Reader Review: This book is great if you want to take a closer look at your own life and the way the world works. If you want some quick rules to follow blindly, this one ain't for you.
Could you lose weight if you put $20,000 at risk? Would you finally set up your billing software if it meant that your favorite charity would earn a new contribution? If you’ve ever tried to meet a goal and came up short, the problem may not have been that the goal was too difficult or that you lacked the discipline to succeed. From giving up cigarettes to increasing your productivity at work, you may simply have neglected to give yourself the proper incentives.
In Carrot and Sticks, Ian Ayres, the New York Times bestselling author of Super Crunchers, applies the lessons learned from behavioral economics—the fascinating new science of rewards and punishments—to introduce readers to the concept of “commitment contracts”: an easy but high-powered strategy for setting and achieving goals already in use by successful companies and individuals across America. As co-founder of the website stickK.com (where people have entered into their own “commitment contracts” and collectively put more than $3 million on the line), Ayres has developed contracts—including the one he honored with himself to lose more than twenty pounds in one year—that have already helped many find the best way to help themselves at work or home. Now he reveals the strategies that can give you the impetus to meet your personal and professional goals, including how to
• motivate your employees
• create a monthly budget
• set and meet deadlines
• improve your diet
• learn a foreign language
• finish a report or project you’ve been putting off
• clear your desk
Ayres shares engaging, often astounding, real-life stories that show the carrot-and-stick principle in action, from the compulsive sneezer who needed a “stick” (the potential loss of $50 per week to a charity he didn’t like) to those who need a carrot with their stick (the New York Times columnist who quit smoking by pledging a friend $5,000 per smoke . . . if she would do the same for him). You’ll learn why you might want to hire a “professional nagger” whom you’ll do anything to avoid—no, your spouse won’t do!—and how you can “hand-tie” your future self to accomplish what you want done now. You’ll find out how a New Zealand ad exec successfully “sold his smoking addiction,” and why Zappos offered new employees $2,000 to quit cigarettes.
As fascinating as it is practical, as much about human behavior as about how to change it , Carrots and Sticks is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Carrots and Sticks
The behavioral revolution in economics began in 1981 when Richard Thaler published a seven-page letter in a somewhat obscure economics journal. Richard is now a stocky sixty-three-year-old with unruly gray hair who looks more like a bartender than one of the world's leading economists. But back then, a thirty-five-year-old Richard posed a pretty simple choice about apples.
Which would you prefer:
(A) One apple in one year or
(B) Two apples in one year plus one day?
This is a strange hypothetical-why would you have to wait a year to receive an apple? But choosing is not very difficult; most people would choose to wait an extra day to double the size of their gift.
Thaler went on, however, to pose a second apple choice.
Which would you prefer:
(C) One apple today or
(D) Two apples tomorrow?
What's interesting is that many people give a different, seemingly inconsistent answer to this second question. Many of the same people who are patient when asked to consider this choice a year in advance turn around and become impatient when the choice has immediate consequences-they prefer C over D. When it comes to apples, Adam and Eve aren't alone in being impatient when presented with an immediate temptation.
The inconsistency in these answers puzzled Thaler. Richard has an incredible eye for anomalies. While many economists ignore or paper over deviations from rationality, Thaler is drawn to them. He's made a career of trying to understand them, and he even writes down algebraic formulas to capture their essence. Why would he mow his own lawn to save $15 but wouldn't be willing to cut his neighbor's lawn even for $...
Title: Carrots and Sticks July 1, 2012 This book is great if you want to take a closer look at your own life and the way the world works. If you want some quick rules to follow blindly, this one ain't for you.
Average Customer Review:
Number of Comments: 2 Rating(s) 1 Review(s)
Reviewer: A reader from SEATTLE, WA USA
July 1, 2012
This book is great if you want to take a closer look at your own life and the way the world works. If you want some quick rules to follow blindly, this one ain't for you.
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