Profit Motive: What Drives the Things We Do

Charles Sauer. SelectBooks, $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-59079-444-9
Economist Sauer devotes this stimulating treatise to theorizing that being able to identify other people’s “profit motives,” including both wealth acquisition and less tangible benefits, can lead to a more successful career and more fulfilling life. In his insightful analysis of the motivating drives behind institutions and individuals alike, the former Congressional staffer tackles a wide array of examples, from the influence of lobbyists on Capitol Hill to the entrepreneurial impulse represented by children’s lemonade stands. He cites historical examples such as John D. Rockefeller and contemporary figures such as Elon Musk to convey the personal motives behind large corporations, and critiques the cronyism that exists between politicians and their donors. The media and health care industries do not escape unscathed; he observes that the sensationalizing of news stories to keep viewers interested and drive up advertising is vital to understanding how the media works, and that the knowledge that hospitals are businesses first and foremost will help patients understand why prices keep rising. He concludes with a focus on families, strongly arguing against dragging business into personal affairs. Ultimately, the author succeeds in making his case for the importance of profit motives, and anyone interested in enhancing a business or building up a community will profit from reading this book. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/02/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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