Author picture
2 Works 156 Members 10 Reviews

Works by Paula Szuchman


Common Knowledge

Places of residence
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Wall Street Journal



This is a clever analysis of relationships based on concepts from economic theory like comparative advantage, signaling and game theory. The authors seem to have surveyed dozens of couples - enough to come up with relationships arrangements that push the extremes of what most people would be willing to share. The economic principles are made relevant by real people, plus the authors take an occasional turn at expounding on the original economists and their approaches to relationships.
jpsnow | 9 other reviews | Nov 17, 2019 |
Get two women together. One wants to write a book about economics and the other a book about marriage. The result is this curious arrangement. While it does contain some good tips here and there, I felt overall that some of the advice was a bit idealistic.

Each chapter is focussed on a different aspect of economic theory (bit yawny) and, using well-illustrated real-life example of marital issues, they then apply this theory to demonstrate how it can help to solve issues that couples run into. While some of this may well work for some couples, as I said, I thought some of the application was a bit idealistic. We are after all living, changing beings. Solutions that might work at one point in our marriage, may well cause problems at others.

Even worse, and this is where the book really falls down for me, we’re not rational rule-bound objects like pounds and pence. We’re anything but, especially at a time of conflict in a close relationship like marriage. For all sorts of reasons, we behave in ways that do not make sense economically because, when push comes to shove, it isn’t economy we’re motivated by. And when you’re in the deep end and thrashing to get out, someone explaining the technical theory of breast stroke from the side of the pool is only going to make you feel worse.

What I thought this book lacked was any admission that we are broken beings and always will be. There will always be conflict, within ourselves, with our spouses, with the world in general. The book didn’t seem to say to me, try this and, if it doesn’t work, know that you are in company. That makes sense. I mean, you don’t sell books by admitting that the advice your giving probably won’t work in most cases. But without the empathy such an admission brings, I felt the book was clinical and a bit cold. Dare I say ivory tower?

So, in the end, although it was an interesting idea, I felt that the book was a bit too simplistic. We can all attempt to follow patterns of behaviour that, ideally, will solve everything. In reality though, things don’t usually work out that way. At least that’s my reality. Habits are hard to break and even harder to form. At best I think this book will provide an idea or two for couples to try out and, if it works, good luck to ‘em. At worst, I think this could set some couples up for a fall as they take ideal solutions and apply them to less than ideal realities.
… (more)
arukiyomi | 9 other reviews | Jul 20, 2012 |
I really like this, it makes sense to me. It offers real solutions to day-to-day issues. I think this book could be helpful to most marriages, no marriage is perfect, they all take work. None of the ideas are complicated and they use examples of actual couples to explain each concept. The focus is on marriage, but some of the techniques could be helpful in relationships with other family members.

I copied this review from goodreads, I won this advance uncorrected proof proof through the first reads program. I am glad I won this, I probably wouldn't have read it otherwise. I do wish I could see the cover better, mine is plain.… (more)
debsanswers | 9 other reviews | Nov 9, 2011 |
A great read for any married couple. The authors take case studies with honest answers from a variety of couples and they apply economic principles to their problems. They manage to do it with humor and make the potentially boring subject incredibly entertaining and relatable.

I’m not big on self-help books, marriage books, etc. They just never seem to interest me enough to read the whole thing, but I couldn’t put this one down. Think about it as Freakonomics for marriage. I loved hearing about the issues couples were dealing with. Some were ones I could relate to, others weren’t, but all of them were interesting.… (more)
bookworm12 | 9 other reviews | Oct 4, 2011 |


You May Also Like

Associated Authors


½ 3.6

Charts & Graphs