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Tyler Cowen: Be Dynamic – Love Your Work, Episode 155

December 06 2018 – 07:30am

tyler cowen interview

When your life gets too comfortable, you stop taking risks. Loss aversion takes hold and you become complacent. You stop innovating. You stop being dynamic. By the time you realize you’ve become irrelevant, it’s already too late to change.

This is one of the main themes behind the work of Tyler Cowen (@tylercowen). Tyler writes one of the most influential economics blogs in the world – if not THE most influential – at He’s also an economics professor at George Mason University.

In Tyler’s book, The Complacent Class, he argues that Americans are getting too comfortable, and not taking risks – or, as the title would imply, they’re getting complacent. Average is Over – another of Cowen’s books argues. The complacency of Americans is leading to The Great Stagnation, another of Tyler’s books. Instead of being stagnant, we should be dynamic. Keep learning, take risks, and step out of your comfort zone. This, Tyler believes, will lead to economic growth, which Tyler argues is a good thing in his latest book, Stubborn Attachments.

I was thinking about the theme of taking risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone just before I wrote this intro in a cafe in Chicago. Moments prior, I was thinking about how – out of all of the places in the world – this cafe was not where I wanted to be in that moment. Not only had my Colombian visa application been rejected, but my first AirBNB stop in Chicago turned out to have a bedbug infestation – so I had to hastily move to a different one.

But then I realized that while my life is riddled with problems in recent months – and if you’re interested in details, listen to my recent notes right here on this podcast, especially “An Update on My Colombian Visa.”

While my life has these problems, these problems lead to growth. They’re problems that lead to a lifestyle that I have built and that I continue to build. I could avoid all of these problems by living a more comfortable and stable lifestyle, but that wouldn’t help me grow in the ways I want to grow. It would cause me to stagnate.

Critically important, I’ve designed my life and work to withstand volatility – whether that’s political, financial, or emotional volatility. Not only can I withstand that volatility, I can grow from it.

I’ve built this outlook with the support of Tyler’s thinking. I find him to have a holistic view of the economics that rule our world – with uncommon emphasis on art, culture, and creativity. So, this is perfect timing to have Tyler on the show.

In this conversation, we’ll explore:

Image credit: Politics and Prose Bookstore

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Theme music: Dorena “At Sea”, from the album About Everything And More. By Arrangement with Deep Elm Records. Listen on Spotify »

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