Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $5.04 shipping
Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much Hardcover – September 3, 2013
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
A surprising and intriguing examination of how scarcity and our flawed responses to it shapes our lives our society and our cultureWhy do successful people get things done at the last minute Why does poverty persist Why do organizations get stuck firefighting Why do the lonely find it hard to make friends These questions seem unconnected yet Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir show that they are all examples of a mind set produced by scarcity Drawing on cutting edge research from behavioral science and economics Mullainathan and Shafir show that scarcity creates a similar psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need Busy people fail to manage their time efficiently for the same reasons the poor and those maxed out on credit cards fail to manage their money The dynamics of scarcity reveal why dieters find it hard to resist temptation why students and busy executives mismanage their time and why sugarcane farmers are smarter after harvest than before Once we start thinking in terms of scarcity and the strategies it imposes the problems of modern life come into sharper focus Mullainathan and Shafir discuss how scarcity affects our daily lives recounting anecdotes of their own foibles and making surprising connections that bring this research alive Their book provides a new way of understanding why the poor stay poor and the busy stay busy and it reveals not only how scarcity leads us astray but also how individuals and organizations can better manage scarcity for greater satisfaction and success A surprising and intriguing examination of how scarcity e and our flawed responses to it e shapes our lives our society and our culture Why do successful people get things done at the last minute Why does poverty persist Why do organizations get stuck firefighting Why do the lonely find it hard to make friends These questions seem unconnected yet Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir show that they are all examples of a min
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
A common criticism of this book is that the authors are frequently making elaborate demonstrations of the obvious. While the observation is fair to some extent, the circular-causation theory of perpetual scarcity presented in the work is intriguing and fills out our understanding self-perpetuating scarcity, espcially with respect to money. I've usually been a little skeptical of the usefulness/relevance of finding of behavioral economics, but I find this work to be an exceptional case; I gladly recommend it.
Scarcity- Why Having too little means so much, is split into 3 parts. The first part is called The Scarcity Mindset. This chapter sets the stage by familiarizing the reader with themselves by providing examples based around looming deadlines. The authors remind the reader how they can focus on the task at hand with greater efficiency with a looming deadline compared to one that is far in the future. At the same time though the focus that comes with a due date comes at the expense of peripheral awareness and we tend to tunnel. The authors give examples of how when tunneling we ignore most things not immediately relevent to the task at hand to our own peril (the authors use the examples of fireman fatality arising from not fastening their seatbelts, as that is outside one's tunnel). The authors also introduce the idea of bandwith from a psychological standpoint. By this they mean how much mental capacity we can run and the spillovers from over taxing ourselves in terms of efficiency and productivity.
The authors get into the next session by going one step further in exploring the repurcussions of over taxed bandwith. The authors introduce the idea of scarcity begets scarcity as one's efficiency is lowered in such a state of scarce time which ends up perpetuating the trap. They use commonsense examples like packing a suitcase and the differences in attitude when packing a large suitcase and a small one. The concept of slack is introduced and the large asymmetry that arises due to having slack. They discuss the irrational economics of borrowing at high rates from predatorial lenders but the inevitability of it when faced with having no economic slack. The cases used create natural sympathy from the readers as the examples are easy to associate with. The authors discuss the scarcity trap and the reduced efficiency while out of bandwith perpetuating the scarcity trap. The authors also discuss poverty through this lense and articulate how poverty is self-sustaining through reduced individual efficiency and overtaxed bandwith.
The authors then discuss policy responses to try to prevent scarcity traps. They focus on ideas for trying to stop people from overtaxing their bandwith. Occasionally the solutions come in unintuitive forms like forcing slack to allow for the unexpected on a structural basis. By this they describe a solution to perpetually full hospital calendars was found by leaving operating rooms unconditionally open for emergeny use only to keep scheduled operations on time thus reducing the need for constant rescheduling and delays. Such a simple solution of forcing slack for resource usage increased overall efficiency by over 10% despite from a scheduling perspective appear to force more surgeries into the future. The idea the authors keep on reinforcing is that the lost efficiency on low bandwith work can be less productive in aggregate than more targeted work on higher bandwith (ie 10 ours of working unproductively is less valuable than 8 on high efficiency).
Scarcity discusses the important reality that we act inconsistenty and that inconsistency is often a function of our mental state which can broadly be put into a state of scarcity or abundance. Each of these states creates different behavioural outcomes of complacense for abundance and low efficiency for scarcity. Recognizing this behavioural fact should increase our sympathy for the overworked and need for regiment for those with excess. Policy responses to activities surrounding scarcity should appreciate the psychological aspects of what scarcity does to ones mental state rather than purely on the scarce good itself. I think the book is articulate in clear in presenting the psychology of scarcity. It is not particularly revolutionary and most of us already know this, but by introducing it in an economic sense it creates a new avenue for work and policy focus.
It illustrates the previously considered intangible costs of being poor and really digs in. It explains the mentality of the individual and how 'tunneling' can create a measurable decrease in IQ, and how it's an uncontrollable biological response. It also discusses the lack of slack and how it makes any system susceptible to shocks.
The insights are so general that it's even easy to apply to your personal life but certainly could be used to make policy more effective.
For me, this took a well-known value of scholarship, "peace of mind", and makes it quantifiable. It demonstrates several fascinating tests that can be used to measure this. It would take a lot of work, but I think it would be even reasonable to say that you could test someone when you first meet them and test them again a few months after acceptance and get a metric of effectiveness.
Most recent customer reviews
Noun: par-a-digm shift; plural noun: a fundamental change in approach or underlying...Read more