The Power of “No”

by Art Carden
The American Institute for Economic Research

In 2000, Eckhart Tolle published The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. It’s an influential contribution to the modern emphasis on “mindfulness.” In 2014, James and Claudia Azula Altucher riffed on this title and explained The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness. “No” is the most powerful word in your capitalist vocabulary, and when we embraced it with a gusto, the world changed.

During the early part of the pandemic I participated in Bryan Caplan’s book club on Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, and I have been struck by just how fundamentally others-oriented you have to be in order to win friends and influence people. It really is a book of ethics for a commercial society. It recognizes that other people are not mere means to our ends, and if we want others to do something that we think is worth doing, we have to persuade them that it is, in fact, worth doing.

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