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Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy…

Animal Spirits was written by two well-known economists (George Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller), with many well-regarded books to their names.  It’s about a fascinating subject:  behavioral economics and how human psychology affects market decisions.  It received many impressive blurbs for its book jacket.   The subject is very intriguing, it dove-tails nicely with many of the books I’ve read on cognitive errors, and I imagine the authors have some very interesting ideas.  I hope one day they do a much better job of expressing themselves.

I quit reading it a little over half-way through (I cannot remember the last time I “walked out” in the middle of a book, FYI).  The writing is illogical and incomplete, just terrible.  I felt like I was reading a draft version which had been edited by a non-English speaker, from which sentences and clauses had been randomly removed.  On top of that, the apparently complete paragraphs often included phrases like “although the data appears to be inconclusive, the authors believe that their theory is correct.”  Thinking back on it, it’s hard to believe the authors reviewed the text before it was published.

I would like to learn more about behavioral economics.  If any of you have any suggestions please let me know.  Meanwhile, I suggest you pass on Animal Spirits.


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