- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; First Edition edition (October 25, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691142645
- ISBN-13: 978-0691142647
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #571,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Waldfogel (The Tyranny of the Market) delivers a badly needed poke in the eye at holiday-time consumer madness, positing that not only is compulsory gift giving stressful and expensive, but it's economically unsound. Purchases are usually a zero-sum game—a $50 sweater is bought only when it is worth $50 or more to the consumer. But most gifts are relatively worthless to the less-than-enthused recipient, thus severing the link between the buying decision and the item's value. Addressing the $66 billion in retail sales during the 2007 Christmas season, the author's bewilderment is evident when he asks—would anyone buy this stuff for himself or herself? does anybody want it?—and answers his own question with a quote suggesting that gift giving may be too firmly entrenched to budge: There are worlds of money wasted, at this time of year, in getting things that nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got. That's Harriet Beecher Stowe back in 1850. This lively, spot-on book may be the one gift that still makes sense to buy come Black Friday. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Leave it to an economist to make an impassioned argument for why we shouldn't give gifts, especially during the holidays." (Los Angeles Times)
"[A] small but very well-written and well-argued book which makes some serious points as well as poking fun at the nightmare of Christmas shopping. . . . Point by point the author demolishes the case for giving gifts. In fact, this is a very sensible book on every level." (Times Literary Supplement)
"Waldfogel delivers a badly needed poke in the eye at holiday-time consumer madness, positing that not only is compulsory gift giving stressful and expensive, but it's economically unsound. . . . This lively, spot-on book may be the one gift that still makes sense to buy come Black Friday." (Publishers Weekly)
"Scroogenomics is a quick read. Not only is it well under 200 pages, but the book can easily fit in your pocket. This is no think volume intended to scare off non-economists. Better still, Scroogenomics is almost entirely free of jargon. And when technical terms do appear, they are immediately explained."---Ryan Young, Washington Times
"Another huge, value-destroying hurricane is about to slam America, destroying billions of dollars of value. Another Katrina? No, another Christmas. This voluntary December calamity is explained in a darkly amusing little book that is about the size of an iPhone. Scroogenomics comes from a distinguished publisher, Princeton University Press, and an eminent author, Joel Waldfogel of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school."---George Will, Washington Post
"In his new book, Scroogenomics--a perfect stocking-filler--Waldfogel argues that buying presents is no longer a luxury but a necessity because the social pressure is immense."---John-Paul Flintoff, Sunday Times
"Waldfogel assesses holiday gift giving though the lens of economic tenets such as opportunity costs and deadweight loss. The result is a short but engaging manifesto on the inefficiency of the tradition, concluding with several solutions to increase satisfaction for both givers and receivers. Although his own suggestions mandate that you not buy this book for someone who wanted something else, fans of Freakonomics and The Economic Naturalist may love it." (Library Journal)
"[A] handsome little book. . . . Waldfogel is, if not a unique, then certainly a rare economist." (Australian)
"Nobody has done more to damage relations between the joyous commercial festival that is Christmas and the economics profession than Joel Waldfogel. Long-term readers of this column will be well aware of Professor Waldfogel's research paper, 'The Deadweight Loss of Christmas'. Ever since it was published in 1993 it has been taken out by economic journalists and displayed like last year's decorations. Waldfogel--a witty writer himself--has evidently decided that if everyone is going to discuss the idea, he may as well get in on the act, so has published Scroogenomics, a book that--dare I say it--looks like it would make a terrific stocking-filler."---Tim Harford, Financial Times
"And now, in a new book called Scroogenomics, a U.S. economist has helpfully done the math on the holiday he declares, as only an economist would, an 'organized institution for value destruction.'"---Erin Anderssen, Globe & Mail
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According to Scroogenomics, it seems that all the gift giving around the Christmas season is lots of wasted time and wasted effort and wasted money. It would be better to just give the recipient cash or, better yet, give it to charity.
I like the premise (I am so over the gift giving thing) but the writing is really pretty dry. No doubt the economist in your family will love this book. If you have the stamina, it's really not that long and it's small (thus, making it a great stocking stuffer). Go ahead and get it.
In the end, I have concluded, gifts don't equal a replacement for love. If you really want to show love, say something nice to someone. Tell them verbally what they mean, DO something. Not give junk that has a 99% chance of being wasted.
I was rather stunned to learn how long the pattern of massive holiday buying has been going on, and I was equally surprised to learn that it's a nearly global problem. I had no idea. I thought it was limited to my family.
I especially appreciate Waldfogel's suggestions for alternate gift-giving. The charity gift card suggestion is especially appealing to me. Thanks, professor, for taking on this task. You'll likely be vilified a bit. Courage.
The Author has come up with an idea and like a dog with a bone won't let go. Basically the person receiving a gift doesn't value it the same as the person giving it. I get it, people don't like poorly thought out gifts. I bought my brother a Christmas gift that I thought was awesome. Everyone else thought otherwise. A good reason to stop buying him Christmas gifts? Hardly - although it was a great conversation with a few drinks under our belts ;-)
The authors suggestion is to really get to know the recipient, give a gift card or make a donation to a charity on their behalf.
Far better advice is gleened from blogs.