Scarcity The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 11/4/2014
  • Publisher: Picador

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In this provocative book based on cutting-edge research, Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir show that scarcity creates a distinct psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need. Busy people fail to manage their time efficiently for the same reasons the poor and those maxed out on credit cards fail to manage their money. The dynamics of scarcity reveal why dieters find it hard to resist temptation, why students and busy executives mismanage their time, and why the same sugarcane farmers are smarter after harvest than before.

Once we start thinking in terms of scarcity, the problems of modern life come into sharper focus, and Scarcity reveals not only how it leads us astray but also how individuals and organizations can better manage scarcity for greater satisfaction and success.

Author Biography

Sendhil Mullainathan, a professor of economics at Harvard University, is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” and conducts research on development economics, behavioral economics, and corporate finance. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Eldar Shafir is the William Stewart Tod Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He conducts research in cognitive science, judgment and decision-making, and behavioral economics. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part One: The Scarcity Mindset
     1. Focusing and Tunneling 19
     2. The Bandwidth Tax 39
Part Two: Scarcity Creates Scarcity
     3. Packing and Slack 69
     4. Expertise 87
     5. Borrowing and Myopia 105
     6. The Scarcity Trap 123
     7. Poverty 147
Part Three: Designing for Scarcity
     8. Improving the Lives of the Poor 167
     9. Managing Scarcity in Organizations 183
     10. Scarcity in Everyday Life 205
Conclusion 227
Notes 235
Ac­know­ledg­ments 277

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