Kiss and Sell: an economic love story
By Steve Leer
Each chapter covers a different economic topic. In "The First Date: The Paycheck and Financial Planning Chapter," Jason learns about federal and state withholding taxes, Social Security and 401(k) plans. Chapter 9 -- "Samantha Buys a House: The Real Estate Chapter" -- takes the female lead through the rigors of realizing the American Dream. Other chapters deal with subjects such as financial planning, conservative vs. liberal economic philosophies, entrepreneurship and welfare.
"We thought with a fictional setting the students could better relate to and see how the application of economic principles affects everyday life," Sinclair says. "We asked ourselves, 'What are all the economic questions a person will face in life?' and we went about writing a chapter about each."
Sinclair says that while the economic lessons in the book are serious, the story is not. He says he and his co-writers "tried to outdo each other with corniness"
One such scene has Jason and Samantha on a dinner date whispering sweet nothings... about savings plans. Jason thinks to himself, "I know I should be bored, but Samantha sure is cute when she talks economics." Later in the book, Jason explains the investment value of the engagement ring he's about to give Samantha.
There are no steamy interludes. The closest the book comes to a love scene is in Chapter 13, when Samantha leads Jason upstairs. "Apparently things were successful, because nine months later, Jason and Samantha's first child was born, Jason Junior," the next sentence reads.
Cuttell says the book is meant only as a supplement to traditional classroom lectures. He says some educators might frown on the treatment economics is given in the book, but he, Sinclair and Taylor are more concerned about connecting with students.
"We broke with tradition and produced a work that we believe students will read. And when students read, learning is likely to take place," Cuttell says.
So far, students have been devouring every paragraph of "Life, Love and Economics."
Taylor says one student came to class upset after reading the chapter where Jason's wise Uncle Mitchell dies -- a chapter on estate planning. "He'd been reading ahead," Taylor says.
Even Purdue staff have found the book hard to put down. Sinclair says a staff member in the Department of Agricultural Economics was asked by her boss why she hadn't placed the new text in a faculty display case. "I haven't finished reading it yet," she replied.