Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist

Overview

In Discover Your Inner Economist, one of America's most respected economists presents a quirky, incisive romp through everyday life that reveals how you can turn economic reasoning to your advantage-at home, at work, even on vacation. Tyler Cowen explains how understanding the incentives that work best with each individual is the key to successful and satisfactory daily interactions-from getting the kids to do the dishes to having a productive business meeting, attracting a mate to finding a good guide in a ...

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Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist

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Overview

In Discover Your Inner Economist, one of America's most respected economists presents a quirky, incisive romp through everyday life that reveals how you can turn economic reasoning to your advantage-at home, at work, even on vacation. Tyler Cowen explains how understanding the incentives that work best with each individual is the key to successful and satisfactory daily interactions-from getting the kids to do the dishes to having a productive business meeting, attracting a mate to finding a good guide in a foreign country. Discovering your inner economist, Cowen suggests, can lead to a happier, more satisfying life. What better carrot could you ask for?

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Editorial Reviews

Stephen J. Dubner
Fast, furious, and fun, with great examples of how to apply economic thinking to nontraditional subjects. (Stephen J. Dubner, coauthor of Freakonomics)
Washington Post
Engaging [and] useful.
James Surowiecki
[An] economist who's a wonderfully entertaining writer but also a deeply humane thinker...will...show you how thinking better can actually help you live better. (James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds)
Publishers Weekly

Perhaps mindful that the procession of Freakonomics-inspired pop-economics books is becoming a blur, blogger Cowen aims to not "hit the reader over the head with economic principles." Indeed, in his chatty disquisitions, economics often recedes into near invisibility. Few readers will hold it against this charming guide on how "to get more of the good stuff in life." An engaging narrator, Cowen offers idiosyncratic strategies for appreciating museum art, for building "family trust and cooperation," for writing a personal ad, for reading "classic novels that seem boring on first inspection," for surviving torture, for properly practicing self-deception and for most effectively giving to beggars in Calcutta. In the book's most passionate and practical chapter, on food, Cowen explains how, with planning and tactics, we can "eat much better meals" at home and in restaurants, here and abroad. Throughout the book, the author's advice is less counterintuitive than simply surprising (he argues that "the committed foodie should look to regions where some people are very rich and others are very poor"). Even if you don't agree with all of Cowen's cheerfully offered opinions, it's a pleasure to accompany him through his various interests and obsessions. At the least, you'll pick up some useful tips for what to order at upscale restaurants. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Cowen, an economist and monthly columnist for the New York Times,attempts to follow the lead of Steven Levitt's superb Freakonomicsand bring economic principles to everyday life-or so the book's promotional material claims. Unfortunately, Cowen deviates quite a bit from economics. While he makes some interesting observations, he spends far too much time preaching and making quips. Among Cowen's better insights is that the purchase of kidnapping insurance in Latin America has normalized the kidnapping trade because kidnappers and the insurance companies have developed mutual trust and a solid working relationship. The book's problem is that there are few such nuggets. Instead, Cowen goes overboard in giving advice, drawn from his own experiences, on diverse subjects such as how to order food in a restaurant, please a spouse, and dress for success. Do readers really want restaurant and personal advice from an economist? Cowen fails to deliver what the book advertises. A marginal purchase only for larger public libraries.
—Lawrence R. Maxted

From the Publisher
"Charming, smart and very, very creative. And it will change your life in the best way: in small steps." —-Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525950257
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/2/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author


Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

David Drummond has made his living as an actor for over twenty-five years, and he received an AudioFile Earphones Award for his first audiobook, Love 'Em or Lose 'Em.

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Table of Contents


I Want a Banana; I Buy One     1
How to Control the World, the Basics     11
How to Control the World, Knowing When to Stop     31
Possess All the Great Art Ever Made     47
Look Good at Home, on a Date, or While Being Tortured     79
The Dangerous and Necessary Art of Self-Deception     113
Eat Well, Bananas Aside     139
Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins (or Not)     163
How to Save the World-More Christmas Presents Won't Work     185
Your Inner Economist and the Future of Civilization     219
References     223
Acknowledgments     235
Index     237
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