Monday, August 15, 2011

Highlights From Waterloo Region: Interview with Eveline Adomait, co-author of Cocktail Party Economics

Highlights from Waterloo Region was created in order to give more exposure to the local authors, bloggers, readers, publishers, book events and more in the community. Please go to the Introducing...Highlights from Waterloo Region page for an archive of past highlights or to find out more about how you can become involved.

Today I am interviewing Eveline Adomait, who co-authored the book Cocktail Party Economics along with Richard Maranta. Eveline resides in K-W and teaches Economics at the University of Guelph. Learn more about her and Cocktail Party Economics in the interview below.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Bio: Eveline Adomait was born to Dutch immigrants in rural Ontario. She attended the University of Guelph, intending to become a doctor until she realized that she couldn’t use a scalpel on anything alive. This required a change in direction. Fortunately, she was taking an introductory economics course and fell in love with the ideas (and look Mom … no blood!). She has a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Guelph, and for the past 20 years has made her career as a teaching professor at her alma mater. By her calculations, she has taught the equivalent of the population of a small city various economics courses at the first-, second-, and third-year levels. Her favourite is the first year, with class sizes ranging from 300 to 600 students, because this is the year in which many students experience “aha moments” when it comes to economics. Their 18-year-old minds also keep her young.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I like to go out to dinner with friends or have them over.  I am a big reader and I like to watch movies.  My favourite genre of books is non-fiction especially the educational memoir (examples are Girl meets God, A Thousand Days in Venice and A Jane Austen Education.) I read popular economics.


What are some of the things a reader can learn from picking up your book? Can you tell us the idea behind the "Gossip Column"?

Readers learn about how markets work.  What Supply and Demand really mean.  I wanted to give people a sense of the history of economic thought and so I wanted to do little bios on the big economists.  In keeping with the lighter tone of the book I decided to call it a gossip column because it includes tidbits of gossipy information as well as a (the) major economic contribution.

What was your favourite section of the book to write?

I treated each chapter as if I was decorating a room.  ie colour palette, major furniture, accessories.

The opening story set the tone and i tried to use it as the reference point (hopefully some irony) for the chapter.  For example Chapter 5 features Shakespeare in the story and in the quotes. Chapter 6 uses the golf in the story and in the major analogy. Chapter 7 featured chocolates and opera in the story and examples. I saw the features (story, gossip column, napkin note) as furniture and the quotes as accessories.  The quotes were the most fun.

Why does the subject of your book interest you? What do you feel makes you qualified to teach others about it?

I have been teaching introductory economics sincs 1984.  When I took my first economic course, I basically fell in love with the subject.  I like to think in terms of models rather than just facts.  (ie cause and effect along with feedback loops etc)

This book was a joint effort between you and Richard G. Maranta.  How difficult was it to collaborate and what did you learn from that experience?

I found having a co-author who was a good friend and one I trusted completely, freed me up to write.  I never suffered from writer's block because I knew any writing errors would get fixed.  Because he isn't an economist, he made sure the lay person would understand what was written.

If you had to describe the ideal reader for your book in five words or less, what would they be?

Readers who like to learn.


How do you think people in Waterloo region could benefit from reading your book?

I think everyone should understand how markets work given our economics lives depend on them.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to write their own book?
Get feedback early in the process before you become too committed to your work. 


Is there anything else you would like to share?
The book is surprisingly short but packed with ideas.

Cocktail Party Economics
by Eveline Adomait and Richard Maranta
ISBN: 0132666006 (ISBN13: 9780132666008)
192 pages 
Pearson Education Canada


A little Economics training can go a long way in helping you understand the real world you live in. Assistant Professor of Economics Evie Adomait, along with her writing partner Richard Maranta, write simply about what can appear to be a complicated subject while never dumbing down the intellectual ideas which make Economic thought so important in this day and age. From the classroom to a cocktail party, this book will help you hold your own in conversations about Economics.

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