Summary of Carrots and Sticks

Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done

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Carrots and Sticks book summary
Signing a “commitment contract” can help you hit your personal and professional targets.


7 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


Have you been making the same resolutions over and over – about losing weight or stopping smoking – without success? If so, a “commitment contract” can help. In his entertaining new book, lawyer, economist and author Ian Ayres shows how pledging yourself to a reward (a “carrot”) or a punishment (a “stick”) can be a forceful motivator. Ayres describes commitment contracts in a conversational, anecdotal style. getAstract recommends this book to anyone interested in human behavior. It can help you reach that elusive personal or professional goal – if you’re ready to put your money where your mouth is.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What “commitment contracts” are and
  • How you can use a commitment contract to reach your goals.


Eyes on the Prize
Why do so many people fail to reach their goals? They vow to quit smoking but give in to their cravings. They can’t get organized at their jobs when they know they’d perform better if they did. The answer lies in human behavior. Typically, humans want to fulfill their...
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About the Author

Lawyer, economist and author Ian Ayres wrote Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way to Be Smart. He is the William K. Townsend Professor of Law at Yale University.

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