Running New York

Ha! That headline probably got you thinking this was a post about Governor Cuomo. It's not. It's about an economist trying to keep fit despite the rising demands of work, parenthood, and the shrinking supply of energy that comes in your mid- to late thirties.

Are Public Commitments Counterproductive?

The music entrepreneur Derek Sivers gave a TED Talk with the provocative claim that you're more likely to reach your goals if you keep them secret.

Our Love/Hate Relationship with Carrots and Sticks

"The honeymoon is over." These are the words of Alberto Iturra, the leader of a team of psychologists who have instituted a series of prizes and punishments to change the behavior of the 33 miners trapped in Chile. When the miners do what the psychologists want, they are given treats like T.V. and music. But if miners refuse, say, to submit to daily interviews with psychologists, the psychologists will restrict the supply of cigarettes or wine.

Getting Paid to Lose Weight

The results are in. I'm happy to report that my eBay auction ended with a winning bid of $282.85. Twenty-three bidders put in a total of 45 bids. The bidders were a mixture of seasoned eBay users (some with more than 150 eBay purchases) and newbie eBay users.

Making It Easier to Be Honest

I was a little scared to get on the scale this morning. I had eaten copious amounts this weekend - including a quarter pounder at McDonalds. But my fear was heightened because I knew that my weight would be automatically tweeted at

Selling My Addiction

An unusual auction began late yesterday on eBay. I'm selling my "right to regain weight." Why would anyone in their right mind be willing to pay me cash to buy this right? What does this even mean?

Carrots and Sticks Has Landed

My eleventh book, Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done, has just been published. It is centrally about how to craft incentives and commitments to help you and others accomplish your goals.

Betting on Yourself

Commitment devices are an increasingly popular weight-loss method, especially among economists. However, new research from Nicholas Burger and John Lynham indicates that betting on your own ability to lose weight may not be a sure thing.

Commitment Contracts for Business

I had a wild morning in Boston a few days ago - participating in a satellite media tour for the launch of the Staples "stickK to it!" Business Challenge. (I sat in a studio and was serially plugged into about 20 local radio and TV shows ... grueling, but efficient). The "Challenge" is a way to help small businesses and entrepreneurs reach their professional goals.

Vegetarianism as a Sometimes Thing

I'm toiling away this summer writing a book about commitment contracts. And out of the blue, I received an email from an aspiring economist (who is planning to apply to PhD programs this fall), named Matt Johnson, who has an interesting new wrinkle. Matt writes...