I wrote a book! Incentivology.

I started this blog 10 years ago, in what was probably the best decision in my professional life. I left my public service job and began what became a whole new career.

Now, with a decade of writing about economics behind me, at the Financial Review and as a freelancer, I’m happy to say that I have had a book published!

Writing it has been a heck of a process.

It started out like this, just a bunch of ideas on the wall.


And after a lot of hard grind, today it looks like this:

IMAG2871 (1)

There were speed-bumps of many kinds. Including a terrifying moment when I tipped water all over my computer a few weeks before the book was due.

Rice didn’t rescue the machine. So I put it in the oven. That seemed to help a little bit and I was able to turn the computer back on.

The big mistake I made was what I did next – blasting it with a hairdryer. I melted half the keyboard and  the “I” key came off completely. I struggled through the end of the book with a warped and wobbly 25-letter alphabet under my fingers.

But it got done, and it got out, and now it is in bookshops, alongside a lot of very serious authors!

hll of content

Extracts of the book have been published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Crikey, the Australian Financial Review, The New Daily and at news.com.au. (They’re all different, we’ve practically given away the whole book for free!)

An enormous highlight of the post-publication period so far has been doing a few media interviews about the book. I got to chat on air with Australian media legend Myf Warhurst!

with myf

It’s extremely exciting to have it out there. You can get a copy in most bookshops, or online, through this link: smarturl.it/Incentivology .

Early readers are enthralled!


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Thomas the Think Engine is the blog of a trained economist. It comes to you from Melbourne Australia.

11 thoughts on “I wrote a book! Incentivology.”

  1. Such a great book! I’m loving it. Also hoping that there’s another on the way. Easy, entertaining, informative and an educational read. A very interesting lesson in history. Better than a who-dun-it!


  2. Hi Jason,
    As a librarian I’m curious, did you have a backup of your work elsewhere or was it all on your laptop? Was it just the computer that went wonky?


    1. I didn’t have a recent backup!! So it was frightening. I saved the computer in the short run and it seemed to work okay for another few months. But something must have been corroding inside because it gave up entirely a bit later.


      1. Jason if you are writing something as important as a book (in terms of time commitment, if nothing else), you really should be backing up your work after each writing session. Please do this in future!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m enjoying your book immensely. Currently reading the frightening chapter about science – was fascinated by the revelations about Wansink as read a number of his papers year ago and had a suspicion then that something wasn’t quite right. Even more interested in your stats about PhD non completions – I was part of an investigation into this very phenomenon at One university and our findings were assiduously ignored by senior management resulting in the continuation of this tragic waste of talent. There is an expose of the whole higher ed system just waiting to be done!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy! It’s a delight to get feedback!! You’re right that higher education is a petri dish of weird and wonderful incentives. Maybe that’s book two!


  4. Kia ora from New Zealand, Jason. I have your exceptionally good book in front of me, and just wanted to say AMAZING! I am slightly addicted to self help books, an addiction which encompasses (luckily for me) business-related books. Our local library had a fabulous January display of inspirational books and I snaffled quite a few of them, including one with a carrot on the front. As an author myself, I know how encouraging it can be to receive positive feedback for the painful art of authorship. So here’s mine to you – from my position at page 125. Thanks so much for sharing your talent with the reading public. I am very much looking forward to reading the second half of the book, because the first half was so educational, so well written, so easy to understand and, on many pages, absolutely hilarious. What a talented writer you are! So please continue apace! I found your blog after searching the front and back of the book for your email address. However, it looks as though the demands of a being a published author have superceded this blog. Please return asap. Your fan club awaits.


    1. Thanks so much Sharon, it is extremely kind of you to say you’re enjoying the book! I appreciate it, and I hope the second half is as rewarding as the first. :)


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