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Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  22 reviews
From Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times bestselling author Robert Shiller, a new way to think about how popular stories help drive economic events

In a world in which internet troll farms attempt to influence foreign elections, can we afford to ignore the power of viral stories to affect economies? In this groundbreaking book, Nobel Prize-winning economist and
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Princeton University Press
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Peter Mcloughlin
Economics is part of politics and politics has a strong narrative element to it largely because narratives get people to act a certain way to cooperate a certain way, to understand the world in a certain way and to vote and become politically active in a certain way largely because narratives are how humans make sense of the world. This is a history and philosophy book disguised as economics which used to be called the worldly philosophy back in the day just as science got called natural ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, dnf
The author claims there is a need on economic theory to understand not only metrics, but narratives that create reality and affect economic decisions. I think this is the only point where we agree.

The first red flag for me is lack of references for Dawkins’ Memetics, nor Network and Web Science literature. Yes, epidemiology has been working on this for a long time, but there are at many other disciplines that have made important contributions to similar problems. The dismissal of those areas
Owlseyes inside Notre Dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...30-minutes wait to call the firemen...and
"I don’t know how he takes bad news; I think he denies it, he claims it’s a lie. I don’t know what he’ll do if the stock market were to crash now. What could he do? He would blame the Federal Reserve, that’s for sure.”
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Good if you haven't already read Shiller's many other books, such as Irrational Exuberance, where this information is already covered. Needs to take the next step and ground this hypothesis in some empirical testing. But as someone who has studied BOTH linguistics AND economics in grad school, I find the premise intriguing and well worth further research.
Kent Winward
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shiller's take on economics intrigues me and he greatly informed my views on finance/debt in The Subprime Solution: How Today's Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do about It and Finance and the Good Society.

In his latest book, he takes behavioral economics into the realm of the society's behavior and the stories we tell ourselves about economics. This book is more of an outline of a theory that needs data and exploration, but the biggest takeaway I gained wasn't one that was
Humberto Rd
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Falls short of expectations considering all the hype it received before it was released.

It is good, but its is behind Irrational Exuberance and probably on par with Animal Spirits
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shiller is a Nobel Prize winning economist who is known for “behavioral economics”, an area of study that emphasizes the aspects of economics that have steered away from the much more common emphases of the field on high levels of focused goal directed optimizing behavior by smart decision makers with lots of information and knowledge of how to process that information.

The idea here is that economic decisions are not the result of human computers but more the result of more limited (bounded
Warren Mcpherson
An exploration of how common narratives relate to economic events and trends.
The book reviews narratives that coincided with economic upturns, downturns, wars, and hyperinflation. Several of the insights are quite interesting and show some of the differences between what we hear after the fact and what people were thinking at the time. As logical as these insights are they tend to be a little anticlimactic.
The book is intended to promote the idea of further study into connections between popular
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author invites us to look at major US economic events from the past two centuries not just as a simple mix of economic policies and indicators, but also in the light of prevailing economic narratives that spread virally throughout the population. The author establishes a link between the spread of economic narratives and epidemiology – the science of how diseases spread –, and a significant part of the book is dedicated to the historical analysis of the spread and various mutations of ...more
In this powerful book, a simple, intuitive proposition is presented—the stories humans tell influence economic outcomes. While you may think that’s obvious, and the book is not filled with data (it itself is presented more as a narrative of woven together anecdotes), it’s an addictive and powerful narrative. It’s also a “quick read” for a book about economics. The ideas and stories presented will influence how you think of the past and present, and future. It will probably even inform actions ...more
Dec 09, 2019 added it
In theory, I love this book. It is so educational and I love how it goes against the standard economics we learn in school. Most of the time economics is based on the assumption that all people act rationally, which just is not true. I love the idea that popular narratives largely impact economic consequences. However, when I checked this book out, I forgot that this is an economic book. As interesting as it is, it reads quite like a textbook. I made it 6 chapters in (and really enjoyed the ...more
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is an important addition to the literature of behavorial economics.

We all remember our parents telling us, "that may have not been what you intended, but ultimately, 'perception becomes reality'". The seeds of a story (impression, interpretation, speculation, etc.) can metastasize into Shiller's "narratives" and influence or even drive macroeconomic events. Likening the spread of economic narratives to medical contagion, Dr. Shiller helps us understand better their transmission,
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
The concept of narratives driving the market is great (though I was thinking this way prior to reading this book so I am biased). On the other hand, the book didn't point out how to tell which narratives will spread/be important. For example, while it talked extensively about bitcoin it didn't cover how to tell whether talk about other crypto-currencies will take off leading to a new narrative and lower bitcoin prices
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it
3.7 stars. I enjoyed the historical vignettes presented throughout, but wasn’t as convinced by the books core proposal - that narratives drive economics outcomes (& not for instance the other way around). Of course narratives are important but this book places them centre stage pretty liberally and often without evidence, while questions of true-correlation are thrown to the wind.
Bill Zarges
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very heavy but fascinating insights
Nouvel Diamant
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
With all due respect: I was rather disappointed and not so much convinced that this book was "ready to be published" following Shiller's previous books. To me, this book is somehow light and vague.
Nov 26, 2019 marked it as to-read
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What to say. If it wasn’t for Robert Shiller, we wouldn’t understand why the world works the way it does.
John Wolf
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting perspective

Good historical observations on economic downturns, and causation based on narratives. Interesting reading very in depth stay with it good read.
Hans Sandberg
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun, fascinating and very interesting. Expands economics in a very fruitful, but also destabilizing way, which is not a bad thing.
William See
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! New knowledge!
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
manal halabi
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Dec 10, 2019
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Oct 28, 2019
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Nov 29, 2019
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Nov 05, 2019
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Oct 23, 2019
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Robert James "Bob" Shiller (born Detroit, Michigan, March 29, 1946) is an American economist, academic, and best-selling author. He currently serves as the Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics at Yale University and is a Fellow at the Yale International Center for Finance, Yale School of Management. Shiller has been a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) since ...more
“the business of statesmanship is to invent new terms for institutions which under their old names have become odious to the public.” 0 likes
“We need to incorporate the contagion of narratives into economic theory. Otherwise, we remain blind to a very real, very palpable, very important mechanism for economic change, as well as a crucial element for economic forecasting. If we do not understand the epidemics of popular narratives, we do not fully understand changes in the economy and in economic behavior.” 0 likes
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