Praise for The Economic Naturalist
"Frank's new book shows that, when you ask students to look
around, they see interesting things; and, sure enough, basic economic
concepts can usually give a plausible account of actions and outcomes.
This is an excellent way for students to learn economics. To tell the
truth, it is also a useful correction to the rest of us." -- Robert
Solow, Nobel Laureate in Economics and Berry Center Inaugural Guest
Spring 2010 Reading GroupHosted by Professors A'amer Farooqi and Jerry Savitsky
The Economic Naturalist
by Robert H. Frank
During the spring of 2010, facilitators professor A'amer Farooqi and professor Jerry Savitsky met with students in the Paul K. Scott Alumni Center during to discuss the book by New York Times columnist and Cornell University Professor of Management and of Economics, Robert H. Frank. These meetings occurred in February and March ahead of Frank's visit to the Cornell Campus. Students delved into the book and discussions; they were encouraged to create enigmas of their own to discuss with Dr. Frank.
From the book's back cover:
Five enigmas from everyday life:
- Why is there a light in your refrigerator but not in your freezer?
- Why do 24-hour convenience stores have locks on their doors?
- Why does a new car costing $20,000 rent for $40 a day, while a tuxedo costing only $500 rents for $90?
- Why are newspapers, but not soft drinks, sold in vending machines that allow customers to take more units than they paid for?
- Why are brown eggs more expensive than white ones, even though the two types taste the same and have identical nutritional value?
I enjoyed the conversational nature of our discussions. People felt free to speak naturally about our topics and there was no real overlying structure dominating discourse. I think the assignments given by the professors were helpful in provoking deeper thinking about some questions posed by the book. I think the moderators did a great job of emphasizing the student's importance in generating discussion, without feeling a need to take conversation anywhere specific; they jumped in with helpful information and clarification where needed. They also posed other questions at times that got us thinking further. Overall, I thought their moderation was excellent. -- Nate Purdy '11
Robert Frank was really interesting to talk to! I wish he could have spoken for longer, with a little more structured questions. I feel that reading books like the "Natural Economist" gives you a new lens through which to view the world. I think having Professors Farooqi and Savitsky there made the group what it was. -- Michael Walden '11