An Economist Gets Lunch by Tyler Cowen

62%

18 Critic Reviews

After 75 pages you’re still poking at it, thinking, “What is this thing?” and “Can I order something else?”
-NY Times

Synopsis

A leading economist, “who may very well turn out to be this decade’s Thomas Friedman” (Wall Street Journal), illuminates the state of American food today

Tyler Cowen, one of the most influential economists of the last decade, wants you to know that just about everything you’ve heard about how to get good food is wrong. Drawing on a provocative range of examples from around the globe, Cowen reveals why airplane food is bad, but airport food is improving, why restaurants full of happy, attractive people usually serve mediocre meals, and why American food has improved as Americans drink more wine. At a time when obesity is on the rise and forty-four million Americans receive food stamps, An Economist Gets Lunch will revolutionize the way we eat today—and show us how we’re going to feed the world tomorrow.
 

About Tyler Cowen

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Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He is a prominent blogger at marginalrevolution.com, the world’s leading economics blog. He also writes regularly for The New York Times, and has written for Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.
 
Published April 12, 2012 by Plume. 305 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for An Economist Gets Lunch
All: 18 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Excellent
Mar 15 2012

The narrative gets a touch repetitive at points, but if you’re a foodie with a calculator, this is your book.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Apr 10 2012

After 75 pages you’re still poking at it, thinking, “What is this thing?” and “Can I order something else?”

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Wall Street Journal

Excellent
Reviewed by Graeme Wood on Apr 09 2012

If one's goal is to eat well, Mr. Cowen's rules are golden.

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The Economist

Above average
on Aug 15 2013

And Mr Cowen strangely neglects this reviewer’s golden rule for dining out: avoid restaurants that display pictures of the main courses on the menu. All told, Mr Cowen makes for an engaging guide to the kitchens of the world. Foodies will enjoy his insights, even if economists come away a little hungry.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Will Dean on May 11 2012

An Economist Gets Lunch might be the most interesting book about food you read all year.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Steve Weinberg on Apr 29 2012

Cowen’s book is a thoughtful, offbeat guide to better individual eating for readers with money to prepare food in well-appointed home kitchens, to dine at restaurants near home, and to travel widely away from home while eating experimentally.

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Boston.com

Below average
Reviewed by Ted Weesner Jr.

If Cowen’s opinions smack solipsistic at best and myopic at worst, the logic of his inquiry feels similarly elusive... This particular supply, to put it kindly, serves up a pale, desiccated, maddening dish.

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The Spectator

Excellent
Reviewed by Dalibor Rohac on Mar 31 2012

This is a delightful book that will broaden horizons to people uninitiated to the economic way of thinking.

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BookBrowse

Below average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Whitmore Funk on May 02 2012

An Economist Gets Lunch demonstrates Cowen's depth of knowledge about a wide variety of food and cooking styles, but it does not show off his ability to construct a succinct argument and compelling narrative.

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Ford Literary Blog

Below average
Reviewed by Carlton Brown on May 07 2012

Cowen’s generalizations about locavores ... are also too sweeping, and slightly hypocritical, in this reviewer’s opinion, given Cowen’s high praise for local foods in other countries.

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City Journal

Excellent
Reviewed by Jerry Weinberger on May 18 2012

Cowen’s book has its wonky side, but even then it’s mostly fun.

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Daily Finance

Below average
Reviewed by Bruce Watson on May 17 2012

much of Cowan's book is taken up with long, dull diversions into his barbecue-eating experience and the layout of his local Chinese market.

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Green Biz

Excellent
Reviewed by Marc Gunther on May 08 2012

In his provocative and engaging book, economist Tyler Cowen rejects the popular argument that American food is bad for us

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Time Magazine

Excellent
Reviewed by Brad Tuttle on May 01 2012

Overall, he explains, advances in agribusiness have been good for everyone, bringing food prices down and feeding more people than ever in human history.

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Leo Weekly

Below average
Reviewed by Christian Walsh on Apr 25 2012

...but it’s Cowen who starts to sound paternalistic, adding “we can’t trust our intuitions,” because consumers can’t “see” the true environmental costs of their decisions.

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Heath Gordon

Good
Reviewed by Heath Gordon on May 14 2012

“An Economist Gets Lunch” is without a doubt one of the best no-nonsense guides to eating and food that I have ever read.

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Agivator

Below average
May 08 2012

The problem is it all seems backward. It seems like Mr. Cowen starts with the answer and then comes up with an economic explanation for what he believes to be true.

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Rigotnomics

Below average
Reviewed by Pierre-Louis on May 08 2012

When reading his book, I get the impression he sat, wrote, and the publisher printed. He seems to want to get it out too fast like a blog post.

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Reader Rating for An Economist Gets Lunch
59%

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