The Middleman Economy

© SpringerHow Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit
By Marina Krakovsky
September 15 2015
$30 | £19 | Hardback | 9781137530196


“We often think of a middleman as someone to avoid ­­­— the person who stands in the way, or does nothing at all. But the truth is that the person in the middle, whether it's a venture capitalist or a real estate broker, can create great value: and the best middlemen are true partners who make you a lot of money. The Middleman Economy shows you how.”
—Barbara Corcoran, Founder, The Corcoran Group


With the rise of the Internet, many people predicted that middlemen would disappear. After all, who needs them when buyers and sellers can communicate directly? But far from killing them off, the Internet has generated a thriving new breed of middlemen, including middleman businesses such as Airbnb, SitterCity, TaskRabbit, and Uber.

In The Middleman Economy, Silicon Valley-based reporter Marina Krakovsky explores the paradox that although most professionals don't see themselves as the middleman, this role is increasingly important in business today. They are the millions of people in obvious middleman jobs such as sales rep, real estate agent or mortgage broker. But many jobs in our complex economy have a not-so-obvious middleman component, from doctors to reporters.

Despite the growth of the Internet, middlemen of all sorts are still very much with us. For example:

  • Drew Rosenhaus, the most powerful agent in the NFL, infuriates team owners but manages to give clients what they want. In his own not-so-humble opinion, the NFL would fall apart without him.
  • LaJuan Stoxstill-Diggs, an appliance flipper on Craigslist, jumps on opportunities to buy used washers and dryers, trading them at prices and times that make sellers and buyers happy.
  • Julie McKenney, one of Colorado’s most highly regarded wedding planners, not only helps her clients select the right florist, baker, and wedding-gown maker, but makes sure those vendors deliver their best work.

Why are middlemen a persistent presence in our lives? What do they do, exactly? And how can good middlemen overcome our prejudices and distinguish themselves from their parasitic or two-faced namesakes? In The Middleman Economy, Krakovsky identifies and elucidates the six key roles that middlemen play. Drawing on eye-opening research from many fields — economics, sociology, psychology — and integrating it with profiles of some of the most admirable middlemen in the world, Krakovsky shows that the key to being an effective middleman is understanding each of the six roles and learning how to execute them for the benefit of buyers and sellers alike.


“Krakovsky reveals a riveting truth: we are all middlemen. Her captivating examples and precise typology capture the vast reach and diversity of middlemen in every aspect of our lives.”
—Adam Galinsky, Professor of Business, Columbia Business School and co-author of Friend & Foe



About the Author:

Marina Krakovsky writes about ideas in the social sciences, particularly new research in psychology, sociology, and economics. Her work has appeared in Discover, the New York Times Magazine, Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, O, The Oprah Magazine, Psychology Today, Slate, Stanford Magazine, the Washington Post, and Wired. She is also co-author, with economist Kay-Yut Chen, of Secrets of the Moneylab: How Behavioral Economics Can Improve Your Business (Portfolio/Penguin, 2010). Krakovsky graduated from Stanford University with a degree in English and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.


The book can be found on Palgrave.com here and more information can be found on the author’s website here.

For more information or to get in touch with the author please contact:

Rebecca Krahenbuhl, Rebecca.Krahenbuhl@palgrave.com, +44 020 7014 6634