Hawley's Reviews > Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids by Bryan Caplan
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's review
Sep 24, 2011

really liked it
Read from September 10 to 12, 2011

Having concluded the book and reflected on it, I like it more than I initially thought because I think his purpose is a good and important one. It brings up questions every person should ask themselves, parent or no.

I'd say his purpose is two-fold: 1) to communicate that parents stress themselves out excessively and decrease their happiness as parents, when simply finding ways to enjoy their parenting and family life more wouldn't hurt their kids at all - and might not even affect them, unless by making them happier as well; 2) if you like kids, you owe it to yourself and the world to consider having more since there is a much higher scientific percentage that you would regret not having any or as many later on, than the almost non-existent chance that you would regret having the kids.

Unfortunately in my mind, he spends far too much time summarizing twin and adoption research, and makes things get a bit dry or seem irrelevant to the individual reader. I most enjoyed his personal experience testimony at the very end, and did find the fake conversations to be somewhat clarifying despite having been a bit off-putting at first... I understand that his motivation for writing this book was to make a more scientific/mathematical argument for why one ought to consider more children, but I suppose based off of the title alone (and not his personal background), I was hoping to read more of an emotionally compelling or personally compelling argument with what to me, would be more selfish reasons than simply wanting grandkids.

I would be thrilled if this caused more people to think seriously about having kids or having more kids, and best of all, if it were to spark a sort of debate by book so that I could read more about the topic. As someone who has always wanted a moderate to large number of kids (4: it depends on who you ask, where that falls on the spectrum), I guess I was almost hoping to have confirmation that my initial desires were right or good, or even to be encouraged to have more. Having read this book, I still think four is probably the ideal number for me/us. We'll see... Time will tell :)

Here is my review from when I had read about half of the book, on my blog:


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