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Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  16,145 ratings  ·  1,266 reviews
Nobel laureate Richard H. Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans—predictable, error-prone individuals. Misbehaving is his arresting, frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth—and change the way we think about economics, ourselves, and our world.

Paperback, 358 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by W. W. Norton Company
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David Rubenstein The book does not provide a specific set of rules for behavior, formulations for policy, or new economic theory. Without speaking for Thaler, his book…moreThe book does not provide a specific set of rules for behavior, formulations for policy, or new economic theory. Without speaking for Thaler, his book teaches that humans are unlikely to act consistently by making rational and accurate decisions about what is in their economic best interest.

Economic theory, government policy, and private activity should take into account likely divergence from assumptions of rational behavior, and each should be aware of the predictable (and even less predictable) ways in which humans often act from instinct and unconscious bias rather than from logical analysis.(less)

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Athan Tolis
He’s taken his time and he’s waited his turn, but Richard Thaler has delivered the definitive book on Behavioral Economics, the one you can’t afford to miss. It’s a summary of the main findings, a history of how they came about and a preview of coming attractions, with due care taken to pay tribute to those who came before Thaler and apportion credit to those who worked with him.

The field is not as new as Thaler would have you think. There’s bias in this account and it is a bias against those am
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is the value of 'Misbehaving' after 'Nudge' and 'Thinking Fast and Slow'? After all, 'Thinking' told us the discovery process by behavior science demigod. 'Nudge' explained how to apply behavior science to practical policy-making.

'Misbehaving' has its value independent from 'Nudge' and 'Thinking'. Unique in 'Misbehaving' is a candid account of the struggle getting recognized when your opinions are different from the establishment, a humble understanding on the fortunate events that helped
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Phan Tung
Shelves: economics
Thaler was one of the people who brought behavioural economics into being - and this book covers the story of his journey. He says that classic economics describes man as a logical creature, and bases its theories upon this idealised figure. In behavioural economics on the other hand, humans do a lot of misbehaving.

Herewith some odd nuggets and asides I picked from the book. (view spoiler)
First book I've returned to Audible (and Audible makes that astonishingly easy. not that I expect to need to do it often, but, my gosh, just a click and they send me back my money. impressive).

As my three star rating indicates, this is not a Bad book at all. I listened to it for a little less than three hours, I think, and the bits about behavioral economics were really fun. I enjoyed Thaler's stories about the irrational financial choices people make, which he presents in contrast with the ide
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, psychology
This book is by Richard Thaler, one of the founders of the field of behavioral economics. When he first started getting into this field, he faced mountainous obstacles, mostly from his fellow economists. For many years, he collaborated with Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, who are famous for the book Thinking, Fast and Slow. In 2017, Thaler received the Nobel Prize in economics, for his work in understanding the realities of economic decision making.

This book is enjoyable and engaging, and is p
Huyen Chip
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For someone without any background in economics before, this book is an eye-opener. It gives me many tools that I'm sure I can effectively use to argue with my friends in the future. It's also an easy read. Richard has many interesting stories to tell, each with many lessons to learn from. ...more
Vincent Li
I have mixed feelings about this book. I wrote a brief article about how college doesn't teach you anything, and to my horror I realized that I already learned most of what this book has to say. For someone without any background in behavioral economics, I recommend reading this in conjunction with Thinking Fast and Slow, the two books will pretty much teach you everything you need to know.

Having studied most of the points mentioned in the book (as well as reading several of the papers summariz
Charles Berteau
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was once a cliche that economics theory dealt only with completely rational human beings, under the principle that this was the only way to develop workable models. Even though classical economists, from Smith to Keynes, had acknowledged that human behavior often deviated from the rational, the models persisted in this foundation. I guess the theory was that deviations from the rationale would be okay, because human behavior would vary in random ways, and the rational "average" would still ho ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Yup - this is now (officially) the memoir/autobiography of the 2017 Nobel Prize Winner.....

This was a lot of fun, but it is what it is. It's a career academic writing about his professional journey - basically the story of the evolution of his successful, productive, and (arguably) paradigm shifting lifetime of research - for a popular audience in the context of the intersection of economics and, well, everything related to behavior, which, of course, includes a healthy dose of psychology.

Don-E Merson
This was a really fun read. It gives kind of a behind the scenes look at how the field came about from one of the most prominent creators of the field.
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I now understand why Richard Thaler sounds triumphant in the film adaptation of The Big Short. Thaler's career was long dedicated to showing that economists grossly overstate human rationality in their optimization charts and graphs. They had for decades dismissed or challenged his work on faulty pretences, often just waving away his research (with an "invisible hand") as inconsequential because, paraphrasing, "when the stakes are high people will be incentivized to evaluate every decision in co ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A lot of books in my kindle collection were free downloads from a while back, which would cost anywhere from 0.99$ to 3.99$ if I were to buy them now. I also bought a few books for 0.99$. I recently went through my collection and books that no longer interest me, some of which I have never read. I realized that I deleted only books that I downloaded for free and none of the ones purchased. That is what Thaler calls misbehaving. The value of a book is how much it would cost to replace is now - no ...more
Rapeepat Ingkasit
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The most recommended and must-not-missed book for people who interested in behavioral economics. The way professor Thaler unfold the theory is like his personal career journal. His writing style is super easy to read (except some part about finance and fund investment).

I am very exciting to read tge argument between neo-classical economists e.g. Eugene Fama v.s. these young (and stubborn) economicst who believe brand new stream of economics.

I am greatly encourage you to read this book. It's not
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: waiting
There are many books written about behavioral economics, and quite a few of them were quoted here.
This one is the strong nr.2 on this topic, right after Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

I found here many great life examples, and the author let you decide, yes you have time to vote as many people did, where is the border for every decision. This book is also way better than Nudge by the same author, probably just for this reason.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this would be of interest to academics who want to see how a new field is created.
For learning about "behavioral economics" as a topic, I think other books are better. But all in all, "behavioral economics" is just economists learning about common sense psychology and renaming it as if it were a new thing.
Pavlo Illiashenko
This is a book about behavioral economics/finance as well about people doing it. Good overview of the field evolution from the inside.
Esteban del Mal
This is mostly a memoir wherein the author charts his charmed life in the manner of a humble braggart, but the first 1/3 of the book presents some interesting ideas and theories that leave me wanting to sound more like a behavioral economist when dealing with the hoi polloi that plague me in my day-to-day life (which, to be fair, simply makes me the contrarian acolyte of a humble braggart).

Constrained optimization: the process of optimizing an objective function with respect to some variables in
John Gurney
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Thaler's ironic writing style in Misbehaving, his autobiographical history of the field of behavioral economics. Full disclosure: I didn't have a class with Thaler, but I attended the same University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, n/k/a Booth. I knew of him by reputation and it is a treat to read some of my other professors' names in print, e.g. Anil Kashap and Doug Diamond, and others known by reputation such as Thaler's friend and, at times, ideological opponent, Gene Fama. ...more
Andre Simonsen
After starting my dive in economic theory via Ha-Joon Chang's "Economics: The User Guide" - wich gives a broad stroke on the subject - this was the book I chose to learn more about the type of economic theory wich should - and as everything indicates shall - permeate all other economic theories.

The author does a great job of explaining how he and other economists (and people from other social sciences!) came up with the theory and how it should be used (Basically, the Golden Rule is "Nudges shou
Karlyne Landrum
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to take this book back to the library today, so I don't have any of the funny stories from it to relate here (what? I should've taken notes?), but there were quite a few. Mr. Thaler might be lazy, but he's also a pretty good story-teller.

However, what I really got out of this book was a sense of wonder. I was amazed at the world of professional economics, a field I knew nothing about; I'm not sure I've ever even met an economist. And what surprised, shocked and amazed me was that until the
I really liked this book (as I was expecting!). Thaler's writing is funny, simple and entertaining. I do like authors that while they're sharing knowledge, they are also making us laugh.
I really liked to see this side of behavioural economics. And... even though I already wanted to read Nudge, now I want it even more.
Claudio Cesar Sanches
Fund to read. Excelente for beginners

Richard Thaler gives a historic overview of the Behavior Economics development going from the beginning with Kahneman through the most recent developments.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who liked Nudge and Thinking, Fast and Slow
Misbehaving is the story of how behavioral economics, a new and seemingly radical branch of economics, came to be. For those not too well-versed in economic theory, suffice it to say that one of its foundations is the assumption that we, humans, are rational creatures - and not just rational, but completely rational: at all times and under any and all circumstances. Quite the wild assumption, huh? Well, behavioral economics puts economic's main assumption to the test and proposes that, surprise ...more
Larry Bassett
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
This has been a fascinating audible book. In someways it is like taking an online economics course. This is probably not surprising since the author has been a professor and teacher for a very long time and has a fairly conversational way of presenting information. This is reasonably easy to listen to and the person reading it could well be the author himself.

Before listening to this book I had never heard the phrase behavioral economics. The point that was made over and over again is that the f
By Edward Chancellor

The economics profession has been in the doldrums of late – its leading practitioners failed to anticipate the financial tsunami that crashed over the global economy a few years back. Economists were out of touch - lost in their complex mathematical models that were built on highly unrealistic underlying assumptions. Repeated bouts of market turbulence, however, have been a boon to one relatively new branch of the discipline.

Behavioural economics, in the words of Richard Thal
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the development of behavioral economics and finance.

The book is a little long and the examples are simplified (i. e. presented with extremely little to no mathematics) but easily understood.

My thesis advisor in grad school was an early experimental economist, so this book brought back some of the discussions we used to have, specifically around the usefulness of economic theory that ignored reality. Thaler talks about this in terms of “Econs,” or those mostly fictional b
Misbehaving is a quickie intellectual history of behavioral economics, told by one of its founders, Richard Thaler. He’s a gleeful contrarian: loves economics, but loathes classical economic models and their assumptions of rationality. His career has been devoted to producing both lab-based and empirical studies documenting the irrationality of what he calls Humans (as opposed to Econs).

As an intro to his work, he describes his early years teaching undergraduate economics, and his students’ fru
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
This was one of the best books on economics that I have read in a long time. It discusses the creation of evidence-based economics that work in a world of Humans as opposed to a world of Econs, humans that behave optimally ignoring numerous supposedly irrelevant factors.

In this book, Thaler talks about how he started applying knowledge from psychology to economics to have a better understanding of how actual humans behave as opposed to how Econs behave. He said nice things about Cialdini, the au
Lance Cahill
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
A quite remarkable and entertaining read. I would say the focus of the book is on interesting stories and anecdotes from behavioral economics and less on underlying theory or empirics (notably as Thaler glosses over certain methodological disputes).

The book could have served to be much shorter (it is 358 pages before notes, index, etc), hence the rating of four stars. Some of the chapters seemed odd, especially the one about the NFL (relating to draft strategy), as ones which could have been ax
Yuekun Liu
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is definite a book that I would reread later. Get interested in this book after watching his video:

Thaler develops a story of how behavioural economic grows up and he summarizes a host of findings. This book breaks many my year-long confusing mattered I learned in class. “Economists get in trouble when they make a highly specific prediction that depends explicitly on everyone being economically sophisticated.” I am so eager to see the birth of a new
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Richard H. Thaler is an American economist who was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics.

He is the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where he is the director of the Center for Decision Research. He is also the co-director (with Robert Shiller) of the Behavioral Economics Project at th

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