Published: Living with Water Scarcity (2nd edition)

I published the first edition of Living with Water Scarcity in 2014. It was a shorter (60% fewer words!) version of my 2011 book, The End of Abundance. It was also the first book that I started to give away for free.

Since then, the book has been translated into Spanish (very well), Farsi and Portuguese (not so well), and it’s been downloaded many many times. (I’ve sold over 750 copies via Amazon, earning an average of $3.50/copy in royalties.)

A few years ago, I started to teach about water using that book. Upon reading it for the first time in many years, I found some typos (horrors!), which meant I needed to make a revision. I also needed to pretty-up a few figures and add some clarifications, so now I was looking at something more like a second edition. Well then… I wrote a Preface to the new edition and — most important! — decided to get a new cover.

The original cover was a photo I took of a glass of water, with the title submerged (tricky paper-water dynamics). At the time, I wanted to emphasize two things: that the glass was more than half full (unlike my normal pessimism), and that it was indeed possible — easy even — to live with water scarcity. Sadly, this “message” was not as clear to others as it was to me, and any cover that fails to get the book’s content across (to some degree) is a bit of a fail. So time for a new cover.

After a contest between two designers with six designs, it was clear that Atanas Kondakov (@nkondakoff on IG/Twitter) had the better design, and I am super-happy with its playful but accurate imagery — note the frog’s hand! (Paperback buyers will enjoy a few more flourishes on the back cover 🙂

So, enjoy the book, recommend it to everyone you know, and let me know if you find any typos!

It’s available for $10 (or equivalent) in paperback, and free as a PDF.

(I will get to an epub version ASAP.)

The end of the beginning

So I’ve been thinking of changing my blogging style, to be a bit more strident, a bit more aggressive, a bit more useful to people who want it straight.

It’s with this feeling in mind that I bought this URL a few years ago. My original plan was to write a book, one chapter at a time, on this blog. Each chapter was going to deal with a basic topic (taxes, children, etc.) and discuss the obvious and/or important insights that economics has on that topic.

The title of this blog refers to an old story of President Harry Truman demanding to talk with a one-handed economist… because all the other economists kept saying “one the one hand you can do this, on the other, you can do that…” So my goal here is to give you opinions that are strong but useful, insightful (perhaps) but clear.

I thought that I would do 12 chapters in 12 months, with lots of input from you readers, but then I changed my mind about the schedule (not the need for input!) and decided to take the process a little more slowly, first because what’s the hurry, and second because I’m not really sure what the chapters would be, and I’d prefer to get some ideas from you.

I’ve got a lot more to say (this is only the end of the beginning — there’s a long way yet to go!), but that’s where I am at the moment. Oh — one more thing: I am going to really avoid “going social” with this blog, so I won’t be using twitter, etc. to promote it. Instead, I am hoping to make it a destination worthy of your time, something that you “pull” towards yourself rather than have “pushed” into your inbox, feed or stream.

So let’s step out of the stream, come ashore and relax to think a bit.