Discover Your Inner Economist

Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Den tist

by Tyler Cowen

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 1440631085
  • 9780452289635
  • 9781440631085
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—often when you least expect it to be relevant.

Like no other economist, Tyler Cowen shows how economic notions—such as incentives, signals, and markets—apply far more widely than merely to the decisions of social planners, governments, and big business. What does economic theory say about ordering from a menu? Or attracting the right mate? Or controlling people who talk too much in meetings? Or dealing with your dentist? With a wryly amusing voice, in chapters such as “How to Control the World, The Basics” and “How to Control the World, Knowing When to Stop” Cowen reveals the hidden economic patterns behind everyday situations so you can get more of what you really want.

Readers will also gain less selfish insights into how to be a good partner, neighbor and even citizen of the world. For instance, what is the best way to give to charity? The chapter title “How to Save the World—More Christmas Presents Won’t Help” makes a point that is every bit as personal as it is global.

Incentives are at the core of an economic approach to the world, but they don’t just come in cash. In fact, money can be a disincentive. Cowen shows why, for example, it doesn’t work to pay your kids to do the dishes. Other kinds of incentives—like making sure family members know they will be admired if they respect you—can work. Another non-monetary incentive? Try having everyone stand up in your next meeting if you don’t want anyone to drone on. Deeply felt incentives like pride in one’s work or a passing smile from a loved one, can be the most powerful of all, even while they operate alongside more mundane rewards such as money and free food.

Discover Your Inner Economist is an introduction to the science of economics that shows it to be built on notions that are already within all of us. While the implications of those ideas lead to Cowen’s often counterintuitive advice, their wisdom is presented in ordinary examples taken from home life, work life, and even vacation life… How do you get a good guide in a Moroccan bazaar?


  • Penguin Publishing Group; May 2008
  • ISBN: 9781440631085
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: Discover Your Inner Economist
  • Author: Tyler Cowen
  • Imprint: Plume
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 1440631085
  • 9780452289635
  • 9781440631085

In The Press

“[Cowen’s] eclectic tastes and sophistication shine through as he grapples with the subjectivist foundations of economics.”—Anthony J. Evans, City A.M.
 
“Provides the reader with insight on how to overcome the problem of motivation and as well as how to make more effective choices. In this respect, Cowen has written what might be regarded as an economics self-help book… This book is not about how to do what Cowen does in a literal sense; instead, it is about how to apply one of the main principles of political economy to achieve a richer, more fulfilling life.”—The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies
 
“Cowen's brilliant opus on applying economic principles to everyday life… There are so many areas in which one's life could be made infinitely better by the application of basic economic principles.”—Megan McArdle, Atlantic Online


About The Author

Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He is a prominent blogger at marginalrevolution.com, the world’s leading economics blog. He also writes regularly for The New York Times, and has written for Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wilson Quarterly.