35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Founding book of economic sociology,
This review is from: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
This book is the founder of the prolific field of eocnomic sociology. It introduces the concept that culture (in the form of the protestant ethic) is better adapted to fit capitalism. Therefore, capitalist growth was found more frequently in protestant societies than in others.
Since Webber, there has been much study of this topic, with some of the main names being Lawrence Harrison (focusing on the culture of underdevelopment) and Francis Fukuyama (focusing on how trusting societies benefit economically). Both and others push the frontiers initially established by Webber.
Though controversial especially today in the period of political correctness, Webber presents a strong mainly anecdotal case (given the absense of many statistical tools at the time) of why protestant societies succeed in capitalism; his main argument (though there are many other important ones) is that it is socially acceptable in protestant societies to make a profit, whereas it may be considered immoral in other societies, such as catholic ones.
This is a good theoretical book with a few good anecdotes. It is for someone interested in the history of sociology, especially as it pertains to economics. If you are just looking for a link between culture or religion and economics, look at Larry Harrison.