Professor Ayers is a Behavioral Economist that is someone who believes that we make decisions (behavior) based on emotions rather than logic. Behavioral Economics is a blending of the fields of Psychology and Economics. This area is important because it deals with why we really make decisions and what motivates us. “Carrot and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done” explains why sometimes we decide to not do something even though it involves us not getting something we value. For example if someone gets $100 and can divide it with someone and decides to give the other person $5 leaving $95 for them, the person might get insulted and not take the money even though they would be $5 richer. Behavioral Economics explains why people underestimate dangerous situations.
Another example is when we are negotiating for something, say for example, a used car if someone takes our first offer we might be unhappy for the transaction because we may think “Maybe I should have offered them less”. Again, it isn’t about the money it’s about the loss of pride when we think, I wasn’t so smart, I could have gotten them down $500 when in reality we got exactly the price that was offered.
Professor Ayers in his book talks about the irrational effect that time has on the brain when we make decisions. “Carrot and Sticks” points out in specific detail why the brain is often not rational. The point of the book is to understand our irrationality and then what we can do both motivate others and make our own choices better ones.
If you’re looking for an easy answer, this is not it, but If you’re looking for a deeper understanding and a way to affect change in yourself and others this is a good book to take a serious look at.