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5 MINUTES WITH GRANT RYAN: ‘At school I was told being an inventor wasn’t a serious career option.’

January 31 2022

We’re excited to be working with economist and serial inventor Grant Ryan, on the campaign for his new book, Comparanomics: Why Life is Better Than You Think, and How to Make it Even Better. We asked Grant our 5 questions to find out more about him, his book, and his vision:


1. Pitch in 10 - sell us your book in less than 10 words

Life is great even if it doesn’t feel that way.

2. Audience of One - If you could choose ONE person to read your book who would it be and why?

Daniel Kahneman is a founder of behavioural economics who outlined how normal it is to make errors in day-to-day decisions. Comparonomics is about how we make errors in how we think about progress, and how that causes us to pursue things that will never make us feel better, so I would love to get his thoughts on my book.

3. Behind the Book - Who or what inspired you to write this book?

While doing my PhD in economics 30 years ago I decided I didn’t want to be an academic. I’ve had lots of fun since then as an inventor doing start-ups, but it has always bugged me how obviously wrong normal economics is about measuring how things are progressing. I wrote this book over the course of about 8 years as a counter argument, but then left the book sitting for 3 years to see if anything dated or could be improved on. I had assumed someone else would point out what I’ve argued in the book but they haven’t, so I guess I had to.

The reason I’ve written it in such an accessible way is that understanding these things can make a big difference to people’s lives. Sometimes there is no need to change government policy or create new laws – you can look at life quite differently and I find it useful every day.

4. Guess what? Tell us one thing that readers might be surprised to hear about you.

When leaving school in the yearbook I said for my probable career I wanted to be an inventor but they said I had to put something serious. I only managed a real job for 18 months then have been working as an inventor ever since.

Some people would be surprised to know I’m a champion avocado grower. I am also an earthquake refugee – but in a good way, as I moved to little village after the Christchurch earthquakes and lots of ideas for the book came while stand up paddling in Akaroa harbour.

5. The next chapter - what’s next for you?

Enjoying a non-profit project helping develop technology to protect New Zealand native birds, and hopefully enjoy talking to people about the ideas in this book.


To get a review copy or to book in an interview, contact Durga Bradley at durga@thebookpublicist.co.uk

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