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Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature is at Odds with Economics--and Why it Matters Hardcover – December 16, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Popularizers are always good, but again we have to compare any behavioral-economics popularizer to Nudge; it's plenty popular, written with great energy, and moreover written by one of the great fathers of the field. One would be hard-pressed to find anyone more qualified to write such a book than Thaler.
Peter Ubel's Free-Market Madness wants to go beyond the Nudge fellows, and I think that's where it goes astray. The Nudge guys, you may remember, describe themselves as `libertarian paternalists': they believe in the power of markets, but at the same time they realize that policymakers have to make choices about other people's lives. I mean `policymaker' broadly: when the HR administrator at your company decides whether to automatically enroll employees in the company's 401(k), she's making policy. Defaults matter very much. Almost none of Nudge is controversial, inasmuch as it just recommends flipping some defaults, but always allowing people the option of flipping back.
Professor Ubel is more controversial in Free-Market Madness. When people might systematically make bad choices about their own lives, he sees no problem in more-forcibly trying to sway them to the right side.Read more ›
The factors that lead to such illogically logical (or logically illogical?) decisions are the focus of Peter Ubel's accessible, lively and very important discussion of the emerging field of behavioral economics. While there are numerous other books out there on the topic, this serves as a much-needed primer for readers who aren't ever going to read the scholarly works on the subject and who prefer a solid introduction to the topic itself before delving into policy issues that flow from it. The `what to do' element is the weakest portion of the book, but the rest is a fascinating introduction to the nature of the conundrums that policymakers face.Read more ›
First, I must say that Dr. Ubel is an excellent writer. His work is accessible and easy to understand. In general his method is to first posit and explain current economic "thought" as it applies to rationality and then to compare those concepts to actual human behavior.
Dr. Ubel, in step by step fashion, explains why economists hold certain beliefs concerning the market and then proceeds to explain, in a respectful manner, why the market doesn't operate in the assumed fashion. The author explains why human nature is nearly always at odds with economists assumptions about human behavior. He explains the folly in continuing to follow economic methodologies and policies that we know, from the behavioral sciences, don't work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Goes into details of how free market concept's success is a disaster to health, at least in some ways.Published on September 11, 2014 by dr rohit baslas
Muito esclarecedor sobre como as pessoas tomam decisões e sobre o quanto a cultura de consumo americana é influenciada pela publicidade sem restrições.Published on August 28, 2014 by Luciano Pires
Like many other reviewers, I found this book to be very well-written, entertaining and enjoyable to read. Many interesting examples and insights. Read morePublished on June 14, 2013 by Lawrence Ruane
Read this book for class. This book generated tons of great discussion and inspired some very interesting projects! Would definitely recommend.Published on November 21, 2012 by Student
This book is a total waste of time to read. This guy is a Nanny State--Big Government guy, although he denies it. Read more
Markets need to be restrained because unconscious behaviors often cause people to act against their own best interests. Read morePublished on December 29, 2010 by Loyd Eskildson
Despite the rather goofy title, this book is a great review of the history and study of behavioral economics. Read morePublished on December 4, 2010 by R Gross
Free Market Madness
The book the "Free Market Madness" is an interesting read that highlights many of the human flaws when it comes to making rational decisions. Read more
What a great introduction to the irrationality behind rationality. Its an easy read and Peter Ubel gives examples of actual studies of human irrationality he has conducted or... Read morePublished on July 10, 2009 by UL