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Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes


Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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!


Spousonomics cuts through the noise of emotions, egos, and tired relationship clichés. Here, at last, is a smart, funny, refreshingly realistic, and deeply researched book that brings us one giant leap closer to solving the age-old riddle of a happy, healthy marriage.

About the Author

Praise for Spousonomics

Spousonomics is one of the most delightful, clever, and helpful books about marriage I’ve ever seen.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed


"Spousonomics lets you peer into other people's relationships, with valuable lessons for your own. A fun and breezy read for anyone who wants to be both smarter about economics and wiser about love."

– Steven Landsburg, author of The Armchair Economist and More Sex is Safer Sex

"Spousonomics offers couples real life, common sense solutions for some of the knottiest conflicts regularly experienced in marriage. Written with great wit and understanding, it is both very helpful and a pleasure to read. I recommend it highly."

– John. W. Jacobs, M.D., author of All You Need Is Love And Other Lies About Marriage.


“Practical, compelling, and hilarious, Spousonomics highlights economics-based strategies for couples coping with the inevitable annoyances of a relationship. How can you coax him to do chores without nagging? Or change her mind about important decisions, quit yelling at the kids, or step away from the computer? The minute I finished this book, I started to experiment on my husband.”—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

"Spousonomics delivers: Two accomplished journalists master a fascinating body of research I'd been hoping to learn more about, then weave it into a narrative that's a pure pleasure to read.  Bravo."

– Robert H. Frank, Professor of Economics at Cornell University, and author of The Economic Naturalist and The Winner-Take-All Society

"Spousonomics is a brilliant and innovative book. And if you’re a rational consumer, you really have to buy it: A few bucks to improve your marriage? That’s just good decision making."

– A.J. Jacobs, bestselling author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically

"This book – by suggesting that people are not rational, but irrational – turns our thinking about relationships on its head. A stimulating, must read for all of us who want to better understand and improve our love lives."

– John Gottman, bestselling author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

"Comparing marriage to a business doesn't sound very romantic. But in Spousonomics journalists Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson make a convincing - and creative - case for how the dismal science can help reconcile marital disputes."--The Washington Post

"Marriage is really a business venture, not a love story. It requires investment, work and lots of organisation This is the premise of a forthcoming book (inspired by the authors’ successful blog), Spousonomics: Or How to Maximize Returns on the Biggest Investment of Your Life, by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson....Apply economic principles to marriage and you will be happier is the message — and the more you think about it, the more it makes perfect sense.– Times of London

"The book is grounded in solid research, makes economics entertaining, and might just save a marriage or two..."--James Pressley, Bloomberg

"Happy is the student who learns economics through the teachings of Szuchman and Anderson....You can diagnose every argument or describe every unexpected gift in academic, economic terminology."

Product Details

Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes
Szuchman, Paula
Anderson, Jenny
Random House
Conflict Resolution
Love & Romance
Economics -- Sociological aspects.
Marriage -- Psychological aspects.
Family Relationships
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.56 x 6.37 x 1.24 in 1.36 lb

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Relationships

Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes Used Hardcover
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