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Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation [Kindle Edition]

Tyler Cowen
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Praise for Average is Over

“A buckle-your-seatbelts, swiftly moving tour of the new economic landscape.” - Kirkus Reviews

"Cowen has a single core strength...his taste for observations that are genuinely enlightening, interesting, and underappreciated." - The Daily Beast

A bracing new book" - The Economist

"Tyler Cowen's new book Average is Over makes an excellent followup to his previous work The Great Stagnation and I expect it will set the intellectual agenda in much the way its predecessor did." - Slate

"The author roves broadly and interestingly to make his case, outlining radical economic transformations that lie in store for us, predicting the rise and fall of cities depending on their capacity to adapt to this machine-driven world and offering policy prescriptions for preserving American prosperity." - The Wall Street Journal

"Audacious and fascinating." - The Financial Times

"Thomas Friedman - move over. There's a new guy on the block." - Tampa Bay Tribune

"Eminently readable." - The Brookings Institute

"Cowen has a rare ability to present fundamental economic questions without all of the complexity and jargon that make many economics books inaccessible to the lay reader." - The American Interest


Praise for The Great Stagnation

“As Cowen makes clear, many of this era’s technological breakthroughs produce enormous happiness gains, but surprisingly little additional economic activity” —David Brooks, The New York Times

“One of the most talked-about books among economists right now.” —Renee Montagne, Morning Edition, NPR

“Tyler Cowen may very well turn out to be this decade’s Thomas Friedman.” —Kelly Evans, The Wall Street Journal

“Perhaps it’s the mark of a good book that after you’ve read it, you begin to see evidence for it’s thesis in lots of different areas… it’s well worth the time and the money.” —Ezra Klein, The Washington Post

“Cowen says over the last 300 years the U.S. has eaten all the low-hanging fruit. We’ve exhausted the easy pickings of abundant land, technological advance, and basic education for the masses. We thought the low-hanging fruit would never run out. It did, but we pushed ahead. And thus Cowen’s understated but penetrating summation of the financial crisis: “We thought we were richer than we were.” —Bret Swanson, Forbes

"The Great Stagnation has become the most debated nonfiction book so far this year." - David Brooks, The New York Times

"Cowen's book...will have a profound impact on the way people think about the last thirty years." - Ryan Avent,

Praise for An Economist Gets Lunch

“Part Economic history… part guide to getting a better meal at home or a restaurant. Renowned economist…Professor Cowen is an expert on the economics of culture and the arts.” —Damon Darlin, The New York Times Dining Section

“[a] Calvin Trillin-like ode to tamale stands and ethnic food, the more exotic the better” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review Section

“If one’s goal is to eat well, Mr. Cowen’s rules are golden.” —Graeme Wood, The Wall Street Journal

An Economist Gets Lunch is a mind-bending book for non-economists.” —USA Today


The groundbreaking follow-up to the New York Times bestseller The Great Stagnation
The United States continues to mint more millionaires and billionaires than any country ever. Yet, since the great recession, three quarters of the jobs created here pay only marginally more than minimum wage. Why is there growth only at the top and the bottom?
Renowned economist and bestselling author Tyler Cowen explains that high earners are taking ever more advantage of machine intelligence and achieving ever-better results. Meanwhile, nearly every business sector relies less and less on manual labor, and that means a steady, secure life somewhere in the middle—average—is over.
In Average is Over, Cowen lays out how the new economy works and identifies what workers and entrepreneurs young and old must do to thrive in this radically new economic landscape.


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Lesenswertes Buch eines genialen Ökonomen 29. Juni 2014
Von Aurum
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
In der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung wurden sowohl das Buch als auch der Autor empfohlen. Daher bedurfte es keiner großen Überlegungen, mir dieses Buch zu kaufen. Meine Erwartungen wurden in jeder Hinsicht erfüllt. Die Auseinandersetzung mit den Problemen der Lohnentwicklung, Gewinnern und Verlierern auf dem Arbeitsmarkt und des Wiedererlernens der Bildung/Ausbildung u.v.m. ist auch für den vorgebildeten Laien in verständlicher Form geführt.
Wer sich jenseits trockener Statistiken mit brennenden Themen der Wirtschaft beschäftigen möchte, kommt an Tyler Coven nicht vorbei.
Dies ist mit ein Grund, mir auch die weiteren bisher von ihm erschienenen Bücher zu kaufen.
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1.0 von 5 Sternen ... 28. August 2014
Von Sevk
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This book is nothing but crap.
I don't really want to mention details, it would be a waste of the time of both of us.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.7 von 5 Sternen  141 Rezensionen
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4.0 von 5 Sternen The Middle Class is Dead - An Economist Predicts the Future 24. September 2013
Von Patrick M. Obriant - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Tyler Cowen writes the terrific Marginal Revolution blog [...], teaches economics at GMU, and in his spare time writes books. In "Average is Over" Cowen examines the trends of the last 30 years including the introduction of smart technology, polarization of high and low wage earners, outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, wage stagnation. Cowen uses the prizm of chess, chess software, and chess software games as both analogy and predictor for future of how technology and technology / human interfaces will evolving and projecting these trends forward into the next 20 - 30 years.

Given the trends from today Cowen's "Average is Over" makes a strong and highly plausible argument for a likely American future. Perhaps even the most likely future.
The good news -
The already expensive, livable, and elite cities become even more so. For those self motivated, hard workers from anywhere in the world and nearly any economic background, the future looks extremely bright. Their tools and access to smarter training gets better and better. Online classes are easy to access worldwide. Smart technology gets smarter becomes "genius" but still works far better with people than without. Productivity (and wages) for these top 10-15% continues to increase. Even if you cannot work with "genius computers" managing, hiring, training, assisting, or coaching those who can will still be lucrative.

The not so good -
What does the rest of Cowen's America 2033 look like?
Older and poorer. Invest in micro housing and trailer parks in Texas. Maybe it won't be so bad. [...] or maybe it will be.[...]
Cowen correctly points out the huge pitfall in online education. "Online education can thus be extremely egalitarian, but it is egalitarian in a funny way. It can catapult the smart, motivated, but nonelite individuals over the members of the elite communities. It does not, however, push the uninterested student to the head of the pack." The remaining 85% stagnate albeit with access to cheap fun and cheap education. Many of the 85% will live quite well as they benefit from the near free services but others will fall by the wayside.

But maybe it does not have to be this way. Cowen himself points to a potential way out. Education has typically failed to motivate. And even the best online courses are probably even worse than most classroom teachers. "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." There are however a few coaches who have demonstrated the ability to motivate. [...] I never met Coach Fitz but I certainly met mine as a lazy 8th grader on the football field in the form of a 5 foot 4 inch Woody Hayes disciple named John Short. Could this be bottled and taught? The future for your kids and the rest of us American 85 percenters may depend on motivators like these.

What the end of average will look like to colleges.

"It will be a brutal age of good schools and also mediocre schools undercutting each other in terms of price and thus tuition revenue. If it costs $200 to serve a class to another student, how long will it be before an educational institution undercuts a competitor charging $2,000 for those credits?"

This is a highly original book. I strongly recommend this especially for a high school senior or college freshmen.
123 von 148 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen some insights, some rambling, and some speculation 13. September 2013
Von Someone is Wrong on the Internet - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
The real insight here is that the key skill in our economy is and will be figuring how to use computers creatively, even if you don't work in "IT" as such. Cowen's paradigm example is "freestyle chess," which involves using sophisticated programs (or anything else you want) to figure out the best moves. Analogously, professionals rely a great deal on web searches to supplement their expertise, economists now focus on using computers to do creative things with data sets, etc. in my own job as a lawyer, I know I've managed to get out of some tight situations with a few Excel tricks and a knack for database searches. So, this part of the book seems about right.

If only he had left it at that. Larded on top of this insight is a lot of rambling that just reiterates the insight over and over again. Even worse, Cowen indulges in a lot of weird futurologist speculations that will probably sound silly in a few years, like the hype about virtual reality in the 90s.

Cowen's main thesis -- soon, the haves will be super-productive computer virtuosos, and the have-nots will be everyone else -- is part and parcel of this futurology. My response is: who knows? For example, he doesn't really explain why the have-nots won't just redistribute away the ridiculous earnings of the computer virtuosos. He does mutter a few words about how it's hard to tax the rich, though he doesn't actually provide a review of the data. So, you're still left with: who knows?
53 von 64 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Working Together with the Smart Machines 13. September 2013
Von Steve T - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In Average is Over, Tyler Cowen describes a future in which smart machines help drive us beyond the technological plateau he has written about previously. Much of the book is focused on what jobs will be like in the age of "mechanized intelligence" and robots.

Cowen thinks the answer is that people and machines will collaborate. In the future, people with strong technical skills (programmers, etc.) will do well, but there will also be strong opportunities for people who can leverage smart machines in more general ways. The most important qualities for success will be conscientiousness and attention to detail and comfort with (and a willingness to listen to advice provided by) technology. The ability to use technology effectively as a marketing tool may be the biggest opportunity of all.

Cowen believes technology will also be used to intensively monitor productivity and maybe even assign ratings similar to today's credit scores. Those who don't do well from the start, may find it very difficult to recover. Freestyle chess is used to illustrate the type of machine-human teamwork Cowen envisions, and I found this very interesting, although I am not a chess player.

I found the book to be a bit depressing in some of its predictions. Cowen sees increasing inequality as many people are simply left behind. He also sees more very wealthy people. The top of the income distribution will gain even more influence, and won't support an expanded safety net. Cowen does not foresee a popular uprising because the country is getting older. So what happens to the people who are left behind? Low cost living arrangements will evolve, perhaps even shantytowns or tent cities (which we have already). Public services will be substandard but homes will be cheap. There will also be lots of cheap or free forms of entertainment.

While I personally hope that Cowen's vision does not come to pass (at least in its entirely), I found the book to be a very useful take on the future. As Tyler would say himself: interesting throughout.
34 von 42 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Important Idea, perhaps a little repetitive 16. September 2013
Von Nicholas - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Review Courtesy of [...]

"The key questions will be: Are you good at working with intelligent machines or not? Are your skills a complement to the skills of the computer, or is the computer doing better without you? Worst of all, are you competing against the computer?"

If you were paired with a machine to do a task, could together you do better than the machine alone? For Cowen, the answer matters more than you might think - with intelligent machines, he believes, lies the answer to The Great Stagnation he has worried about in the past.

There are two types of people in the world, he argues; those who can increase the productivity of machines, and those who will be replaced by them. One group will earn increasingly higher wages and rewards; the other will earn relatively less and less. Average is over, and though machines won't replace human labour entirely, as the Luddites feared, they will completely change how labour is allocated.

This is not to say that computer programmers are the only ones who will make money, of course. Rather, Cowen thinks of working with machines more broadly; using the automatic checkouts in supermarkets, for example, or adapting your smartphone to improve workflow. It is these teams of humans and machines, he argues, that can really make our productivity soar. This is true of life in general, he says, not just the workplace, whether it be relationships, hobbies, or education.

It's a provocative idea, particularly in light of today's concerns over inequality. The Economist this week, for example, quotes Daimler as describing their employees as "robot farming" because the workers are there to shepherd the robots as they do the work; presumably the ratio of sheep to shepherds is diminishing. Cowen has a point; the highest payoff activities in life will always be those that cannot be done by another person or machine.

The rest of the book is largely reiterating this core point, giving different applications and extensions. Those who find it interesting will likely read the rest with interest, while others may find some of the chapters repetitive. Nevertheless, Cowen makes and interesting - and important - point, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Great ideas in a flawed book 23. Oktober 2013
Von Stephen G. Ramirez - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Buy this book! Read about "Hyper-Meritocracy" in chapters 1 to 3. Read about the incredible prowess of human plus machine intelligence in chapters 4 and 5. Skip chapters 6 through 11 or you may get bored and not finish the book. That would be a shame because you would miss Cowen's predictions in chapter 12 "A New Social Contract?"

Chapter 12 was worth the price of the book to me. This is the most plausible scenario I have read for the future consequences of ever-increasing income inequality and meritocratic social segregation. It is not as grim a picture as that painted by Charles Murray. Old folks will get their way for many years to come but the world won't end as a result.

There's pure gold in this book. Don't be put off by Cowen's ramblings in the middle chapters.
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