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Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done Hardcover – September 21, 2010


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Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done + Functional Behavioral Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment, Second Edition: A Complete System for Education and Mental Health Settings + Conjoint Behavioral Consultation: Promoting Family-School Connections and Interventions
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (September 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807639
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“‘Lord, give me chastity and continence, but not yet.’  Ian Ayres has developed the pathbreaking tools that resolve Saint Augustine's paradoxical prayer, brilliantly showing us how to escape self-defeating behavior and overcome the drive for instant gratification.” —David Laibson, Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics, Harvard University

"There are creative books, rigorous books, and useful books, but Carrots and Sticks is all three. It's fascinating and fun to read, and my abs are in great shape too—all thanks to Ian Ayres. Bravo." —Tim Harford,The Undercover Economist”

"For about thirty years there has been increasing study of how people try to manage, and sometimes succeed in managing, their own behavior: smoking, eating, procrastinating, drinking, losing their temper, fears and phobias, games, fingernails . . . . The list goes on. Here is an entertaining report on one of the basic techniques of overcoming what the ancient Greeks called "weakness of will." All can enjoy it; many may discover it therapeutic."—Thomas C. Schelling, 2005 Nobel Laureate in Economics

"This brilliant book will help you outwit your greatest adversary: your future self. It will give you tools that can change your life."—Barry Nalebuff, co-author of The Art of Strategy

About the Author

Ian Ayres is an economist and lawyer who is the William K. Townsend Professor at Yale Law School and a professor at Yale’s School of Management. He is a columnist for Forbes magazine and a regular contributor to the New York Times Freakanomics blog. He served for seven years as the editor of the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, and in 2006 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has previously written ten books, including Super Crunchers, which was a New York Times business bestseller and named one the Best Economics and Business Books of the Year by The Economist. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
 

 

More About the Author

Ian Ayres is the William K. Townsend Professor at Yale Law School and the Yale School of Management, and is editor of the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization. In addition to his best-selling SuperCrunchers, Ayres has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, and The New Republic. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.Barry Nalebuff is Professor of Economics and Management at the Yale School of Management. His books include The Art of Strategy (an update of the best-selling Thinking Strategically) and Co-opetition. He is the author of fifty scholarly articles and has been an associate editor of five academic journals. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Ralu Cat on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am very surprised at the 2-star reviews that I just read... I have a degree in cognitive psychology and have always been fascinated by commitment and the illusive "motivation" (I also work in training) and I must say this book presents some of the most innovative, practical and new ideas I've seen in the field in some time. The book is much better written than a self-help book (which I really appreciated as someone familiar with the field) but it has practical suggestions and comparisons every other paragraph! Yes, it does "advertise" stickk.com (co-developed by the author) but that's a free site as long as you STICK to your commitments...And you can do it solo if you are as good at organizing your contingencies like the book describes instead of using this tool. But as we are all human, I don't think it will work for many of us... This is one of the main lessons of the book - we're not very good with commitment and we do need lots of help and awareness to stick to them. This book is not only great at pointing the pitfalls of our human nature, but actually gives clear advice on how to counteract all of them.
I assume part of the cause for the poorer reviews is the fact that yes, commitment sucks and yes, it takes a lot of work (including reading the whole book). No, it doesn't contain a 1 page/phrase magical mantra. But it's still a very practical and very accessible book. It's just very blunt about how tough commitment is and if you can't accept that you will really hate the whole idea no matter the author :)
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37 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Robert Haberer on October 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is much more of an academic book than a helpful one. Mr. Ayres cites study after study with virtually no practical advice. While that in itself is not a sin, Carrots and Sticks is marketed as a self help book, so to me, I feel he and/or the publisher is being deceptive. The line above the title reads, "Unlock the Power of Incenctives to Get Things Done". That line on the cover is selling it as a practical, how-to book. On the front, inside book jacket, it goes on and on about how this book can help you make dramatic changes in your life, but, alas, the inner content offers few (really no) strategies for doing so. Just more studies cited. But don't take my word for it. Open the book to any page, start reading, and you'll see.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Deb on February 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I feel like this review should start with a clarification of the book's subtitle of: "Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done." In the context of this book, the "power of incentives" translates to using the author's website of stickK.com to become financially committed to your goals. Sure, this extrinsically motivational web-based approach has worked for many (the author does not hold back on sharing the details about his company), but it's not an approach that promotes deeper psychological growth.

The author is an economist and a lawyer, and the book's content reflects just that. So, if you're looking for a self-help book on becoming more internally motivated or a fascinating exploration of the human behavior side of behavioral economics, you might feel disappointed by this book. But, if you're a hard-core economist and get excited by legal contracts and commitments, you'll likely love this book.

Just know what you're getting into before committing yourself to this book---otherwise you might need to employ your own set of carrots and sticks to get through it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By what do i know on January 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
the conclusion i noted down for myself (coming from the perspective to finding out what actually motivates people in a more general matter) in the cover page is: "pretty weak book - mainly to promote his website stikK." And actually, that is about what i took from the book. There is tons of interesting studies that are cited, but overall i miss the 'story' and hard facts that offer added value. I sure hope there is something more to say about incentives than what i have read in 'Carrots and Sticks.'
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Leah NYC on August 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a former economics major, econ theory has always interested me, especially when it's presented in an way that makes it relevant to everyday life. Many of the other reviewers have pointed out that this book doesn't give you specific advice on how to change your life - and I agree - but I see that as a positive. There is no magic universal solution for the perfect life, and hoping to find one is asking to be either disappointed or lied to. Everyone is unique, and our eccentricities make it impossible for cookie-cutter advice to fit every individual.

In Carrots and Sticks, Ayres instead offers a recommended approach to addressing your personal challenges, and takes the time to show you why the approach will work. The references to studies are described in an easy to follow style and illustrate the basic principles of incentives and how they can be used effectively. By showing examples and truly teaching you the basics, you'll be best able to decide for yourself how you can apply the theory to your own life. And yes, examples of practical applications are provided - and they're quite convincing.

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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