Mind of the Market (2009)

The first half of this book took me 50 weeks to read, the second half took 2 days. Hurray for quickly finishing all unfinished books in time to make a clean slate for New Years.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the book, here’s a brief overview from Publishers Weekly:

“Shermer (The Science of Good and Evil), columnist for Scientific American and publisher of Skeptic magazine, provides an in-depth examination of evolutionary economics. Using fascinating examples—from monkeys that balk at unfair distribution of rewards after completing a task to humans who feel cheated when offered $10 of free money if a partner is given $90—Shermer explores the evolutionary roots of our sense of fairness and justice, and shows how this rationale extends to the market. Drawing upon his expertise as a scientist and the works of noted economists, Shermer argues convincingly that human beings are not exclusively self-centered, the market itself is moral, and modern economies are founded on our virtuous nature. He explores how we mind our money, the value of virtue, why money can’t buy happiness and whether we are really free to make choices. Though dense in places, this book offers much insight into human behavior and rationales regarding money and fairness and will be of interest to serious readers of science or business. (Jan.)” Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The book was actually pretty good. The reason that I originally put it down was that it started to drift away from straight economic theory into evolutionary biology, and social science. And, while those things are related they are not nearly as interesting. I give the book a 2 (above average).

Author: Jeff

Born a cantankerous old man, mellowed ever so slightly by age.

3 thoughts on “Mind of the Market (2009)”

  1. You tagged this post as “boooks”.

    Also you should have a “reviews” section where all your reviews are gathered. Yes I know you have a “search” but I don’t even know where to start to browse all your reviews. Make a page post haste.

    I need to start reading more really the last six months of 2009 have almost been reading free but I’ve watched a lot of good content and played alot of good games. Personally I go in cycles where for alot of 2007 and 2008 I read alot but didn’t play alot of games or watch movies. That has turned around abit recently with more people on XB and getting Netflix. Regardless you are a good man I’m currently reading the new Terry Goodkind book and 40 pages in sadly not very impressed. Personally I need to get back into Ice and Fire before the new one comes out.

    JJA don’t forget that you are jja and nothing will ever change that.

    have a nice day

  2. i’ve long been a fan of shermer, although his libertarian views are not often my own. i actually find his writing on evolution much more interesting, and i was sad to miss him when he spoke here at u of c a couple years back in support of this book.

    as you can imagine, he is a somewhat prominent figure in the new atheist movement, although i believe he has been critical of it at times. i also very much recommend Skeptic magazine to those who, like myself, enjoy poking fun of superstition in whatever form it may take.

    1. I would say that Shermer is a borderline libertarian. He supports “soft paternalism” which isn’t really a libertarian concept.

      I think that the mechanisms of “evolution” are some what interesting, but it is actually not a very good optimization technique. Thinks like particle swarm optimization work better. And, biological evolution is is even worse. It is amazing how often nature comes up with horrible solutions to problems.

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