Book Review: Yoshio Yoshimoto (吉本佳生)’s 大杯星巴克比较划算

The book cover
The book cover

If you love books that apply economics theories to real life social situations like Freakonomics and The Undercover Economist, you will definitely enjoy reading Yoshio Yoshimoto (吉本佳生)’s 大杯星巴克比较划算 (literally translated as “The Bigger Cup of Starbuck’s is More Worthwhile”).

I bought the Taiwanese translated version a year or so back when I was traveling in Taipei and finished reading the book in less than a week.

From the book, I learned the economics reason behind why a bigger cup of Starbuck’s coffee cost much less than a smaller cup if you work out the cost per millilitre – it’s because the coffee constitutes just a small percentage of the price you paid for your cup of Starbuck’s; bulk of the cost is attributed to rental, labour and other factors.

I also learned that sometimes when you see stuff being sold at Japanese 100 Yen shops or other similar budget chains at a cheaper price than your usual supermarkets, you need to check the volume of the product. Brands sometime package and supply products to such shops in slightly lower grams at a lower price, barely discernible to the common shopper.

Most interestingly, have you ever wonder why insurance and telco plans are always so complicated and convoluted? That’s because they were deliberate made to be so to confuse the lay consumer into signing for up add-on services that we do not need.

I find the book an interesting read on how businesses make use of crafty tricks, guided by economics principles to get the common consumer to part with more cash than necessarily when buying something.

This book is worth checking out for penny-conscious consumers who do not want to be at the losing end of the stick in any transaction. It should be available at major book stores in Singapore with a wide selection of Chinese books like Kinokuniya and Page One. 🙂

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