The Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them and They Shape Us

Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan. PublicAffairs, $25.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-61039-492-5
Fisman, a behavioral economics professor, and Sullivan, editorial director of Harvard Business Review Press, have created an entertaining overview of economic thought from WWII to the 2000s. Declaring the modern world to be “in the midst of a grand social experiment that has elevated efficiency above all other virtues,” the authors set out to investigate how the market has affected people’s lives and ways of thinking. To back up this premise, they delve into topics as varied as WWII-era POW camp economics, Major League Baseball, 13th-century Italian merchants, and the arrangement of prom dates. The authors claim that markets have played an increasingly intrusive role in recent years, closely tied to the growth of electronic communications as a disruptive economic force. This leads them to a question of regulation: how can we work to fix these intrusive markets? The treatment of the topic is witty and energetic. However, to benefit from it, readers will have to accept the premise that markets are having an outsized, personal effect on their lives—a case that is not compellingly made. Agent: Jay Mandel, William Morris Endeavor. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-61039-493-2
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