A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 12, 2019
“Academia is like a pie-eating contest where the reward is more pie”

“Making partner (in a law firm) is like a pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie” is a popular law saying that might date to the 1970s. “As one editor aptly put it, ‘Life at the Digest is a pie-eating contest in which the prize is more pie to eat’” was printed in the book The Condensed World of the Reader’s Digest (1977) by Samuel Agnew Schreiner. “Years ago a colleague of mine, Dan O’Keefe, described life at the Reader’s Digest, where we both worked, as ‘a pie eating contest in which the prize is more pie to eat.’ The same might be said of Princeton” was printed in the book A Place Called Princeton (1984), also by Samuel Agnew Schreiner.

Authorship of the “academia” saying is unknown. “To paraphrase what some lawyer said about law partnerships, ‘Academia is like a pie-eating contest in which the prize is more pie’” was posted in the newsgroup \sci.chem on July 30, 1999. “Academia is like a pie-eating contest in which the prize is more pie” was printed in the newsgroup alt.uk.a-levels on August 5, 1999.

“The tenure track: A pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie” was posted on Twitter by Shit Academics Say on July 30, 2014. “Academic life is less like a box of chocolates and more like a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie” was posted on Twitter by Shit Academics Say on December 9, 2014.

“Academia is like a pie-eating contest where the reward is more pie” was printed in The Chronicle of Higher Education on April 13, 2018.


Google Books
The Condensed World of the Reader’s Digest
By Samuel Agnew Schreiner
New York, NY: Stein and Day
1977
Pg. 51:
As one editor aptly put it, “Life at the Digest is a pie-eating contest in which the prize is more pie to eat.” (And digest, I might add.)

Google Books
A Place Called Princeton
By Samuel Agnew Schreiner
New York, NY: Arbor House
1984
Pg. 94:
Years ago a colleague of mine, Dan O’Keefe, described life at the Reader’s Digest, where we both worked, as “a pie eating contest in which the prize is more pie to eat.” The same might be said of Princeton.

\Google Groups: sci.chem
Grad School Decisions
William Penrose
7/30/99
(...)
To paraphrase what some lawyer said about law partnerships, “Academia is like a pie-eating contest in which the prize is more pie.”

Google Groups: alt.uk.a-levels
Best Quote of the Millennium
Robert Martin
8/5/99
I thought this seemed relevant
“Academia is like a pie-eating contest in which the prize is more pie.”

Google Groups: misc.writing
“writing” for a living
Dangerous Bill
5/28/01
(...)
Or, as someone said, academia is a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie.

Bill Penrose

Twitter
keet’s tweets
@kaylee_flanders
Applying to college is like a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie
10:07 PM - 3 Feb 2014 from Irvine, CA

Twitter
Shit Academics Say
@AcademicsSay
The tenure track: A pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie.
10:52 AM - 30 Jul 2014

Twitter
kacy
@kacy_walz
“A PhD program is like a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie” #fact #gradlife
7:20 PM - 4 Dec 2014

Twitter
Shit Academics Say
@AcademicsSay
Academic life is less like a box of chocolates and more like a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie.
3:32 PM - 9 Dec 2014

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Feeling Anxious? You’re Not the Only One
By Adam Szetela APRIL 13, 2018
(...)
My adjunct colleagues are trying to publish themselves into a tenure-track position, while the tenure-track faculty members know that if they do not publish their way to tenure, they are done. Then there is the tenured faculty. They set the pace for everyone else by keeping their foot on the gas. Some of these people are in their 70s, with bags under their eyes, and CVs as long as Jack Kerouac’s scroll of On the Road. Yet, they never stop. As one of my colleagues once told me, “Academia is like a pie-eating contest where the reward is more pie.”

Twitter
Thorsten Feichtner
@ThFeichtner
From the Nature Briefing Newsletter:
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Academia is like a pie-eating contest where the reward is more pie.”
Sociologist Adam Szetela quotes an anonymous colleague while pondering workaholism in academia. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
12:52 PM - 21 Aug 2018

Twitter
ginger
@gingerest
one of my colleagues observed, “Academia is like a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie.” painfully true.
7:22 PM - 7 Mar 2019

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Tuesday, March 12, 2019 • Permalink