August 3, 2007
News & Opinion: Riding the Freakonomics Wave.
In Discover Your Inner Economist, Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University, talks readers through economic rationales for dating (flowers work because they are expensive), charity (give to those who aren't asking) and eating well (at expensive restaurants, avoid dishes that rely too heavily on top-quality raw ingredients). But sales of other new titles that aim to explain weird phenomena in economic terms don't bode well for Mr. Cowen's book: More Sex Is Safer Sex, by Steven E. Landsburg, and The Economic Naturalist, by Robert H. Frank, have sold just 12,000 copies combined since their spring releases according to data from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks approximately 70% of retail book sales. Meanwhile, an expanded edition of "Freakonomics," which came out in October, has sold 119,000 copies since January. In his book, Mr. Cowen describes a potential explanation: a marketing principle called "scarcity of attention."
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.