Get my book for free

by on August 2, 2007 at 9:39 am in Books | Permalink

Yes my book is out today (B&N here) but you don’t need to buy it.  You can get it here for free.


It is simple.  Just write in the comments section some reason why you should get my book for free.  I will mail free copies to the first fifteen commenters to meet the following conditions:

1. Your comment must offer a reason why you should get the book for free.

2. You must explain that reason in a moderately-sized paragraph or more.  "Just cuz" does not qualify.

3. Your paragraph must address why you should get the book and why you should get it for free.

4. You must believe your reason.

Then email me with your mailing address (to my normal gmu email, and so I know you are you please put your real name on your posted reason as well) and I will send you a copy, through Amazon, at my own expense.  You know, at first I thought I would get the publisher to put up copies for this but then I realized no, I ought to be paying for the books myself.  I’m not even using an author’s discount.

I wish I were a wealthier man, but I am offering only fifteen copies right now.  Any future copies will be offered abroad, not in the U.S.

I am very interested in the idea of what it means to have a reason.

Sadly, no matter how good your reason, I cannot send more than one copy to you.

Addendum: This offer is restricted to the United States and Canada.  I am worried that the first copies to go out otherwise would end up in the hands of a single Nigerian spammer, plus Amazon does not ship worldwide.  Nonetheless I hope to make a similar offer to the broader world in the future, with appropriate safeguards.

Second addendum: The first fifteen slots have now been awarded…

Aaron August 2, 2007 at 9:49 am

Much like used cars, new books are a gamble. The potential reader has only prior reputation and pre-release hype. Books by scholars may or may not step beyond what is already available in blogs, other books, etc. So I tend towards purchasing paperbacks. However, I am a big talker when it comes to books I love. After reading Fooled by Randomness, I was very happy to tell people about The Black Swan, which I quickly purchased in hardback when it was released. I think a free book would be able to serve both your interests and mine, as I do believe I could generate at least a replacement sale if not additional sales as a result of my word of mouth, and I could read a hardcover at home without waiting to get it from the library. Also, my wife is teaching a class in the fall at a local university, and who knows what some well placed title dropping can bring. More than sales, a whole slew of potential inner economists can be released, all from the shipment of one copy of your book. I know that you as well would be taking a risk in sending a copy to me, but that risk should be spread across the number of other copies that you send out in this offer. Thanks for your consideration!

assaf August 2, 2007 at 9:52 am

Amazon does ship internationally.
I live in Israel.

Michael Carr August 2, 2007 at 9:54 am

If you send me this book, I will be sure to read it and will offer commentary on my moderately well-read blog. I may not agree with everything you write, but can guarantee that a few more people will hear about it than otherwise would have. As for why it should come free, the sad truth is that I have a full stack of reading material at the moment and a list of books in my shopping cart at Amazon; there’s a good chance that I’ll read this book anyway, but it won’t be any time in the next three or four months.

Michael August 2, 2007 at 9:54 am

DISCLAIMER: I wrote the above post very fast so I could be one of the first 15… I hope the spelling mistakes don’t disqualify me.

Michael August 2, 2007 at 9:55 am

In five years, let alone one hundred, you won’t care who the books went to. Nor will it make a predictable difference to the readers, since you can’t reliably predict who will benefit from reading the book based on a single paragraph, and you don’t know what they would have read otherwise or what difference that would have made. What you do know is you can more quickly complete your precommitted giving-away-free-books task by giving them away to early entrants, such as me. Therefore I should get a free copy of your book.

jack sparrow August 2, 2007 at 9:56 am

And I live in Canada, so that makes me a perfect candidate for this book.

Will Garvin August 2, 2007 at 9:58 am

Dear Tyler,
I believe I should get your book for free because you promised me that the answer to the question I have been searching for (and asked you to answer) could be found in this book. If you don’t remember, I asked you to state “Your opinion on how to give to charity.” and you stated that “I’ll be covering this in my forthcoming book Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist, due out from Dutton on August 2.” See So I have been in constant suspense about how I should be giving to charity. Until I get the answer to my question, I fear that lots of poor children will continue to suffer. As for why I should get the book for free; the reason is because by saving money on your books I can give more to the suffering children. So in conclusion, giving the book to me for free saves suffering children. Think of the children Tyler, think of the children.


meep August 2, 2007 at 9:59 am

I should get the book for free, because I am an influencer when it comes to books amongst my co-workers and online friends (some of the books I’ve gotten people to read are Godel, Escher, Bach, Freakonomics, some physics books, and even Dickens novels). Some people have read books because I have explicitly recommended them to them, some have bought books simply because I’ve read them and said they were an interesting read.

I don’t know what your royalty share is per book, so I don’t know if roughly 10 additional sales will offset the cost of one free copy to me.

Abraham August 2, 2007 at 10:01 am

I read a lot of blogs including this one obviously, but until this post I didn’t even know what your name was and I knew nothing about your book except that you wrote one. I suppose having a copy of the book would be the easiest way to make me more familiar with your ideas and make me more interested in your other work in general.

I have no reason that I should get it for free other than that I probably won’t ever buy it.

Despite the ambivalence of my motivations, I can say that if I receive one I will definitely read it and tell others what I think of it.

meep August 2, 2007 at 10:02 am

Also, I will tell my friends how cool the author is. 😉 So it’s in your own self-interest.

And it’s very much in my own self-interest to get a book I want to read for free.

jack sparrow August 2, 2007 at 10:03 am

Sorry, I missed my real name in my posted reason. My name is Angad Sahota

Andrew August 2, 2007 at 10:03 am

Having recently graduated from graduate school, I have a very large amount of debt, so my ability to buy all the books I want to read is limited. Couple that with my burgeoning interest in economics and my recent purchase of A Farewell to Alms to read with the group here, I think that the more I read on the subject, the more interested I will continue to become. I’ve already learned a lot from reading your blog over the last year or so and look forward to learning more in the coming years.

Mike Russell August 2, 2007 at 10:04 am

Simple, so I can read it as an investment in human capital. This will also me to have higher future earnings. In the future, when I am not so poor , I will buy more of your books, perhaps even purchasing the entire backcatalog over on the right of your blog. I will remain a irrationally loyal reader over the years bringing in increased revenue to you over time than you would lose over not giving me this one book. However, if I don’t get the book I might be irrationally disloyal and never buy one of your books out of simple spite, regardless of how much I might benefit. I could go on but I need to post this with a quickness.

LN August 2, 2007 at 10:04 am

I am interested in economics (looking to apply to graduate programs this fall) but moreover I am also very interested in how people think about economics, and how they think about how they think about economics. I am also a regular reader of your blog although I generally disagree with your political stance. That said, I am not currently planning on purchasing your book (my economics-related wish list on Amazon is quite long) and therefore I would be an almost optimal candidate to receive a free copy. (To be fair it is certainly not the case that I cannot afford to purchase your book, or even that I would notice the drop in my savings if I did. But if I do not receive a free copy I will almost certainly not read it until it appears in public libraries. More generally speaking, only greater financial need and greater political influence would make me a better candidate for a free copy; if you find enough people with such characteristics, I recommend sending them free copies instead.)

Tom August 2, 2007 at 10:05 am

Why I want the book for free? To minimize my deadweight costs, should I not enjoy it.

Why I shouldn’t get the book? I like your blog, ergo I will very probably like your book. There is an opportunity cost associated with every book purchase. I should stop being a cheapskate, take a risk and buy the book, if only to remunerate you for the views and thoughts you share with your readers, for free, every day.

Nathan Roseberry August 2, 2007 at 10:05 am

A friend and I have started a (small) local microeconomics club. I think your book would be a great book for us to use next. I would like you to send me a copy because I would prefer to not buy the book. We’ll probably be using one of your books soon, but I think that if you send me a copy we’ll use your new book instead of borrowing older books through the library. The benefit to you: at least two additional sales. The benefit to me: free book. The cost: you buy one book, my friends by two books, I have guilt for free riding. Not enough guilt to dissuade me though!

Nathan R.

DB August 2, 2007 at 10:06 am

I should read this book because I want to better internalize the basic principles taught in Econ 101. I am an aspiring economist who works as a research assistant to a several think-tank economists, and perhaps my favorite part of the job is listening in on conversation between these guys during the lunch hour. Corner solutions, transactions costs, refining your model – these and other ideas come up all the time, and that’s when their talking about their families, discussing the news, or giving me advice on what to do after my one-year job here. Another reason I should have the book is that I enjoy proselytizing economics to my English major-type friends, who, since college, have become v. interested in economics and the way of thinking. I’ll loan the book out—it won’t just sit on my shelf. And I should have the book for free because I work as an RA at a well-known think-tank, so my compensation is in the name of the place more than in the paycheck, AND I am starting graduate school in two weeks, upon which my net cash flow will hover around zero for two-years.

daniel August 2, 2007 at 10:07 am

I read your blog regularly, though I don’t comment very often. Thanks for this opportunity. I’m about to enter a PhD program in applied economics and will have very little additional money for the next several years. However, I would read the book (I like the blog, so it follows. . .) and anticipate using reasoning/anecdotes when speaking with people (who are, naturally, often asking me about economics). I might even drive a few additional people to buy the book.

Mike Giberson August 2, 2007 at 10:08 am

Preliminaries: I am planning to buy your book sometime in the next few days. I regularly read MR and often, but not always, agree with you. I blog at and

Case: Sending me a free copy will not waste resources. If you send a copy to someone not willing to pay the current price, resources will be wasted. While I often agree with your positions here, I don’t always. Perhaps given the room to develop your points at greater length in the book, you will be better able to persuade me of your views. Finally, whether or not you are persuasive, I will likely blog about your book, adding to the general “discover you inner economist” buzz.

So, pick me and you (1) won’t waste resources, (2) may persuade me of more of your views, and (3) will further the marketing buzz around your new book.

Jordan Peacock August 2, 2007 at 10:09 am

Much like Lori, I too discovered you through Google Reader’s ‘Thinkers’ pack. I have since trimmed the fat from it, but your blog is one of the few that has stood the test of time. The questions asked, the topics discussed, and the dialogue through the comments are consistently intriguing and engaging.

Nevertheless, to be perfectly honest, I had no intention of buying or reading your book. I hadn’t even particularly thought about it. However, I began to think when you mentioned this contest, that your book would be the perfect means of introduction to you for someone uninitiated in this forum of sorts. There are two or three such people who, for various reasons, do not use RSS readers or browse blogs but are immensely interested in the subjects you discuss. I believe that a single copy, traded around this office, will result in a two or three appreciative readers and potential buyers, as I will continue to keep the copy of an introduction and probably read it myself as well.

I won’t be hurt if I am not chosen but I would be grateful if I am. Thanks for the opportunity.

Philipe Berman August 2, 2007 at 10:10 am

Back in my country, people are discussing if government should impose a unique price on books. Economic illiteracy is a worldwide problem, but the anti-market bias is deepened in regions where people are the protagonists or witness of the evils caused by stupid and irresponsible laws. Even worse, people tend to blame capitalism and globalization for all the problems on the world because they do not read good books. By “good books” I mean those claiming the benefits of markets. So I am sure if I read your book, I could benefit all my classmates by sharing with them my thoughts on your ideas. To answer the reason I should get it free is that I could simply donate it to the library without listening to my inner voice telling me: “they won’t read, they don’t care”.

Mike Saer August 2, 2007 at 10:13 am

I notice that part of the book cover claims to help me “survive my next meeting.” Well then, I desperately need this book. I feel that I’m in one long giant meeting and can’t for the life of me figure out what is being accomplished. So, hopefully, your book will be able to shed some light on the situation. As to why I should get the book for free… I’m a struggling young professional who can’t afford hardcover books and by the time I’m able to check it out in the library, you’ll have already published two more books. Thanks Tyler!

josh August 2, 2007 at 10:18 am

I am very cheap. This indicates that I value money a great deal relative to other things. As such, my unwillingness to simply buy the book does not accurately reflect my desire to own the book. I want the book very much, I just want the money more. Others on this board who claim to be poor students or simply poor for other reasons may also value the money higher than the book; however, due to my own extraordinary cheapness and the fact that there is some small probability that I will buy the book despite this cheapness, indciates that I desire the book more than these other posters relative to other non-monetary goods. In other words, I believe my desire for this book is closer to my own desire for a bundle consisting of respect, love, and physical pleasure than the desire of others for the book and a similar bundle. Furthermore, as happiness likely shows diminishing returns, you should give this book to me as I am not nearly as happy as a college student is likely to be. If your desire is to give away your book for purely altruistic reasons, you should give it to those for whom it will bring the greatest happiness. I believe am one of such people.

Beau August 2, 2007 at 10:21 am

I have a BS in Psychology and work in the Information Security field — two fields which are very different from each other and from Economics. But my experiences in both of these tell me that the most important part of dealing with and controlling the world outside of myself is understanding and appealing to motivations. Your book is about incentives, which seems to me to be a way of manipulating and appealing to motivations. I think that I could get a lot of use from learning more about these techniques. When I am done with it I plan to pass it along to someone else who would get as much out of it as I hope to.

Charlie August 2, 2007 at 10:24 am

Hi Tyler,

I’m starting my second year in the PhD program at UC Berkeley. This fall, I’ll be teaching for the first time and have been reading some textbooks and popular press econ books for ideas to incorporate into my sections. I would love to use examples from your book (I think that I already have a couple from posts on MR). Hence, I need to get a copy of your book (I looked for it at my local B&N yesterday, forgetting when it came out).

Of course, I’m a lowly grad student and your book does cost more than a case of Cup of Noodles. Plus, I’m not incorporating the externalities generated by sharing the examples with my students into my valuation.

Lastly, what better way is there to start my teaching career than with an uplifting gift from Tyler Cowen?



Justin August 2, 2007 at 10:31 am

Hi Tyler,

Even though I’m kinka late to the comments party going on, I think I should receive the book because it’s a pretty amazing incentive to write a comment to receive a book.

Isn’t that the subject of your new book? Incentives?

Have a nice day!

Rich August 2, 2007 at 10:34 am

After attempting to contrive a reason for requesting a free copy, I realized I don’t really want one… I’m perfectly happy to pay for it. Why? First, I’ll be supporting you and your writing, which is a worthy cause. Second, I am in the wonderful position of being able to afford it, and others are undoubtedly more deserving. Third, my demand for your book is highly inelastic; free books should go to those burdened with greater elasticity.

Please do not send me a copy of your book.

Incidentally, here is some advice for how to channel charitable impulses like these.

Alex August 2, 2007 at 10:35 am

Because when a computer geek realizes he had chosen the wrong carrier and his subconscious keeps reminding him about how cool is the field of economics and every good book makes him feel guilty……….is time to give him a second change or at least a free book :-D.

Alex Perez

John August 2, 2007 at 10:39 am

I have a big confession — I read your secret blog while mistakenly thinking my brother had pre-ordered a copy of your book for me, though he had not. When the Amazon package arrived last night, it only held one copy (his). I snapped at him in a serious way, because he had told me that he had pre-ordered two copies — one for him, one for me. The lout made a cheat and a liar out of me. (I have to wonder if I had valued my reputation enough, shouldn’t I have ordered them myself?) Tyler, let me say that I wouldn’t have visited your secret blog otherwise, and I certainly wouldn’t have told you that I had pre-ordered your book in an email to you. I am very guilt-ridden. As gracious as you may be, I certainly don’t deserve a free copy.

Paul Neubecker August 2, 2007 at 10:45 am

Admittedly, I just discovered this blog yesterday after seeing a mention of it on when I was reading about restaurants, my true interest. I am an undergraduate student at Fordham U so sorry George Mason can screw (although I did pull for you guys in the tournament.) Although some of your ideas that were summarized in the article that led me to this blog, I am interested enough to read on, but by nature of being in college too cheap to actually buy the book, sorry.

As for what my reason should be to get the free book? Well, I could sit here at work and ponder this and try to come up with some deep and philosophical revelation that might sway a “cultural billionaire† economist as yourself, but being a more practical accounting major myself, I’ll just take the usual core class philosophy paper approach and say “What is a reason really? Do any of us have reasons? What is the true relationship between cause and effect? What came first the effect or the cause? Chicken or Egg?†

My guess is this won’t work, but its usually enough to get my paper done in an hour without exerting any real effort and get a B so I can go get plastered in a dump with the same loud obnoxious people that I make promises to at least once a week that I will be their best friends forever and that we will one day conquer the world and fix all the problems.

Hope you at least laugh, and no you can’t get the last 2 minutes of your life back and that kind of seems to be your whole thing, time being the truly invaluable commodity – so maybe the jokes on both of us?


Paul Neubecker August 2, 2007 at 10:50 am

Admittedly, I just discovered this blog yesterday after seeing a mention of it on when I was reading about restaurants, my true interest. I am an undergraduate student at Fordham U so sorry George Mason can screw (although I did pull for you guys in the tournament.) Although some of your ideas that were summarized in the article that led me to this blog, I am interested enough to read on, but by nature of being in college too cheap to actually buy the book, sorry.

As for what my reason should be to get the free book? Well, I could sit here at work and ponder this and try to come up with some deep and philosophical revelation that might sway a “cultural billionaire† economist as yourself, but being a more practical accounting major myself, I’ll just take the usual core class philosophy paper approach and say “What is a reason really? Do any of us have reasons? What is the true relationship between cause and effect? What came first the effect or the cause? Chicken or Egg?†

My guess is this won’t work, but its usually enough to get my paper done in an hour without exerting any real effort and get a B so I can go get plastered in a dump with the same loud obnoxious people that I make promises to at least once a week that I will be their best friends forever and that we will one day conquer the world and fix all the problems.

Hope you at least laugh, and no you can’t get the last 2 minutes of your life back and that kind of seems to be your whole thing, time being the truly invaluable commodity – so maybe the jokes on both of us?


Ray Hafner August 2, 2007 at 10:51 am

I would like a free copy of your book but I do not need it. I am well aware of all the positive effects of increasing the minimum wage. It should be $12 per hour. I already know the benefits of tariffs and protectionism and the many ways in which these policies keep Americans employed and wealthy. I work tirelessly to undermine free markets and believe that auctions were invented by Voldemort. An expansionary monetary policy is good for the poor because it allows the government to provide services.

See, you could send me your book, but I’m already as educated as possible. Thanks much.

Telnar August 2, 2007 at 10:53 am

I don’t believe that you should give me a copy for free. In fact, I can only come up with two types of reasons why you should do that, and neither applies:

1) You might believe that giving me the book produced a net gain for you in excess of the cost.

2) You might believe that giving me the book produced a gain for me which was larger than the net cost to you (including any benefits you get from giving me the book, but discounting my gain my whatever model you use to internalize changes in the utility of strangers from your actions).

(1) Seems clearly false. I pre-ordered a copy, so I’m clearly willing to buy one, and it’s unlikely that giving it to me will generate goodwill which is of value to you (e.g. making it more likely that I’ll favorably review it or read it faster). For most Americans, the value of the time required to read a book is so much greater than the cost of that book that a free book should not significantly alter their behavior.

(2) also seems false since I’m not so severely budget/credit constrained that I’m unable to buy a copy in the short run in spite of valuing it above the purchase price (and if I didn’t value it above the purchase price, then my response to (1) argues that it’s unlikely that there would be a gain from you spending the purchase price to give me a copy relative to just giving me the money you would have spent on it).

Sergio Salgado August 2, 2007 at 10:55 am

Mr Cowen

I was writing the reason why I should recieve the book for free, when a realized that it wont be shipped to Chile even if I write you if first place.

Bad look for living in Chile


meep August 2, 2007 at 10:57 am

Ooops, my real name is meep, actually. That’s what all my friends (even my husband) calls me. My full name is Mary Pat Campbell.

Abe August 2, 2007 at 11:01 am

I would like your book for free because of a combination of three factors: 1) I read many, many books, 2) I am known amongst my social circle as an avid and knowledeable reader and 3) my wife has, owing to factor #1, restricted my book purchases of late.

Since it is likely that I will be unable to purchase the book due to the restictions mention in Factor #3, I will be unable to recommend it to others, who as mentioned in Factor #2, would normally be influenced by such a suggestion.

James August 2, 2007 at 11:02 am

Mr. Cowen,

I believe you should send me a free copy of your book so I may spread your wisdom of to my friends and family. In this day and age where people only believe what the media tells them I think it important to break away, ask question and give answers; which I believe you do very well. I believe I should get this book for free because otherwise I would not read your book until I could get it from my public library. This might not seem like a reason not to send me a free book but waiting will only dilute may hunger for information in this field, and I can assure you that I will inform and lend your knowledge and book to friends and family bringing a greater awareness of you work.

Thank You For Your Time,

James Tullar

Sanjay Nair August 2, 2007 at 11:07 am

Professor Cowen-

I should get the book because I’m a student and not an economist.

I should get the book free because I’m a student and not an economist.

Lee August 2, 2007 at 11:09 am

Although I have been a loyal Marginal Revolution reader for a couple of years now, I think you should send me a free book because frankly, this is only my second favorite blog of yours.

I’d love to say that I’m most impressed by your ability to discuss economics in everyday life, to find occasional examples of the absurdity of government intervention, or to explain our most challenging public policy decisions in a way that economists and non-economists alike can understand. However, any such statements would be lies. The truth is, when I think of “Tyler Cowen,† those qualities are always a distant second in my mind. I’m much more enamored of your Ethnic Dining Guide, and as a DC resident, I have a hard time thinking cerebrally when I could be thinking digestively, so to speak. I’m worried that I’ve been so distracted by eating Thai X-ing, Udupi Palace, or any of the other fabulous places you’ve sent me that I’m forgetting to pay attention to your impressive knowledge of economics. With a free book full of your insightful economic commentary, I might be able to convince myself once again that a brain full of economic knowledge is at least an excellent complement to a stomach full of food.

Chris Bertram August 2, 2007 at 11:11 am

Though since I am in the UK, I see that I don’t qualify anyway.

Mike Migs August 2, 2007 at 11:14 am

You see I have a skewed sense of reality†¦ In my mind I have deified myself. Now while my skewed sense of reality may not be shared I have deiced to create a “wikialitiy† (Thanks Mr. Colbert) that is reality defined by wikipedia†¦ Now if Wikipedia = Truth, My skewed Reality = Truth there fore I am a deity. As praise I would accept a free book.

(If nothing else I hope I made you laugh heheh)

Andrew Dane August 2, 2007 at 11:21 am

Mr Cowen:

This fall I will be returning to Harvard college as a junior economics concentrator. Unlike the vast majority of my peers, I come from a family whose gross annual income is under $50,000.

Consider the gift of your book to me as the most efficient transfer of this kind possible: one in which a person (me) unable to purchase said book is most able to extract the information from it. I doubt that for any other person whom you could give your book the surplus gained would be as great. I will be receiving an item from which I will benefit greatly: a book that will compliment my school work while surely helping me reach deeper, think more critically about and more thoroughly understand the field of economics. All this from something I would likely be unable to afford on my own, but it doesn’t stop there. Arguably I am in the single best position to further/apply the teachings in you book, being not only at one of the world’s top institutions, but also a member of the next generation of economists who will ultimately refute or accept the writings of Tyler Cowen.

What do you say?
Harvard C/O 2009

Curt Garner August 2, 2007 at 11:22 am

I have two good reasons why I’d be a good recipient.

1. I’ve already purchased the book myself, so giving me a copy would not cut into future sales.
2. I want it to give to a friend who I know will not buy the book himeself, but is likely to read and benefit from it if I give it to him. Your ideas will be going not just to a random bookstore purchaser, but to a reader whom I’ve targeted as one likely appreciate your ideas more than most. He is bright, curious, holds a significant policy-level position in government. In my judgment, his work stands a strong chance of being impacted by some of your ideas — particularly those in your first few chapters.

Samson August 2, 2007 at 11:28 am

Your book is on my wishlist, but I do not have any rich uncles, so that list is something I load up on my screen when I’m in need of daydreaming. I simply cannot afford to buy any books but expensive graduate economics textbooks over the next few months.

I could attempt a cost-benefit analysis to argue that there is a net gain for you if you send me a free copy. Yes, if you like my reasoning, you will derive some utility from sending a copy, perhaps more than you would have from the $17. I suspect receiving a deluge of pleading comments makes it worth the ~$315. Certainly, the losers are subsidizing the efforts of the winners. Nevertheless, i cannot argue for your benefit without resorting to the silver bullet: just as with free trade, it’s a positive and good interaction since it’s voluntary on both sides.

If you happen to have an anonymously altruistic utility function, that you care about the marginal change in my utility, just know that i haven’t read a good book in a while. furthermore, i’ve been anticipating reading your book, so the increase in my welfare, of which you will receive some multiple, is higher than it would be for just about any other book right now.

I share what I read with friends and colleagues; the last time I was excited about a similar book (Freakonomics), I convinced a first-year seminar (like freshman english in college) professor to have it on the reading list. If your book is as good as you imply, I will happily, and sincerely, sing its praises. And there would be no better gimmick than to explain how Tyler Cowen gave me the book for free. Now who’d believe that an ordinary economist would give something away for free! Hence, you, and your book, they will say to themselves, must be extraordinary.

Samson “Hoping for a Free Lunch” Alva

MW August 2, 2007 at 11:32 am

Crap. I ordered it just yesterday.

Grant Rauscher August 2, 2007 at 11:35 am

Having just read my friends’ copies of Freakonomics and The Undercover Economist, I find myself at a bit of an impasse; Economics is a subject that fascinates me in its breadth, its means, and its implications. However, the lure of my current Government major and the politics of these years currently has the edge in deciding my educational path.
I want to learn and read more about subjects involving Economics to see if I should switch to the bright and dismal science down at the University of Texas at Austin, but I do not have the money to purchase almost anything and still afford to pay for used Business textbooks for the fall semester.
I hope that you will help me in furthering my education.
Grant Rauscher

Eric August 2, 2007 at 11:37 am

Wow, offer a free book and they come screaming out of the woodwork…

70 individuals respond in less than 2 hours for an economics book within a blog on economics topics. Using the terminology of my work: this is a high functioning large group.

Prof. Cowen, I already ordered DYIE, so I’m not requesting a free book. But may I have your blog traffic data for research I’m doing?

Jack Sparrow August 2, 2007 at 11:42 am

“I am very interested in the idea of what it means to have a reason.”

I like the link to Derek Parfit. I am currently reading his book Reasons and Persons, and don’t
like his writing style much, but I realise its good book. Can you tell us what you think of his

tim loveless August 2, 2007 at 11:43 am

i am a high school economics teacher. most students agree with thomas carlyle’s opinion that economics is the “dismal science”. the recent spate of books disproving this theory [freakonomics, the armchair economist, etc] has been quite helpful in changing student attitudes towards economics. i hope that your book will be helpful in continuing that trend. by sending me a free copy of your book, your ideas will be exposed to about 60 student who would otherwise be ignorant of even your existence. this may even lead to increased sales of you book, not just from my students, but also from their peers who may hear what interesting ideas are contained therein. despite my unconventional grammar [and possibly spelling] i do think of myself as a good teacher. your book could be the catalyst that inspires a new generation of economist. what more could you ask for in return for a simple free copy? it is a small price to pay for the chance to inspire.

Sriharai Prabhu August 2, 2007 at 11:49 am

Hi Tyler,

I’m about to begin as a middle school math teacher in Newark, NJ through Teach for America. In my experience summer teaching at our training institute, I found that nothing captivates students’ interest so much as my Freakonomics examples, as students would ensue in passionate debates on the subjects. As I’m on a teacher’s salary (and a recent college graduate) I don’t have a lot of expendable income. By giving my classroom a free copy, you would be sparking the interest of under-privileged young kids who would get a firsthand glimpse of what people get to study in college. Also, it would be a great way to introduce basic statistics and math concepts and show how these numbers can be applied to real life. By giving my classroom the book, your ideas would be reaching up to 120 impressionable young minds who may have never been exposed to such ideas before.

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