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Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism Hardcover – February 18, 2009
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George A. Akerlof, Co-Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics
Robert J. Shiller, Co-Winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics
Winner of the 2009 Book Award, getAbstract International
Winner of the 2009 Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security, TIAA-CREF
Winner of the 2009 Finance Book of the Year, CBN (China Business News) Financial Value Ranking
Shortlisted for the 2009 Book of the Year, Financial Times//Goldman Sachs Business
Featured on the Financial Times (FT.com)'s Books of the Year list
Listed on Bloomberg.com in a review by James Pressley as two of "our favorite financial-crisis books this year."
Akerlof and Shiller are the first to try to rework economic theory for our times. The effort itself makes their book a milestone. . . . And their book takes their case not just to economists, but also to the general reader. It is short (176 pages of text) and easy enough for laymen to understand.---Louis Uchitelle, New York Times Book Review
There is barely a page of Animal Spirits without a fascinating fact or insight.---John Lanchester, New Yorker
From the Inside Flap
"This book is a sorely needed corrective. Animal Spirits is an important--maybe even a decisive--contribution at a difficult juncture in macroeconomic theory."--Robert M. Solow, Nobel Prize-winning economist
"This book is dynamite. It is a powerful, cogent, and convincing call for a fundamental reevaluation of basic economic principles. It presents a refreshingly new understanding of important economic phenomena that standard economic theory has been unable to explain convincingly. Animal Spirits should help set in motion an intellectual revolution that will change the way we think about economic depressions, unemployment, poverty, financial crises, real estate swings, and much more."--Dennis J. Snower, president of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy
"Animal Spirits makes a very timely and significant contribution to the development of a new dominant paradigm for economics that acknowledges the imperfections of human decision making, a need which the panic in financial markets makes all too apparent. I am not aware of any other book like this one."--Diane Coyle, author of The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters
"Akerlof and Shiller explore how animal spirits contribute to the performance of the macroeconomy. The range of issues they cover is broad, including the business cycle, inflation and unemployment, the swings in financial markets and real estate, the existence of poverty, and the way monetary policy works. This book is provocative and persuasive."--George L. Perry, Brookings Institution
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Dr. Akerlof has much to say about how psychology drives the economy. Reading this book solidified my belief in what I suspected. It has helped me with the decisions I make in my trades.
I've re read this book several times and each read is well worth it.
They spend most of the book addressing the psychological motivations for the biggest economic crises in the US over the past century and give a refresher course in basic macroeconomics. Throughout their entire discussion, though, the most radical idea they introduce is near the end of the book. They suggest that in order to properly understand macroeconomics, it is essential to discuss the "special poverty among minorities." Or rather, that levels of inequality in a society influence the macroeconomy. This idea is illustrative of the authors' main point on the heavy influence of human psychology on the economy. They craft the argument that the conventional wisdom in economics is flawed because it does not take into account societal constraints and human behavior, which greatly influence the economy.
The questions the reader is left with upon finishing the book are: 1. How can we properly include psychology in economic models? 2. To what extent is the government needed to establish the "rules of the game"? The authors emphasize the importance of these topics, but hardly provide prescriptive solutions.
Overall, this is a well-written, well-argued book on the topic of behavioral economics and finance. Whether you agree or disagree with Keynesian economics, this text will definitely raise some interesting points.