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Publisher's Summary

Are you happy in your marriage—except for those weekly spats over who empties the dishwasher more often? Not a single complaint—unless you count the fact that you haven’t had sex since the Bush administration? Prepared to be there in sickness and in health—so long as it doesn’t mean compromising? Be honest: Ever lay awake thinking how much more fun married life used to be?

If you’re a member of the human race, then the answer is probably “yes” to all of the above. Marriage is a mysterious, often irrational business. Making it work till death do you part—or just till the end of the week—isn’t always easy. And no one ever handed you a user’s manual.

Until now. With Spousonomics, Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson offer something new: a clear-eyed, rational route to demystifying your disagreements and improving your relationship. The key, they propose, is to think like an economist.

That’s right: an economist.

Economics is the study of resource allocation, after all. How do we—as partners in a society, a business, or a marriage—spend our limited time, money, and energy? And how do we allocate these resources most efficiently? Spousonomics answers these questions by taking classic economic concepts and applying them to the domestic front. For example:

  • Arguing all night isn’t a sign of a communication breakdown; you’re just extremely loss-averse—and by refusing to give an inch, you’re risking even greater losses.
  • Stay late at the office, or come home for dinner? Be honest about your mother-in-law, or keep your mouth shut and smile? Let the cost-benefit analysis make the call.
  • Getting your spouse to clean the gutters isn’t a matter of nagging or guilt-tripping; it’s a question of finding the right incentives.
  • Being “too busy” to exercise or forgetting your anniversary (again): your overtaxed memory and hectic schedule aren’t to blame—moral hazard is.
  • And when it comes to having more sex: merely a question of supply and demand!

©2011 Jenny Anderson & Paula Szuchman (P)2011 Random House

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4 'Spousonomics' Surprises and 1 Critique

Surprise 1 - Great Read:Spousonomics was a marginal book choice for me. It sat on my Audible Wish List for a while, and I was only lukewarm about buying it. To my surprise, Spousonomics is smart, funny, and informative. I'm always a little weary of journalists popularizing academic disciplines (too much fawning, too little critiques), but Szuchman and Anderson are fluent writers and accomplished students of the dismal science.

Surprise 2 - Economics Learning: The behavioral and micro economic principals discussed in Spousonomics will familiar to most of you, but thinking about economic concepts in the context of marriage is a great way to engage in some active learning. We think about our relationships all the time, and thinking about our relationships from the perspective of sunk costs, loss aversion, marginal costs, and supply and demand makes both the economic principles, and the relationships, seems more interesting.

Surprise 3 - Under-Buzzed: Nobody told me to read Spousonomics. (I'm telling everyone I meet, including strangers, my parents, my spouse, and even unmarried teenagers - go figure). Have you hear any buzz about this book? Maybe we have a collective Freakonomics fatigue? Maybe I'm just not spending enough time with the right people.

Surprise 4 - Universal Marriages: All of us in long-term relationships seem to be exactly the same. We seem to all have the same issues (sex, money, work, real estate, in-laws, etc. etc.) Very validating.

Critique 1: Spousonomics is the economic marriage book for the "The Bobos in Paradise" crowd. Knowledge worker marriages. Don't expect much diversity beyond the world of journalists, lawyers, professors, web designers, advertising people etc. in the profiles. Would have been fine if the authors owned up to the shortcomings of the qualitative methodology utilized in the research that went into the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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So...You know how you hate spending time together?

What would have made Spousonomics better?

This book is based on the assumption that men hate listening to their wives and that women hate having (or giving) sex to their husbands- this is a long collection of trades such as (I am not making this up) I, as the man, will listen to you talk for X amount of time but in exchange I want X amount of sex. This extends to things like chores, money and the car. This is not a loving relationship- this is a business relationship. I was disgusted that couples actually see things like affectionate communication, cuddling and sex as chores to be endured and recorded for compensation. There are other lessons in the book but after 3 hours that was the basic formula- I will give you this and you will give me that- and let's not complicate this exchange with love, this is business

Any additional comments?

If you really think that you need to give your man sex so that he will listen to you about your day at work than save your money and get a book on divorce because that is just sick

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fully Recommend This Book

Witty, relatable, and extremely helpful. This WILL help your Marriage.

My husband and I both listened to the book, and started to make changes immediately to our approach to household chores, communication and how we supported one another.

Wonderful glimpse into the psychological reactions we have without thought and how to achieve the best outcomes for both people.

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Excellend Book . Highly Recommended

definitely learnt a bit of economics and human relationships. would recommend to anyone who wants to take an objective stock of a relationship

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Entertaining, informative, thought provoking

Great way of connecting economic thought with domestic bliss. This is a book to keep in my library for future reference

0 of 1 people found this review helpful