The Irrational Economist

  • by Erwann Michel-Kerjan, Paul Slovic
  • Narrated by Bill Quinn
  • 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Of the 20 most costly catastrophes since 1970, more than half have occurred since 2001. Is this an omen of what the 21st century will be? How might we behave in this new, uncertain and more dangerous environment? Will our actions be rational or irrational?
A select group of scholars, innovators, and Nobel Laureates was asked to address challenges to rational decision making both in our day-to-day life and in the face of catastrophic threats such as climate changes, natural disasters, technological hazards, and human malevolence. At the crossroads of decision sciences, behavioral and neuro-economics, psychology, management, insurance, and finance, their contributions aim to introduce readers to the latest thinking and discoveries.
The Irrational Economist challenges the conventional wisdom about how to make the right decisions in the new era we have entered. It reveals a profound revolution in thinking as understood by some of the greatest minds in our day, and underscores the growing role and impact of economists and other social scientists as they guide our most important personal and societal decisions.
Due to the author's superstitions, Chapter 13 has been intentionally omitted from this book.

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What the Critics Say

“Compelling…. This collection is an intriguing look at the limitations of human knowledge regarding its own nature, especially relevant for the current moment of economic turmoil.” (Publishers Weekly)
The Irrational Economist challenges conventional wisdoms, overturns traditional economic models, and brings to light new discoveries in decision sciences: The result is a profound revolution in thinking. This book will help us cope better with the myriad of important decisions under uncertainty that we face.” (Joseph Stiglitz)
“In The Irrational Economist some of the world’s foremost economists and decision scientists analyze how we make decisions under pressure—and offer thought-provoking ideas about how to improve the process. The result is important and remarkably timely.” (Richard M. Smith, Chairman, Newsweek)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Collection of articles, rather than a book.

This book is certainly very well researched and written, however it is actually a collection of different articles in all of which both authors participated. That creates feeling of discontinuity, as articles differ in their subject matter, and are written in different style. Also, as quite often is the problem with reading of scientific articles, reader gets often mired in details, while dry prose does not help, and really interesting, elucidating ideas are few and far apart. I would only recommend this book to a specialist reader. However, as it is very specific scientific matter and is accompanied by graphs and tables, this book makes very little sense in adiobook format. Get an e-book.
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- Roman

Academic Hubris

What would have made The Irrational Economist better?

The book should have had "uncertainty" or "risk management" in the title. It assumed that decision makers were irrational because they addressed uncertainty differently than the authors would have addressed it. While the made mention of decision theory and the importance of psychology in making decisions, they assumed that their methods were superior. The title or summary should also have emphasized that a major portion of the book dealt with climate change. The authors had a perspective and treated other perspectives as neanderthal.


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It actually contains excellent information on decision making theory and uncertainty.


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- Ray Massey

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-07-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios