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Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  285 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Conquering the dating market—from an economist’s point of view

After more than twenty years, economist Paul Oyer found himself back on the dating scene—but what a difference a few years made. Dating was now dominated by sites like, eHarmony, and OkCupid. But Oyer had a secret weapon: economics.

It turns out that dating sites are no different than the markets Oyer
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published December 17th 2013)
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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
2.5 stars

I shouldn’t have ignored the negative tilt to the reviews of this awkwardly-titled book, but the concept was interesting and so I read it anyway. It’s a quick read, with only 215 pages of text followed by endnotes and an index, and the writing is fairly engaging. But it is also shallow. It does explain some concepts from microeconomics, using examples from online dating as a starting point before seguing into other examples. But even without knowing much about economics, I didn’t feel
It seems like everyone is a little disappointed with this book: if they wanted dating advice, it had too much economics; if they wanted economics, it had too much goofy discussion of online dating. I read it impulsively and quickly, with no particular expectations, so I found it diverting enough. Each chapter brings up a concept from economics (like signaling) and then gives examples of it in online dating and other contexts, like job hunting, buying a car, etc. The concepts don't seem very ...more
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Genius is not reflected solely in whether a person has a unique idea, in my opinion. Genius is taking a complex concept and relating it to an audience in such a way that they would understand it and remember it. That is the appeal of this book. It is also refreshing that Paul Oyer unabashedly uses his own experiences of online dating to teach us the basics of economics. The book does not just use online dating as a model, though. Oyer also provides examples with eBay, financial Web sites, and ...more
Ron Bronson
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is more Econ than it is about online dating. Not a bad thing so long as you didn't major in econ or somehow managed to take Econ 101/102...but otherwise, it'll probably be a bit too heavy on that part and not enough on the online dating part. So if you're looking for an extensive breakdown of using formulas or something crazy to make your dating more efficient, this isn't that book at all. It's basically using online dating as a way to help you better internalize basic economics. Which ...more
Sterling Hardaway
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Fun applied economics book, goes over basic-intermediate micro principles. Wouldn't recommend if you want a deep dive or to learn something new about markets, but Oyer's humor and humility towards his personal online dating journey is really great!
Kelly Wagner
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
As I am an over-educated person with a graduate degree, I knew most of this already, but Oyer's presentation is breezy, amusing, and clear, and his analogies are funny. As an over-educated person with a graduate degree, I especially enjoyed reading about how much a better education can add to one's dating possibilities, quality of eventual life partner, and lifetime supply of happiness as well as one's job prospects and total income.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Is there a genre known as pop economics? (I'd throw Freakonomics into this genre too.) Or is that a creation that would make economists cringe? If such a genre exists, Paul Oyer's book would fit nicely. Oyer uses online dating as a framework to explain basic economic principles in an accessible and sometimes fun way.
John  Cena
This book was funny and informative at the same time. It tackled topics that could seem unapproachable at first with relative ease and understanding. It talked about topics like hidden information and a best fit partnership. This book is great for anyone who is looking into learning more about economics. One thing it does well is help explain topics by giving several examples and showing how each part makes it a good example of said topic. It uses online dating a lot (I know surprising) as ...more
Brandon Stumpf
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: college
Paul Oyer's economics in the dating world book gives an interesting look at the economics in play in the dating market as well as economics in our daily lives. I was interested throughout the entire book, and everything he discussed could be applied to real life. I found the chapters on Thick Versus Think Markets and Positive Assortative Mating the most interesting. If you're looking for a book on dating advice, this book offers some, but not much. I'd say this is more of an economists read ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I recently enjoy more pop economic type of books or podcasts and was delighted to stumble upon this book at my local library. This book is fun to read and very refreshing. And bear in mind, it is more economics books versus online dating advice book. In addition to online dating examples/analogy, the book also touches a lot on labor market.
Jake Engelke
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting read on how economics is applicable in daily life. The economics concepts were all undergraduate level and not too difficult to understand but still provided good insight on unconventional markets- like the dating market.
Joe Petsche
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Covered a wide variety of topics related to economics and dating. Found it amusing, I would have had similar conversations with friends contemplating how stuff works. He backs up his finding with many references.
Wei Jie
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book about microeconomics and how those concepts relate to online dating. Title is sort of a clickbait because only each chapter's introduction talks about online dating and the rest were economics theories and link to other markets.
Robin Ver
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Funny, gives loads of examples from different scenarios and each chapter is nicely summarized by the author with a few key takeaways.
Nisarg Desai
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good introduction to some concepts of economics and a depressing reality check.
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
This econ-major has been happily married for over a decade, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read a book aimed at popularizing economics. (Do not mention Malcolm Gladwell to me. He is to economics what Kim Kardasian is to culture.)

I was happy to see it had a recommendation from Lori Gottlieb. I liked her book - The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. Logical thinking is rare and enjoyable to find in these circles.

The book opens with a claim that most people use online dating. Is
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
"But just as internet daters will exaggerate less if they think they will get caught, ski resorts tell the truth more when skiers can catch their lies. The proliferation of smartphones made it possible for skiers to question snow reports in real time. One user post in 2009, for example, read, 'Jackson Hole/Teton Village DID NOT get 15 inches today. More like 0.' This immediate feedback had an effect; Zinman and Zitzewitz show that snow report exaggeration shrank noticeably at a ...more
Nora Vickery
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: This is not really a review, more like my scattered thoughts after reading. My thoughts do not always take the form of complete sentences.

Enjoyable. Having served my time in the dating trenches recently, Oyer didn't tell me anything I didn't already know about online dating, but it was interesting to see it applied to economics-a subject I never thought I had much interest in. Each chapter covered a new concept, so I was never confused. A revelation was utility and that economists
Linnea Arneson
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
After reading the freakonomics books I was looking for another quirky economics book, and this one lived up to my expectations. I learned a lot about bothmicroeconomics and online dating. I think there's a real niche out there for crossover books like this one. It shows that economics doesn't just apply to Wall Street. Also the long title makes it cool.
Jane Potter
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. Economics is not unlike social psychology.
I like how the author used the online search for love to teach me these theories.
1. Search theory
2. Cheap talk
3. Network externalities
4. Signalling
5. Statistical discrimination
6. Thick vs thin markets
7 adverse selection
8. Positive assert stove mating
9. Return to skills
10. Family

David Johnston
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent entertaining and concise book.

I looked forward to reading every chapter of this book. I found it very easy to read while keeping me engaged - the mark of a good book.

Full review here: https://eyesofablacksheep.wordpress.c...

Mike Genadri
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
If you have already studied economics, you will learn nothing new. If you have never studied economics, this book will teach you economics jargon to use in place of your common sense understanding of how markets work. I was very disappointed.
Mar 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Very very basic economic concepts I learnt in my first year of econ undergrads, but reviewed in a very applied and funny way, using primarily online dating as well as other makers (used cars, real estate, labor) as examples.
Particularly liked the chapter on intra-household (family) economics.
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Highly entertaining AND educational! Also, surprisingly easy to read in a single stretch. However, I am not sure if having read this book will actually increase my proficiency (success? utility?) with online dating sites.
Oct 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fall14
Disclaimer: I read it only because someone gave it to me.

Very basic ideas in micro economics in the context of online dating. Read the Undercover Economist by Tim Harford if you want more depth and entertainment.
Margaret Sankey
Dec 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Like other popular economics books I've read lately, this is a breezy and entertaining attempt to explain basic concepts of behavioral economics using personal and frankly pretty funny examples from a burgeoning new field of economic inquiry--online dating.
Diana Olivares
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Either an entertaining way to learn about Economics though the experience of engaging in Online Dating or an entertaining way to learn about Online Dating though concepts from positive economics. I found it educational, funny and very enjoyable.
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found the economic analysis of other industries (law clerking, cashier performance in supermarkets) pretty interesting. Regarding online dating, it's pretty much the same stuff that various online dating blogs have covered.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fun little read for an economics n00b like me.
Jon Kaslow
Mar 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Pretty basic economics, nothing stunning. Just lots of analogies. If I was someone who hasn't taken Economics courses, this is probably worth reading.
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