TL; DR: Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much
Book: Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means Too Much
Authors: Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir
I enjoy reads that deal with psychology because I really believe we are a product of the limits we impose on ourselves. It’s good to be introspective and understand how our decisions in life can be shaped by fears, ingrained habits and our lack of understanding of our personas to outsiders.
Scarcity deals with… scarcity. The book is really about those who have less to work with than the Donald Trumps and Li Ka Shings of the world, and how it affects our mind when there is a perceived lack of resources. Mullainathan and Shafir explain that it is really a matter of concentration bandwidth – how is someone who is trying just to make ends meet able to carve out their long time plan to own a business or become a millionaire? How does scarcity affect your day to day decisions? Say I need my car brakes repaired for $1500, a decision that may cost me my life. How am I thinking when I have the money versus not?
I would hesitate to recommend this book – clocking in at 302 pages with some great examples – as it is really just one very solid idea that can be summed up in one sentence: we are not a product of our circumstances and we need to understand our real risk and goals. If the quality of a product is an issue, don’t get the cheap, lesser version. If love and dates are difficult to find and you’re getting older, don’t settle for a shitty alternative just because you’re worried you’ll be alone. If you’re dieting, your mindset to your goals will be MUCH different if you’re starving yourself – and a detriment to reaching them. It is a balance between your goals, risk and understanding how your mind works when you feel like you’re missing some sort of advantage in your life. The goals and needs don’t change, so make sure you don’t either and don’t succumb to scarcity.
“Scarcity ain’t a thang.”
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