Why should I buy this book ? When answering, consider the following..
1/ Most American books in this genre [Malcolm Gladwell, Freakonomics etc.] are hideously shallow, and promise lots more than they can deliver.
2/ A book like this has to be very good to be worth working through the hideous non-British [and non-Canadian ! ] spelling such as ‘humor’.
3/ Isn’t promising to improve decisions about ‘health, wealth and happiness’ just overdosing the hyperbole rather ? Wouldn’t managing my expectations by saying that it is an interesting and enjoyable way of spending a few hours curled up with a book in the sunshine [*] be better?
* – Assuming there is some sunshine in Britain this ‘summer’..
Gladwell is not an academic; if you would like to read, at least the academic version of his ‘Blink’, you may want to read Gerd Gigerenzer’s book on Gut Feelings.
Freakonomics may have spawned bad books but it itself was plagued, to an extent, by the inclusion of a journalist in the authors.
Oh and Kahnemann, whose Nobel prize was for his work in behavioral finance and hedonic psychology, acknowledges that the work benefitted tremendously because of the synthetic insight (synthetic as in ‘pertaining to synthesis’ not ‘artificial’) brought by Thaler.
May be you would like to go to the RSA today – July 17th – where Thaler is giving a talk. An hour is worth it to test things out, and better, if you doubt him without buying the book, to question him. No?
PS: No I have nothing to do with him. In fact, I have written some scathing reviews of books in the ‘popular economics’ genre. So I am very keen on the genre – but I am one of those who make up my mind after reading a book, so I thought it is worth a mention.
Thanks Shefaly – at the end of the day, many of those books are not ‘academic texts’, they are designed by a wide range of people, which is not a bad thing in itself. Sadly I live out in the sticks, but we do sometimes get the likes of Craig Leadbetter and his ilk giving talks in the region, so maybe some of the other authors will head ‘up west’ in the not too distant future.
Bedd Gelert: Thanks. I think the RSA talk will be online with the Q&A.
Alas, the talk could have been better. Only 20 minutes were given to Professor Thaler, followed by 10 min by Julian Le Grand and annoyingly enough, I think the most share of voice was taken by the ‘anchor’ from RSA who should have facilitated rather than used his place on the stage as a position of advantage…
On ‘academic texts’ bit: Your comment made me think that the facile nature of many of these texts perhaps bothers you, hence my comment. I think presenting a complex concept for popular consumption has a higher duty to presenting things with accuracy. But sensationalism wins the day, alas.