What Works

We all have deep human needs—for belonging, for autonomy, for creative expression, for safety and security. But modern life can make it a real challenge to get those needs met in meaningful ways. Instead, we’re offered products with flashy marketing messages. Kitchen gadgets, social media platforms, clothing, personal care products, and many others offer to help us live our best lives. Financial and educational products promise a greater sense of security and autonomy. But do these commodities really satisfy our needs? Or do they merely stave off the hunger a little longer?

In this final episode of The Economics Of, I explore how various economic concepts can help us understand why we buy the things we do, how our consumption relates to larger economics forces, and how our relationships are influenced by it all. I also talk with Mara Glatzel, the author of Needy, about how to better understand our own needs and create the conditions through which we can get those needs met.


New episodes are published in essay form every Thursday at explorewhatworks.com. Get them delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge, by subscribing to What Works Weekly: explorewhatworks.com/weekly

If you’d like to learn more about how we can approach life and work differently, check out my book, What Works. I explore the history and cultural context that’s led us to this success-obsessed, productivity-oriented moment. Then I guide you through deconstructing those messages and rebuilding a structure for work-life that works.
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What is What Works?

It's easy to lose your way in the 21st-century economy. The world of work and business is changing so rapidly that you might start focusing more on how to keep up than how to live a meaningful life. What Works is a podcast for entrepreneurs, independent workers, and employees who don't want to lose themselves to the whims of late-stage capitalism. Host Tara McMullin covers money, management, culture, media, philosophy, and more to figure out what's working (and what's not) today. Tara offers a distinctly interdisciplinary approach to the discourse around business, work, and personal growth.