Scarcity

Scarcity

Why Having Too Little Means So Much

Audiobook CD - 2013
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In the blockbuster tradition of Freakonomics, a Harvard economist and a Princeton psychology professor team up to offer a surprising and empowering new way to look at everyday life, presenting a paradigm-challenging examination of how scarcity, and our flawed responses to it, shapes our lives, our society, and our culture.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster Audio, [2013]
ISBN: 9781442368224
1442368225
Branch Call Number: 338.521 M91s 2013 CD
Characteristics: 7 sound discs (510 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in
Additional Contributors: Shafir, Eldar
Petkoff, Robert

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Review: “Scarcity: why having too little means so much”

I found Scarcity so striking in its surprises, and so valuable in its insights, that after a few months, I went back to read it a second time. The authors—a Harvard economist and a Princeton psychologist—joined their distinct approaches to explore scarcity in its many forms. Scarcity of money is the bedrock of economics, of course, on both personal and grander scales. But the authors look at… (more)


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PimaLib_JenM Jun 25, 2016

The great comment by JCLChrisK summarizes the book. What I've found is that I mentally refer to the concepts presented in Scarcity on a daily basis now that I've read it. People have all kinds of scarcity challenges in their lives, and taking the time to reflect on theirs and our own makes us muc... Read More »

Recommended by Liz at Mission Library.


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PimaLib_JenM Jun 25, 2016

The great comment by JCLChrisK summarizes the book. What I've found is that I mentally refer to the concepts presented in Scarcity on a daily basis now that I've read it. People have all kinds of scarcity challenges in their lives, and taking the time to reflect on theirs and our own makes us much more empathetic.

JCLChrisK Jul 30, 2014

Chances are, you've experienced scarcity. Not just a moment of lack, but a lengthy, chronic situation of less time, money, caloric intake (either starvation or dieting), or human contact (i.e. loneliness) than you need. If you're like most people, when you found yourself in that situation you found yourself feeling completely wrapped up in your condition of scarcity--your thoughts dominated by your lack of time, money, food, or contact and your inability to ever get enough or break the cycle of lack.

The reason chances are good that you can relate is because these are common situations--even those who've never struggled financially are likely to have struggled with time, weight, or contact at some point--and they all share a common mindset. The authors have gathered a wealth of evidence--both their own and others'--to show that, regardless of type, there is a particular psychology to scarcity. The successful, wealthy business person who is always harried for time deals with the same thing as the minimum wage worker struggling to make ends meet, just for a different reason. A person dealing with a scarce resource in the present moment finds so much of his or her mental attention occupied by that scarcity that less brainpower is left for everything else--he or she will experience a significant drop in operational intelligence and impulse control, and will experience a self-perpetuating dynamic that creates a scarcity trap (as the large, middle section of the book is titled, "Scarcity Creates Scarcity").

This is not to say that scarcity is determinant and people have no ability to alter their situations, but it is a very important acknowledgment that scarcity makes things more difficult. This is a psychological reality that effects everyone--some people may have more willpower than others, but everyone experiences a drop in their willpower when in a state of scarcity, not in comparison to others, but in comparison to their own capacities when not dealing with scarcity. Study after study, across numerous fields, indicates it is so, the drop in willpower, operational intelligence, and helpful reactions. Scarcity, whatever its source, makes things harder for you, whoever you are. You still have the power to change your situation, but doing so will be a bigger challenge for you than for those who have no scarcity.

The simple awareness and acknowledgment of this fact as a reality is hugely important, and I believe the book matters immensely simply for that. In addition, the third, final section offers strategies for countering the ways scarcity impacts us, both personal ideas for individuals and policy ideas for companies and government programs. The authors admit at the end of their introduction that they are exploring new territory and offer the book as a launching pad not a conclusion, so there is ample room for more discovery, reflection, and reaction; nevertheless, I find this a highly valuable book.

JCLJenniferM Jun 04, 2014

Not exactly a beach read but it was a decent business read. Good reminders about creating capacity in everything you do - from daily meetings, to project work, to your personal engagements and finances.

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