You should only buy used cars from dealerships, because they can “certify” the value of the car better than an independent seller would. See Honey, the book agrees with me. Although they also said (if I understood correctly), that according to the rules of economics no one would ever want to sell a car unless something is wrong with it. That doesn’t sound right – people upgrade cars all the time even when it isn’t necessary. (Not me – I drive my cars until they flat out refuse to run anymore).
I read chapters 7 and 8, and in case I haven’t already said this, the field of human economics really fascinates me.
The main lesson or chapter 7 can be summed up in three words: communicate, communicate, communicate. Since these economics terms are so much fun, here are a couple of bonus ones:
Pooling equilibrium – Your spouse cannot read your mind. Basically, if you act happy when you are actually furious, go figure – he’ll have no idea that he’s in trouble.
Separating equilibrium – give enough information so your spouse knows what you want him to know
BUT, when you are doing all of this communicating, be sure not to lecture. If you flood your spouse with information, the high information processing costs will hinder his ability to listen and digest what his is hearing. In other words, if someone lectures you, your brain kind of shuts down and all you hear is noise. Then, when the other person expresses annoyance with you weeks later – I TOLD you this already – you have no idea what he is talking about. The authors call this a “conversation coma” which I doubt they took from economics.
As a teacher I see this in my students, and I see it in my daughter too. At some point in my lengthy explanation, their eyes kind of cloud over and they look uncomfortable and inattentive. This is a main reason why I hardly ever lecture when I teach – if you keep things interactive, the students are far more likely to enjoy themselves – they are also more likely to remember the conversation. (Sometimes they quote our discussions on their papers and exams – I love that.)
Another term: intertemporal choice – Every day we are faced with choices that will give us small rewards today or greater rewards tomorrow. (they use a treadmill as an example) We often go for the instant gratification because it’s easy to invent reasons why the delayed reward isn’t so great after all. Remember the marshmallow experiment? A lot of kids didn’t even blink about taking one marshmallow now instead of two treats later – the one on the table looked too tasty to wait for what they couldn’t see. I am a night owl – it’s hard for me to choose in favor of going to sleep early – I get so much done when everyone else is asleep (I blog!), and sometimes I’m at my most creative after midnight. But then I have to get up in the morning. Getting up early would be far easier if I would fall asleep a little earlier (and I understand weight loss would be easier too).
One more thing. The authors recommend the use of commitment devices, or special incentives to help keep one another accountable. I am completely convinced that we shouldn’t bribe our kids with stickers. That said, what if we just aren’t intrinsically motivated to do something? I might have to start posting stickers on my calendar (again) every time I exercise.
Scroll down for other posts about Spousonomics:
Part 1: Spousonomics, by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson
Part 2: Yoga and Over-Cooked Chicken
Part 3: Unpacking my Suitcases
Part 4: Don’t Lecture Me
Part 5: Games and Bubbles
GB Part 1: Post-privacy and Marriage