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Could you lose weight if you put $20,000 at risk? Would you finally set up your billing software if it meant that your favorite charity would earn a new contribution? If you've ever tried to meet a goal and came up short, the problem may not have been that the goal was too difficult or that you lacked the discipline to succeed. From giving up cigarettes to increasing your productivity at work, you may simply have neglected to give yourself the proper incentives. In Carrot and Sticks, Ian Ayres, the New York Times bestselling author of Super Crunchers, applies the lessons learned from behavioral economics--the fascinating new science of rewards and punishments--to introduce readers to the concept of "commitment contracts": an easy but high-powered strategy for setting and achieving goals already in use by successful companies and individuals across America. As co-founder of the website stickK.com (where people have entered into their own "commitment contracts" and collectively put more than $3 million on the line), Ayres has developed contracts--including the one he honored with himself to lose more than twenty pounds in one year--that have already helped many find the best way to help themselves at work or home. Now he reveals the strategies that can give you the impetus to meet your personal and professional goals, including how to * motivate your employees* create a monthly budget * set and meet deadlines * improve your diet* learn a foreign language* finish a report or project you've been putting off* clear your desk Ayres shares engaging, often astounding, real-life stories that show the carrot-and-stick principle in action, from the compulsive sneezer who needed a "stick" (the potential loss of $50 per week to a charity he didn't like) to those who need a carrot with their stick (the New York Times columnist who quit smoking by pledging a friend $5,000 per smoke . . . if she would do the same for him). You'll learn why you might want to hire a "professional nagger" whom you'll do anything to avoid--no, your spouse won't do!--and how you can "hand-tie" your future self to accomplish what you want done now. You'll find out how a New Zealand ad exec successfully "sold his smoking addiction," and why Zappos offered new employees $2,000 to quit cigarettes. As fascinating as it is practical, as much about human behavior as about how to change it, Carrots and Sticks is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.From the Hardcover edition.
How can a promise be a lie? Answer: when the promisor never intended to perform the promise. Such incidences of promissory fraud are frequently litigated because they can result in punitive damages awards. And an insincere promisor can even be held criminally liable. Yet courts have provided little guidance about what the scope of liability should be or what proof should be required. This book--the first ever devoted to the analysis of promissory fraud--answers these questions. Filled with examples of insincere promising from the case law as well as from literature and popular culture, the book is an indispensable guide for those who practice or teach contract law. The authors explore what promises say from the perspectives of philosophy, economics, and the law. They identify four chief mistakes that courts make in promissory fraud cases. And they offer a theory for how courts and practitioners should handle promissory fraud cases.
Diversification provides a well-known way of getting something close to a free lunch: by spreading money across different kinds of investments, investors can earn the same return with lower risk (or a much higher return for the same amount of risk). This strategy, introduced nearly fifty years ago, led to such strategies as index funds. What if we were all missing out on another free lunch that's right under our noses? In Lifecycle Investing, Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres-two of the most innovative thinkers in business, law, and economics-have developed tools that will allow nearly any investor to diversify their portfolios over time. By using leveraging when young-a controversial idea that sparked hate mail when the authors first floated it in the pages of Forbes-investors of all stripes, from those just starting to plan to those getting ready to retire, can substantially reduce overall risk while improving their returns. In Lifecycle Investing, readers will learn How to figure out the level of exposure and leverage that's right for you How the Lifecycle Investing strategy would have performed in the historical market Why it will work even if everyone does it When not to adopt the Lifecycle Investing strategy Clearly written and backed by rigorous research, Lifecycle Investing presents a simple but radical idea that will shake up how we think about retirement investing even as it provides a healthier nest egg in a nicely feathered nest.
What can straight people do to support gay rights? How much work or sacrifice must allies take on to do their share? Ian Ayres and Jennifer Brown--law professors, activists, husband and wife--propose practical strategies for helping straight men and women advocate for and with the gay community. Straightforward advances a thesis that is at once simple and groundbreaking: to make real progress at the central flashpoints of controversy--marriage rights, employment discrimination, gays in the military, exclusion from the Boy Scouts, and religious controversies over homosexuality--straight as well as gay people need to speak up and act for equality. Ayres and Brown take aim at both the hearts and minds of the general public, focusing on strategies that can change the incentives and therefore the behavior of the recalcitrant. The book is peppered with stories about real people and the decisions they have faced at home, in church, at work, in school, and in politics. It is also filled with creative legal and economic strategies for influencing public and corporate decision-making. For example, Ayres and Brown propose the development of a "fair employment mark" to help companies advertise inclusive employment policies. They also show how a simple pledge to vacation in states that legalize gay marriage can create powerful incentives for legislatures to amend their marriage laws. Engagingly written and sure to spark debate, Straightforward promises to change the way America thinks about--and participates in--the gay rights movement.
Companies used to rely on human experts and their years of experience to guide them. Now, cutting-edge organizations are mining the data and crunching numbers instead, to come up with more accurate, less biased predictions. As Freakonomics detailed, statistical analysis can reveal the secret levers of causation. But economist Ian Ayres argues that that's only part of the story: super crunching is revolutionizing the way we all make decisions. Beginning with examples of the mathematician who out-predicted wine buffs in determining the best vintages, and the sports scouts who now use statistics rather than intuition to pick winners, Super Crunchers exposes the world of data-miners, introducing the people and the techniques. It illuminates the hidden patterns all around us. No businessperson, academic, student, or consumer (statistically that's everyone) should make another move without getting to grips with thinking-by-numbers ? the new way to be smart, savvy and statistically superior.
In this book, two leading law professors challenge the existing campaign reform agenda and present a new initiative that avoids the mistakes of the past. Bruce Ackerman and Ian Ayres build on the example of the secret ballot and propose a system of "secret donation booths" for campaign contributions. They unveil a plan in which the government provides each voter with a special credit card account containing fifty "Patriot dollars" for presidential elections. To use this money, citizens go to their local automated teller machine and anonymously send their Patriot dollars to their favorite candidates or political organizations. Americans are free to make additional contributions, but they must also give these gifts anonymously. Because candidates cannot identify who provided the funds, big contributors will find it much harder to buy political influence. And the need for politicians to compete for the Patriot dollars will give much more power to the people. "--BOOK JACKET. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Why Not? is a primer for fresh thinking, problem-solving with a purpose and for bringing the world a few steps closer to the way it should be. Great ideas are waiting. Why not be the first to discover them?
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