The title is a bit misleading. Yeah, that’s what crossed my mind at first too but it’s not what you think it’s about!
This is the actually the third book in a series of books by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, starting with “Freakonomics” and then “Superfreakonomics”. I have not read the first two and I’d never heard of the authors, but I saw this in the library and it intrigued me.
I am always interested in books that delve into understanding the motives and incentives that people are guided by and this book does just that. It explores new ways of thinking to solve problems both global and personal through stories and examples in the realms of business, sports, religion, and many more. Their examples demonstrate how “incentives rule our world” and they actually layout a simple list of six rules that create an effective incentive scheme for any circumstance. It also goes into the art of persuasion (another one of my favorite topics) and the pointers they give on this subject are ones that I have heard before, but still, they explain abstract ideas and facts that are difficult to believe in an easy and straightforward manner. Another interesting subject that the book concludes with is concerning “failing fast and failing cheap”. We all have heard some sort of version of the virtues of never giving up (in fact just a couple of days ago I tweeted a quote about this) but the authors explore the issue with this sort of aversion for quitting and the opportunity cost of such an unyielding attitude. This subject along with the topic about incentives were the two greatest takeaways for me. I have already made plans on how to use their six step process for incentivizing in both my personal life and my work life, since being a wife and being in management both involve getting people to do things that they really don’t!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I’m always on the lookout for fresh, novel methods for approaching my thinking and this book really brought some new ideas to the table that I had never heard before. If you are like me in that regard, I think you would come away with some new food for thought as well and I highly recommend this book.