Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids Book Summary - Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids Book explained in key points

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids summary

Bryan Caplan

Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think

3.7 (28 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids by Bryan Caplan debunks the cultural belief that parenting and genetics are crucial for children’s success by providing strong evidence that genes matter less and parenting matters far less than we ever imagined.

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    Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids
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    If you forego children, you’ll likely regret it; but having children doesn’t automatically make you happier.

    Many people decide to start families and have children, but few pause to analyze the data and statistics regarding such a move. So is having children actually a good idea?

    As is to be expected, the answer is not straightforward, so let’s approach it from a few different angles.

    First, we can consider it from a “customer satisfaction” perspective: if a business wants to know how satisfied customers were with a purchase, it can ask them whether they’d buy the same product again. Similarly, parents can say whether they’d have their children again.

    It turns out that parenthood does well in this metric. A study regarding this matter showed there is very little buyer’s remorse on parents’ behalf: 91 percent did not regret the decision to have children, claiming they’d do it all over again with each child.

    On the other hand, non-buyer’s remorse seems pretty prevalent. Another survey showed that, among childless parents over the age of forty, more than two-thirds confessed they had regrets over not having had children.

    In a nutshell, an overwhelming majority of parents seem to be happy with the kids they’ve got, while childless people often regret the decision later on.

    A second way to analyze parenthood is by looking at overall happiness in life. The following data may seem surprising.

    At first glance, parents tend to be happier than non-parents on average. But that’s because parents also tend to be older, married and church-going, and these factors in themselves are positively correlated with happiness. If these factors are compensated for otherwise, the tables turn: there’s a slightly negative correlation between having children and happiness.

    However, the negative effect is very small and, after the first child, each subsequent child only adds slightly to that effect. This indicates that it’s entirely feasible to reverse it by adjusting your parenting approach and improving your own life.

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    What is Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids about?

    Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids examines the demands of modern parenting and why people today are choosing to have fewer and fewer kids. The author argues that this trend is due to modern parents placing too high expectations on themselves, even when a far more relaxed style of parenting would get the job done just as well and make the whole experience more enjoyable.

    Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids Review

    Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids (2011) by Bryan Caplan is a thought-provoking book that challenges conventional wisdom about parenting. Here's why this book is a good read:

    • The book presents compelling research that shows parents have less influence on their children's outcome than they think, giving them permission to worry less and enjoy parenting more.
    • Caplan explores the concept of parental happiness and argues that having more kids can actually increase happiness levels.
    • Through honest and witty storytelling, the author dismantles common parenting myths and provides a fascinating perspective on the modern family.

    Best quote from Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

    Children cost far less than most parents pay, because parents overcharge themselves.

    —Bryan Caplan
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    Who should read Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids?

    • Anyone considering whether or not to have children
    • Anyone who has children and is wondering whether to have more
    • Parents who feel exhausted and worry about the adequacy of their parenting

    About the Author

    Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University and the father of three children. The New York Times called his first book, The Myth of the Rational Voter the “best political book of the year.”

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    Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids FAQs 

    What is the main message of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids?

    The main message of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids is that parenting can be more enjoyable and rewarding than you think.

    How long does it take to read Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids?

    The reading time for Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in challenging common parenting beliefs. It offers a refreshing perspective on raising children.

    Who is the author of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids?

    The author of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids is Bryan Caplan.