writes if he or she speaks them rather than publishes them in book form? Wake me up when Jack Shafer gets finished writing this column about whether or not it’s okay for New Yorker Magazine writers Malcolm Gladwell and James Surowiecki to receive speaking fees from corporations and trade associations. Shafer meanders around-and-around and I think, by the end, says one should judge a writer by the character of the words on the page and not by the color of his greenbacks. How can someone use so many words to say so little and not ever get around to this common sense ethically obvious point: Both writers, Gladwell and Surowiecki, are best-selling book authors. (And great ones, in my humble opinion.) Is it unethical for them to get rich from their writing (I’ve purchased and given away enough copies of Gladwell’s Tipping Point to finance an addition to the guy’s house, I’m sure)? I’m assuming Shafer will agree it is okay for a writer to have a book published and then allow a company to buy up lots of copies and hand them to all of its employees. If that is ethical, then why would it be even worth writing a column to question the ethics of an author being paid to make a speech about the topic of his or her book — basically, to speak the words from his or her book? I’m sorry. I don’t understand where there’s an ethical delimma here. Some major envy for Gladwell’s & Surowiecki’s success, perhaps, but an ethical delimma? Not one.