Discover Your Inner Economist - Tyler Cowan
(One caveat: I have 10 more pages to finish this book, because I want to re-read. But rereading shouldn't count, so I'm not).
I was well out of college before I realized I would have really loved economics, had my professor for both my 101 and 102 courses been an avowed supply-sider who suspected that regulation was something akin to organized Satanism. His insistence of theories that explained the way things *should* be never quite jived with what actually was in my word.
So imagine my surprise, years later, when I geeked out and began reviewing the ideas behind incentives and markets. Freakonomics was a favorite, especially in showing real-life examples of how people do behave, not how they should.
I also recall quite fondly a Sunday morning in Germany, during my fellowship, when our two-hour lecturer was a noted economist. I still love the idea of road socialism.
This book, I hoped, would be more of the same: provocative ideas and narratives and new ways of looking at things.
Sadly, while there is much to like about this book, that lack of real innovation has me wondering if it was meant for only those truly new to the science of economics.
For instance, the subtitle talks of motivating your dentist. Given my recent experiences, this should be right up my alley, right? But his best advice is for the patient to appeal to the dentist's self-image as good as his/her job and playing into his/her personal narrative as such. Um, not really the "aha" moment I had hoped woudl appear.
Still, he has some interesting arguments about learning to be a "cultural billionaire" by understanding how to better appreciate art, fine food and music. And he clearly understands real-world incentives, considering often the motivation is not money.
He glosses over a bit too quickly those who are too motivated by money for my taste, but he would certainly accept that economics means you can't be all things to all people.
Besides, I just got a Paul Krugman book. I suspect I'll enjoy that one far, far more ...