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).