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Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World MP3 CD – Bargain Price, August 17, 2009

3.1 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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MP3 CD, Bargain Price, August 17, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly

In this provocative study of behavioral economics, Cowen (Discover Your Inner Economist) reveals that autistic tendencies toward classification, categorization and specialization can be used as a vehicle for understanding how people use information. Cowen spends a great deal of time dispelling autism's societal stigma, arguing that mainstream society is reaping benefits from mimicking autistic cognitive strengths. As stimulating as is the premise, the book often feels like its own long exercise in categorization, with each chapter an analysis of the human mania for classification (e.g., the obsession with ranking achievements and endeavors). According to Cowen, human brains are constantly absorbing bits of information that get smaller and are delivered faster as technology advances. The more information people receive, the more they crave—this shorter attention span is far from a flaw to the author, but a liberating mechanism that allows humans time to contemplate more ambitious, long-range pursuits. The relentless analysis is occasionally overwhelming, but Cowen's illustration of our neurological filing system may help readers understand the mass consumption of information and just about everything else. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Patrick Lawlor tackles this study in behavioral economics with ease." ---AudioFile --This text refers to an alternate MP3 CD edition.

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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media; Unabridged,MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (August 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140016219X
  • ASIN: B007F868CO
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,355,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By bronx book nerd VINE VOICE on January 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This was somewhat of an odd book for a couple of reasons: first, based on the title, I was expecting something on the order of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich or The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked- 21st Century Edition; in other words, a book that gave advice on how to exploit the new economy (create your own economy) to prosper (the path to prosperity in a disordered world). The book is not about either of these. What the book is actually about is hard to pin down, however.

If I understand Cowen, creating your own economy is what you can now do in the world of the internet and new technology, where the number, diversity and accesibility of goods and services has sky-rocketed, particularly those goods and services related to the production of information. You can today decide to listen to very select songs on your I-Pod; read only blogs and receive feeds that suit your very unique tastes; and participate in online groups and activities that also satisfy your own individualized, quirky and even eccentric tastes, all at a fantastically reduced cost and ease of access. At the same time you can contribute to this hyper-personal economy by adding goods and services to it via your own input and participation, like by writing book reviews on Amazon.com, I suppose. As far as I understand it, that's what creating your own economy is about.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tyler Cowen should have followed his own advice and reduced this meandering 228 page book to a 6000 word essay.

What exactly is this book about, and what has it got to do with economics? The main thread of the book is that "autistic cognitive style", by which is meant an ability to focus on details and ordering or arrangement bits of information, is an under appreciated virtue. Cowen suggests that most formal education is about inculcating that approach anyway. Cowen further suggests that a number of real and fictional people (like Sherlock Holmes) are extreme users of that cognitive style and have been very successful. What is the connection with economics? Very little indeed. Cowen touches upon behavioral economics, mainly to suggest that Adam Smith, the father of modern economics might have been a tad autistic and that autistics are less prone to make irrational choices. As regards how to use this style to make a living, well Cowen doesn't have much to say about that, although as a self-diagnosed "autistic" he makes a good living as an economist.

Firstly I do not buy the idea that people who are good with ordering their universe must have an autistic cognitive style. This presumes that people cannot use this style for work and other styles for other activities. There are an awful lot of scientists and engineers who are very good at what they do, yet would not be characterized as being more autistic overall than the average person in the population.

Secondly, does this idea of autistic style actually translate into something useful? While there is a lot of talk about the value of data analysis, to a large extent much of it is relatively easy to do, and hence automate. This means that jobs in this area will be transferable to low wage countries.
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According to Tyler Cowen, it's a great time to be alive. And who could disagree with that? Thanks to the digital economy we have more choices when it comes to what to consume and what to do for our work (although others like Barry Schwartz have argued that perhaps we have too many choices now). Anyway, Cowen's book, Create Your Own Economy, is largely about how to navigate this new world and the digital economy.

The book, however, veered wildly from what I expected. The following quote from the preface is what I thought the book would be about.

In down times people exercise more, eat out less and cook more, and engage in more projects for self improvement and self education. Usage at public libraries is up and people are spending more time on the internet; once you've paid for your connection most of the surfing is free. These trends are more important than most of us realize and in this book I will tell you why. I will tell you why they are not just short-run trends but why they presage something much deeper about our future.

The book surely takes an interesting twist from the preface though. At the beginning of the first chapter, Cowen, who runs a popular economics blog called Marginal Revolution, states that a Marginal Revolution reader once asked him if he had Asperger's syndrome or high-functioning autism.

This question relates to one of the surprising, yet central themes of the book, i.e., autism. In one sense, the book can be read as a cultural defense of autism and with a focus on the general misconceptions about autism. I definitely wasn't expecting to read a book focused on autism when I picked this book up; however, I still enjoyed it.
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