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The Origin Of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics
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The Origin Of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,208 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Economics is changing radically. This paradigm shift, the biggest in the field for over a century, will have profound implications for business, government and society for decades to come.

In this groundbreaking book, economic thinker and writer Eric Beinhocker surveys the cutting-edge ideas of the leading economists, physicists, biologists and cognitive scientists who are
Paperback, 528 pages
Published April 5th 2007 by Random House Business (first published 2006)
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,208 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
When I was studying engineering at University one of the subjects we had to have an overview of was economics. I wanted the read this book because to me at the time the traditional macro economics theory just didn’t make sense – too many assumptions that were self evidently wrong, and I wanted a more up to date perspective. This book, I was pleased to discover, not only explained traditional economic theories in detail but also agreed that there are basic flaws in this traditional macro economic ...more
Katia N
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is entertaining, intellectually stimulating and well researched book about complexity economics. If you are interested in the alternative views on economic theory, you would find it worth paying attention to. It is written in 2007, but still stands alone as a popular introduction into this field. I am surprised it has not been updated and there is nothing more recent on the topic.

The book is more than 500 pages, but I never felt bored. There is a part where Mr Beinhocker is trying to formul
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About 5 years after finishing college, I started to feel that there was a major, glaring deficiency in my liberal arts education. As a young, naive, and somewhat annoying undergraduate, I had a deep and mostly indefensible aversion to the idea of taking an economics class. It's all a bunch of B.S., I thought--and whatever isn't B.S. would certainly offend my pale pink sensibilities at the time. I managed to get by without having to take one. However, as I got to be a little older, I starting to ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Part I starts out with a nice overview of the development of "traditional economics" since Adam Smith. The characterization of the work of Walras as a "false turn", importing physics metaphors into economics, is particularly striking. The physics framework was maintained until well after WWII with the neoclassical synthesis, while 20th century physics had already moved away from its deterministic 19th century predecessor. Chapter 3 talks about the work at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), where comp ...more
dh Lee
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another eye-opening book.

I've read circa one fifth of the book and the stuff in the part was enough to break down all the stereotypes and misconceptions that I had, partly due to the conventional education of economics- I am an economics major.

Still yet, of the things argued by the author there are some that I cannot fully understand or know whether the argument is true or not. One of them is this ;

Economics activity is firmly rooted in the real, physical world, and thus economics theory cann
Otto Lehto
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beinhocker's monumental book is an undeniable achievement. It popularizes cutting-edge economic ideas in an exceptionally gripping, awe-inspiring, and palatable way. It thereby reaches the apex of the very best books in popular economics. Whether you primarily want to learn about business, economics, sociology, politics, or evolutionary theory, this book has it all covered.

As opposed to many other books in the category, Beinhocker treats his reader with level-headed respect. Without dumbing dow
Sep 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-society
Beinhocker tells us that there is a revolution in the making in the world of economics. The orthodoxies of the equilibrium models have long since ceased to tell the truth about the way markets work. Not only are they not able to render a proper account of the reasons why they periodically fail, but also what is positive about them in the sense of what they do well.

The book tells a good story of what economics attempts to be as a science and the tools it has developed to fulfil its mission. Right
Дмитрий Филоненко
Before reading this book I had almost no idea about economics. In university I studied computer science, and we had a half-year course of economics which was meant to be one of a few ‘humanitarian’ courses, just in order to avoid making from us, students, finished computer nerds. All I remember was two intersecting curves for supply and demand, and a boring lecturer talking not that much about economics as about the Dulles' Plan aimed to undermine the Soviet Union. It was in 2001 when the Soviet ...more
Tadas Talaikis
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
I just saw some seminar notes about it. Finally, that book I had heard few years ago, about the end of left and right nonsense, - complex rational realism.
Jerry Ward
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the seriously interested in economics
I can’t recall having ever read an author with the clarity of exposition and the depth and breadth of erudition that is demonstrated by Dr. Beinhocker in this book. It is an impressive work.

The opening sentence of the book asserts that “the field of economics is going through its most profound change in more than a hundred years.” Since much of the book directly addresses and analyzes that change and its implications, I think the book could have more accurately been entitled The Evolution of Ec
Lee Robinson
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an economist who has grown very disillusioned with mainstream economics (or was never illusioned to begin with), I am so happy this book exists.

It is a brilliant outline of how the newly emerging field of complexity economics can help to reform economics from its reliance on static, equilibrium concepts that have hampered the discipline and held it back for over a century. And although this book is subversive, it is not one of the run of the mill straw man range of books having a pop at econo
Juan Pablo
I've been meaning to thoroughly destroy economics for some time now and after finishing this book, I'm saying to myself "Heck, maybe I will if only for its necessary rebirth."

I studied econ back in college and the more I learned, the more painfully I experienced the disparity between reality and the "science" most powerfully endowed to observe and prescribe the measures for our understanding of human and societal interaction. Let me clear up the "": economics became over a hundred years a powerf
Oct 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 85% of this book was worthy of a 5 star rating and one of the most interesting books I've ever read. His analysis and linkage between Evolutionary Theory and the Economy was compelling. It provides us with a whole new lens to see the economy through and Benhocker's ideas of complex adaptive and open systems, I believe, to be extremely relevant. The case he makes against Neo-classical economic theory is long overdue. As Beinhocker makes clear at the opening of the book "Origin of Wealth ...more
Jonathan Jeckell
I went through a ridiculous number of highlighters and tape flags marking this book. It provided a fascinating look at how theorists are bringing economics into the 20th Century. Existing economics models borrowed from physics, and thermodynamics in particular, most notably with the concept of equilibrium. This book shows how the economy (and much else) are not so simple, but follow rules found in complex adaptive systems and evolution. Moreover, it provided some fascinating insights into organi ...more
Saku Mantere
I am deeply ambivalent about this book. On the one hand, it is a splendidly written introduction to the limitations in classical economics. It is also a great intro to complexity theory. Yet, in its insistence that complexity is a theory for everything (from doing firm strategy to transcending the left-right dichotomy in politics), the book's main argument is trivialized and becomes almost ridiculous.
Anup Gampa
Dec 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't have the advantage of Marx's theory when I read this book, but I enjoyed it. I might like it a lot more now!
Ganesh Poomal
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Origin of wealth, Beinhocker attempts to answer what went wrong in the traditional view of economics where participants are characterized as infinitely self interested and infinitely far sighted. Author explains drawbacks of this view and how new complexity view of economics differs from this view. Author mentions that this new complexity view does not help us predict economic outcomes in future but explains the several observations we see in economy for example, boom and bust cycle in econom ...more
Mbogo J
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book gets all the stars mostly for the breadth of knowledge covered and it picks an additional star for the rendition.The book was written more than a decade ago but its ideas are still fresh and have even spawned new books specializing in individual fields examined here. It is also a good thing this book was written before the 07 financial crisis. It ensured it was not held captive by it or get caught up in the never ending battle of why Economics did not predict it.

The central idea of the
Jan Poruba
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most stimulating books I have ever read. The answer to the question on the origin of wealth is very simple. Wealth creation is the product of the evolution – basically the same processes that have driven the growing order and complexity of the biosphere. Dont worry, it is not another attempt to renew Social Darwinism. Rather author sees evolution as something more general, an algorithm for innovation. Put it really simple, the evolution of the economic system from making stone tools i ...more
Khalil James
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beinhocker dives into the complex mechanisms behind the human economy.

It has long been established that trade happens when two people marginally prefer each others' resource. This preference has a subjective quality to it. But from there traditional economists lost the human in the economic system. Further, there desire to form a Science out of a branch of Political Philosophy wedded them to the well-known physics of there day - one that hadn't yet reeled from Chaos Theory, Theory of Computation
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's worth noting that it's going to be difficult for me to appreciate a book about economics as more than a study of human psychology. Beinhocker's fundamental view is that economics should be studied as a complex system rather than a constantly balancing, predictable see saw.

And while he provides rich examples to substantiate his view, it's difficult to not read this book as a defensive thesis of the field of economics as a whole in light of nearly endless data demonstrating that economists a
Jeff Rogers
This book has a single key idea that the author draws out to 450 pages, when it could have been done in 50. The idea is that people form different ideas for businesses which are then implemented and either succeed and grow or stagnate and die. The ones that succeed are those that are best suited to the current regulatory, economic, and social environment. The ones that continue to succeed are those ones that can best adapt to a changing environment. Neat idea, and probably a new one to a lot of ...more
Mihai Pop
Written by someone coming from McKinsey consultants, it is well understood the wide aim of the book. The subject is so wide that it probably was originally written in a whole library, and it got condensed to this book, to which a certain theme was added. Each of these parts are written way too detailed, for just a general view, and the theme although quite compelling, is almost lost in the book for much of its space.

Simply put, is a very good book for things you don't expect, and a poor book for
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El autor da una mirada más científica a la economía, argumentando en algunos puntos en contra de la teoría tradicional, como lo son los equilibrios creados gracias al mercado y asunciones macro-económicas erradas . Incluye la visión de la economía como un sistema adaptativo complejo que funciona bajo las leyes de la termodinámica. Librazo
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been ages since I read this book. Think I originally read it the summer of 2008. I recall it being a fascinating and eye-opening read!
Nick Gall
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the clearest attempts to describe economics as an evolutionary science.
Ivan Gradjansky
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant book as to why mainstream economics is not as explanatory as it should be.
Tony Hsieh
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the book
Matt Reynaud
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant piece of literature.
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Why am I reading this book? 1 16 May 29, 2013 03:51PM  
Goodreads Authors...: Book Review 2 164 May 13, 2013 02:04PM  
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“Intuitively, many people imagine that humankind's upward climb in economic sophistication was a slow, steady journey, a linear progression from stone tools to DVD players. The actual story, pieced together by archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and economists, is not at all like that. It is far more dramatic.” 0 likes
“The evolutionary economist Richard Nelson of Columbia University has pointed out that there are in fact two types of technology that play a major role in economic growth. The first is Physical Technology; this is what we are accustomed to thinking of as technology, things such as bronze-making techniques, steam engines, and microchips. Social Technologies, on the other hand, are ways for organizing people to do things.” 0 likes
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