Why the Heck Aren't We Already Doing This Stuff?

12 New Policy Ideas Even a Congressman Could Understand

Non-Fiction - Gov/Politics
252 Pages
Reviewed on 05/24/2011
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Al Lewis is not related to the Al Lewis who played Grandpa Munster. He doesn't even look like Grandpa. Quite the contrary, he is so much taller than the other Al Lewis, or for that matter than most other garden variety human beings, that with surprisingly little makeup he could pass for Herman. Another important distinction is that this Al Lewis still has a pulse (52 bpm - not bad, hunh?). Finally, the other Al Lewis never had a blog as successful as www.whytheheck.com. Why The Heck, America's Marketplace of Ideas, is the #1 economic idea generation blog in the country, having generated more national and local media coverage (under the original "Think Outside The Box" name, www.thinkoob.com) than all other similar blogs combined.

Why The Heck became the #1 economic idea generation blog partly because it has attracted almost a million visits and partly because there aren't any others. Why The Heck is unique not just in specializing in idea generation, but in having offered a $1 million prize for the first idea to "graduate" from the website to national policy.

Previously, he taught economics at Harvard, and he has run several mid-sized health care companies, including one that didn't go bankrupt. He also believes in upholding the highest standards of integrity. So even if you google him until he's blue in the face, you won't find any priors.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Bernadette Acocella for Readers' Favorite

Why the heck isn't this book a bestseller? Al Lewis doesn't believe that the government should continue doing things that don't work simply because that's the way things have always been done. Lewis has written a smart, hilarious book that says exactly this, and includes ideas from his blog about how to improve the economy. His use of the term "Methadone economy" to describe an economy which is dependent on government spending to increase growth is one of the unique ways he helps readers understand his "out of the box" ideas. Tired of solutions to our economic woes that involve stimulus checks and government subsidies, Lewis has twelve suggestions that might just change the way Americans do business and handle their money. Topics like tax refunds, mortgages, gasoline, and healthcare are what you might expect to find in an economics book, but not the way Lewis discusses them. Nor would you ever guess what he has to say about the penny. Such ideas are creative, clever, and worth some serious investigation by our lawmakers.

This is one of the only books I have ever read that was both laugh out loud funny and extremely thought-provoking. Even if you are like me and have absolutely no background in economics, you will still understand and enjoy this book. I found myself completely engrossed in it and wondering what would come next. Lewis will draw you in with his hilarious introduction, and then surprise you with his thoughtful, logical suggestions for encouraging economic growth. His humorous way of boiling down complex ideas into words I could actually understand made me laugh and seriously ask why these common sense suggestions have not been implemented. His writing is clear and thankfully you won't find a lot of jargon that might normally dissuade the average reader from a book about economics. Included at the end of each chapter are responses from Lewis to positive and negative comments that bloggers posted about each of the ideas he outlines, another helpful aspect of the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about economics, open to new ideas, or just likes to laugh.