"I used to read them, but it was just too psychologically damaging," Brooks told Yahoo News' Katie Couric during an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Tuesday. "So then I would ask my assistant to read them."
The columnist said he was surprised by readers' reception when he first joined the Times in 2003. He told Couric that he'd "never been hated on a mass scale before" and estimated he received close to 300,000 emails during his first six months on the job.
"The core message was, 'Paul Krugman is great; you suck,'" he said.
Luckily for Brooks -- who said he also abstains from Twitter because he doesn't "have a lot of ideas" to waste on the social media platform -- the negativity from some of his readers tends to remain safely within the confines of the Internet.
"I think in my whole life I've had two people come up and be nasty to me," he told Couric. "Once I was at the Museum of Modern Art and this astoundingly good-looking woman came up to me and said, 'I hate you.'"