"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Parentonomics: An Economist Dad Looks at Parenting by Joshua Gans

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Summary: A blog expanded into book form by an Australian economist professor, who tries to explain economic principles through parenting examples. 

This is an odd parenting memoir. It's not quite an economics books, but more or a parenting memoir. Joshua Gans refers to his children as Child No. 1, Child No. 2 and Child No. 3. I can't tell if his "children's mother" is his current wife, an ex-wife, an unmarried domestic partner or if this is some social experiment or Australian cultural norm. Names, even pseudonyms, would have humanized this book a little more. I was especially turned off when Gans explores the incentives to parents of letting a child "cry it out" and the economic principles that child is exploring by night waking.

Gans touches on toilet training, labor and delivery, breast-feeding, kids birthday parties, car seats and safety, and punishment. His unique take on each of the situations is sometimes funny, sometimes disturbing (Is it cultural or a different style of parenting? - I don't know) but always thought-provoking. Am I glad I read it? Yes. Would I read more by him? Doubtful. As a writer, his style may be better suited to his blog, as I found it a hard book to get through.

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