Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Inner Economist Says...

Discover your Inner Economist My latest read was Tyler Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist. Although I am a self-professed skeptic of self-help books, this book is great. I learned endless 'useless' information from how to write an attractive personal ad to how to resist torture if suspected of being a CIA agent while really vacationing in Lebanon. I also learned more practical information like how to find tasty ethnic food and how to give to charities with maximized benefit. I really liked being exposed to the world of markets in everything (such as in services to find misspelled eBay listings or animal penis restaurants). Cowen's insights and data collection are impressive. The book was largely amusing and, at the very least, helpful.

I am willing to admit that I may (or may not) have an infatuation with the works of Tyler Cowen. I'd probably recommend anything he publishes, because he's just so darn interesting. But that is not to discredit his latest book; I flew through it in about two days because I couldn't put it down.

Here's my favorite quote:
I am a strong believer in an ethic of individual responsibility, so I do not think we can or that we should look primarily to the law to prevent our moral mistakes. In many area of life, people need to be free to fail if their lives are to have meaning, or if virtue is to be possible. Often paternalistic laws cannot be adequately enforced, or those laws create harmful and counterproductive black markets. No matter what options market offer, social regulation has to start at the level of the rationally prudent self.

Tyler CowenAlso check out Dr. Cowen's blog. His co-authorship of Marginal Revolution is by far my favorite daily read and strong personal impetus for hunting down new and exciting blogging inspiration. I really am a big fan of Tyler Cowen.

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