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Butterfly Economics: A New General Theory of Social and Economic Behavior
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Butterfly Economics: A New General Theory of Social and Economic Behavior

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  193 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In this cogently and elegantly argued analysis of why human beings persist in engaging in behavior that defies time-honored economic theory, Ormerod also explains why governments and industries throughout the world must completely reconfigure their traditional methods of economic forecasting if they are to succeed and prosper in an increasingly complicated global marketpla ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 25th 2001 by Basic Books (first published January 1st 1998)
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Jacob Hess
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Butterfly Economics is an interesting book that introduces the theories and thoughts of Ormerod on economic behavior. His entire first chapter is dedicated to an experiment involving communication between ant which he converts to an elegant theory of interacting agents that stock investors should heed. Using economic and stock market data from the past century, Ormerod's braided new ideas combine the disciplines of psychology and economics to describe how the behavior of humans affects those aro ...more
Lifu Tao
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very intriguing and interesting read. It definitely helps to have a math and business/economics background to understand the content.
I recommend this book to anybody who’s wants to learn consumer behavior at a macro level or macro-economics in general.
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
It would be tough for me to recommend this book, although it had some interesting observations. The basic premise is that contrary to the treatment of consumers in classical economics, consumers’ preferences are not fixed and that consumers interact in ways that modify preferences (thus, in effect, changing a price vs. demand curve). Of course! Actually, "Tipping Point" makes the same point much more clearly and much more substantively. The analogy that he makes to ants’ choosing between two ...more
Jul 29, 2010 rated it liked it
This book started out interestingly enough with the little morsal of simile that the economy is like an ant colony and preceded to explain a study about ants going to seperate, but equal piles of food and why that is like business cycles. Now that doesn't sound that interesting when I explain it, but it is an eyebrow raiser in the book. Well it goes on and by the late second half of the book I found myself wishing for the end and skimming. Taking a line from another review, it gets a little bori ...more
Grim-Anal King
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
It seems I'm heading backwards through Ormerod's books so there was a little repetition for me but this proved another decent dismantling of some economic shibboleths, seemingly nudging the reader towards a more rational economic approach. ...more
Kelly Reid
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it
A bit hard to get through, but had some good ideas. Reading it in 2013, not 1998 has benefits and drawbacks. The chapters with tons of scatter-plot graphs weren't my thing, but if you're really hardcore into math, you will like it.

Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I find myself thinking about the ant experiment very often, in particular while watching political and financial news.
Mar 03, 2009 rated it liked it
A little dry and tedious but a good introduction to behavioral economics and finance.
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Paul Ormerod was the head of the Economic Assessment Unit at The Economist and the director of economics at the Henley Centre for Forecasting in England. He has taught economics at the universities of London and Manchester, and was a founder of the consulting firm Volterra. He lives in London.

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