- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Dutton; First Edition edition (September 12, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0525953736
- ISBN-13: 978-0525953739
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 161 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation Hardcover – September 12, 2013
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Praise for Average is Over
“A buckle-your-seatbelts, swiftly moving tour of the new economic landscape.” - Kirkus Reviews
"Cowen has a single core strength...his taste for observations that are genuinely enlightening, interesting, and underappreciated." - The Daily Beast
"A bracing new book" - The Economist
"Tyler Cowen's new book Average is Over makes an excellent followup to his previous work The Great Stagnation and I expect it will set the intellectual agenda in much the way its predecessor did." - Slate
"The author roves broadly and interestingly to make his case, outlining radical economic transformations that lie in store for us, predicting the rise and fall of cities depending on their capacity to adapt to this machine-driven world and offering policy prescriptions for preserving American prosperity." - The Wall Street Journal
"Audacious and fascinating." - The Financial Times
"Thomas Friedman - move over. There's a new guy on the block." - Tampa Bay Tribune
"Eminently readable." - The Brookings Institute
"Cowen has a rare ability to present fundamental economic questions without all of the complexity and jargon that make many economics books inaccessible to the lay reader." - The American Interest
Praise for The Great Stagnation
“As Cowen makes clear, many of this era’s technological breakthroughs produce enormous happiness gains, but surprisingly little additional economic activity” —David Brooks, The New York Times
“One of the most talked-about books among economists right now.” —Renee Montagne, Morning Edition, NPR
“Tyler Cowen may very well turn out to be this decade’s Thomas Friedman.” —Kelly Evans, The Wall Street Journal
“Perhaps it’s the mark of a good book that after you’ve read it, you begin to see evidence for it’s thesis in lots of different areas… it’s well worth the time and the money.” —Ezra Klein, The Washington Post
“Cowen says over the last 300 years the U.S. has eaten all the low-hanging fruit. We’ve exhausted the easy pickings of abundant land, technological advance, and basic education for the masses. We thought the low-hanging fruit would never run out. It did, but we pushed ahead. And thus Cowen’s understated but penetrating summation of the financial crisis: “We thought we were richer than we were.” —Bret Swanson, Forbes
"The Great Stagnation has become the most debated nonfiction book so far this year." - David Brooks, The New York Times
"Cowen's book...will have a profound impact on the way people think about the last thirty years." - Ryan Avent, Economist.com
Praise for An Economist Gets Lunch
“Part Economic history… part guide to getting a better meal at home or a restaurant. Renowned economist…Professor Cowen is an expert on the economics of culture and the arts.” —Damon Darlin, The New York Times Dining Section
“[a] Calvin Trillin-like ode to tamale stands and ethnic food, the more exotic the better” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review Section
“If one’s goal is to eat well, Mr. Cowen’s rules are golden.” —Graeme Wood, The Wall Street Journal
“An Economist Gets Lunch is a mind-bending book for non-economists.” —USA Today
About the Author
TYLER COWEN is a professor of economics at George Mason University. His blog, Marginal Revolution, is one of the world’s most influential economics blogs. He also writes for the New York Times, Financial Times and The Economist and is the cofounder of Marginal Revolution University. The author of five previous books, Cowen lives in Fairfax, Virginia.
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Top customer reviews
Given the trends from today Cowen's "Average is Over" makes a strong and highly plausible argument for a likely American future. Perhaps even the most likely future.
The good news -
The already expensive, livable, and elite cities become even more so. For those self motivated, hard workers from anywhere in the world and nearly any economic background, the future looks extremely bright. Their tools and access to smarter training gets better and better. Online classes are easy to access worldwide. Smart technology gets smarter becomes "genius" but still works far better with people than without. Productivity (and wages) for these top 10-15% continues to increase. Even if you cannot work with "genius computers" managing, hiring, training, assisting, or coaching those who can will still be lucrative.
The not so good -
What does the rest of Cowen's America 2033 look like?
Older and poorer. Invest in micro housing and trailer parks in Texas. Maybe it won't be so bad. [...] or maybe it will be.[...]
Cowen correctly points out the huge pitfall in online education. "Online education can thus be extremely egalitarian, but it is egalitarian in a funny way. It can catapult the smart, motivated, but nonelite individuals over the members of the elite communities. It does not, however, push the uninterested student to the head of the pack." The remaining 85% stagnate albeit with access to cheap fun and cheap education. Many of the 85% will live quite well as they benefit from the near free services but others will fall by the wayside.
But maybe it does not have to be this way. Cowen himself points to a potential way out. Education has typically failed to motivate. And even the best online courses are probably even worse than most classroom teachers. "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." There are however a few coaches who have demonstrated the ability to motivate. [...] I never met Coach Fitz but I certainly met mine as a lazy 8th grader on the football field in the form of a 5 foot 4 inch Woody Hayes disciple named John Short. Could this be bottled and taught? The future for your kids and the rest of us American 85 percenters may depend on motivators like these.
What the end of average will look like to colleges.
"It will be a brutal age of good schools and also mediocre schools undercutting each other in terms of price and thus tuition revenue. If it costs $200 to serve a class to another student, how long will it be before an educational institution undercuts a competitor charging $2,000 for those credits?"
This is a highly original book. I strongly recommend this especially for a high school senior or college freshmen.
I read this book as a good chance to stir my morale up. Tyler Cowen says the ability to mix technical knowledge with solving real world problem is the key to be the big earners in polarized labor markets. The productive worker and the smart machine become stronger complements than before. Only who can learn to think like smart machines or at least enough to understand their operation will get success. Individuals who work with genius machines will need to retrain and learn new systems constantly.
He depicts shanty world, where the economically left behind people are seeking out cheaper living. They are surprisingly politically conservative and look toward local communities and tight local bonds in order to protect themselves against economic risks. The American future precisely written here would not be what he dreams of. With this prediction he warns us of the danger in front of us. Thinking about the geographic and institutional cluster where commercial talent is on the rise, the cities with high level of education tend to have much lower levels of unemployment. In this sense we are pressed for constant education of ourselves.
While Cowen makes a good case for how humans will use the exponentially increasing computing power in the future to produce improved results -- think weather forecasting, auto manufacturing, chess playing, etc -- he never goes very deeply into how this dynamic will play out in the various countries and markets around the world. Nor does he spend much time thinking about how we might include more people in the "winning" category and "power America beyond" this coming worker stagnation. Maybe he is setting the stage for his next book where he gives this more thought. If so, Average Is Over could have been shortened by 100 pages and still conveyed the same message.
Most recent customer reviews
How long does it last? Two chapters.Read more