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I have been looking for this book for more than a year: a clear entry point, and survey, of a cluster of ideas within economics, dealing with motives and dynamics within any organization, family group or society, toward cooperation or cheating. This is, to me, the most central concern of society, the greatest burden of any family, company, society, legal system, or deal. It is the central unspoken topic of politics: who are the free riders gaming and thus threatening the system? The rich? The poor? Various terms relate to this: agency problems (the people you hire or trust have motives to cheat), information asymmetry (different players know different things and exploit this); game theory (with various situations illustrating choices to cooperate or defect, such as "the prisoner's dilemma" and "the tragedy of the commons"). This book provides a lucid, carefully assembled, entry point and survey of these kinds of topics. I love a book that maps out and gives names to things I experience every day, that gives me a higher and clearer view and understanding of these things. In my search for this book, I have assembled many more technical books (which quickly leave the plain English discussion for lots of math), and now at last I feel I can have the comprehension to move into these more advanced levels. But this book is fine in itself, for the popular audience. There is much basis for wisdom and better choices here.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Good information, poor structure and bland writing style. This is essentially a college text book and reads like it. Skip the first and last chapter and it will probably be more enjoyable.