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Misbehaving Audiobook

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

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Audible Editor Reviews

The unlikely duo of economics and behavioural psychology unite in the tremendously entertaining and vastly informative unabridged audiobook, Misbehaving, written by American economist Richard H. Thaler and narrated by L. J. Ganser. Breaking away from traditional understandings of economy, Thaler believes that in understanding and expecting irrational human behaviour, economists can predict the movement of the markets and economies far more accurately. In this enlightening book he helps you to recognise and make wise business and financial decisions, while taking into consideration the possibility of a volatile future economy. Available now from Audible.

Publisher's Summary

Get ready to change the way you think about economics.

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.

Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Early in his research, Thaler realized these Spock-like automatons were nothing like real people. Whether buying a clock radio, selling basketball tickets, or applying for a mortgage, we all succumb to biases and make decisions that deviate from the standards of rationality assumed by economists. In other words we misbehave. More importantly, our misbehavior has serious consequences. Dismissed at first by economists as an amusing sideshow, the study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make better decisions in our lives, our businesses, and our governments.

Coupling recent discoveries in human psychology with a practical understanding of incentives and market behavior, Thaler enlightens listeners about how to make smarter decisions in an increasingly mystifying world. He reveals how behavioral economic analysis opens up new ways to look at everything from household finance to assigning faculty offices in a new building, to TV game shows, the NFL draft, and businesses like Uber.

Laced with antic stories of Thaler's spirited battles with the bastions of traditional economic thinking, Misbehaving is a singular look into profound human foibles. When economics meets psychology, the implications for individuals, managers, and policy makers are both profound and entertaining.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2015 Richard H. Thaler (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Judy Corstjens 27/01/2016
    Judy Corstjens 27/01/2016 Member Since 2016

    Judith Corstjens Author of: Xtensity, Why 5% of Dieters Succeed; Storewars: The Battle for Mindspace and Shelfspace; Strategic Advertising

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Behavioural Economics in Perspective"

    I've read a lot of behavioural economics books, but this one has a genuinely different perspective. Although it does present many of the standard ideas of behavioural economics, (how we contradict ourselves by wanting inconsistent things, or make systematic errors in our perceptions and decisions etc. and it does this very well) the book's overall theme is behavioural economics itself. It explains how BE impacts on classical economics, and how difficult and challenging it is for classically trained economists to adjust to what is genuinely a paradigm shift. Thaler draws out the importance of these shifts - before I had seen BE as a set of quirky anomalies and wrinkles but Thaler argues that humans, not 'econs', have to be put at the heart of economics, and that this calls for a fundamental reassessment of the subject. Thaler's style is personal (the book is written largely as a memoir) and sometimes it gets a touch self indulgent (the reorganisation of the economics department's offices), but Thaler's humorous tone and wit often carry this off. I loved the concept of the 'invisible hand wave'.

    Narration: perfect, Ganser sounds like a sympathetic American economics professor.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim W 03/05/2016
    Tim W 03/05/2016 Member Since 2017
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    "Excellent"

    I thoroughly enjoyed Misbehaving.

    As other reviewers suggest it is quite autobiographical in tone so expect plenty of personal anecdotes from the author's life, rather than a straight-up discussion of the subject matter.

    For me, this works really well. It allows you to get a real insight into the difficulties of trying to push a new way of thinking (behavioral economics) into an established field (traditional economics).

    Misbehaving is, as the subtitle states, about the story of how this new field, behavioral economics came about, rather than just a direct explanation of what behavioral economics is. Although it does a fine job of explaining this too.

    As a sidenote: I found one of the later chapters about the author's work for the UK government especially interesting, as a Brit myself.

    Plus the naration was excellent.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MWood 16/09/2015
    MWood 16/09/2015
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    "Interesting but long"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes I would, if it was a friend with a dedicated interest in economics and psychology. However, at 13 hours, its quite long for an audio book. Making it hard to digest in places, especially as, at times it felt like an autobiography rather than a book about behavioural economics. Too much time telling us about his life. Maybe there's an abridged version. Having said that some of the points were fascinating, and I think I took quite a lot from it,


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Ideas and theories were good


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Performance was ok.


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    n/a


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eoin 26/06/2015
    Eoin 26/06/2015 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "makes sense to me"

    Interesting history of the discipline with great stories backed up by sound science. A great read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    phil chadwick 29/05/2016
    phil chadwick 29/05/2016 Member Since 2016
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    "Brilliant explanation of behavioural economics"

    Richard Thaler makes a complex academic discipline easy to understand - the mark of true intelligence. Very informative

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. R. D. Cox London 09/04/2016
    Mr. R. D. Cox London 09/04/2016 Member Since 2012
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    "the way things really are"

    what I like most about this book is the provocative title, which I will use
    since my introduction to behavioural economics working on pensions policy in 2007, my fascination with the subject continues to grow
    will read again

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 23/02/2016 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't sit next to this author at a dinner party..."

    Glad I read this solid history of behavioral economics but the author's waffly anecdotes about academic life and cheesy cornball humour really start grate after four hundred pages

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 14/02/2016
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    "A bit disappointing."

    This book is interesting and insightful. However I'm not sure if it's the narration or the author but it starts to get very long winded at times. It is as though once the point has been made it has to be remade again and again just to make sure you get it. The topics are interesting and each chapter starts off well and makes you eager to listen. Unfortunately it doesn't keep the momentum. I stopped listening at the 78% mark as I was just becoming too frustrated. I might try reading this book as I suspect it may be the narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Georgi Vladkov Petkov 23/10/2015 Member Since 2013
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    "Overall good but very annoying language ."

    A lot of the book is "what we did with Dani and how we spend the crazy budjet we were given " . Focus is lost every second chapter.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hyperspacial UK 23/06/2017
    Hyperspacial UK 23/06/2017 Member Since 2016
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    "fascinating and informative"

    a very enjoyable and informative book told well. kept my interest through and left me wanting to find out more about this facilitating subject

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Jay Friedman
    Dallas, TX United States
    30/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book if it's your first about Behav. Econ"

    This might be slightly unfair, but I couldn't get into this book because I've essentially heard/read all this before. If you're familiar with the Freakonomics series, Influence, or any of the many other B.E. books, you simply won't find anything new in here. On the other hand, if you're brand new to B.E., this would be a really great starter book. However, as comprehensive as it is, it's nowhere near as entertaining as the Freakonomics series or Influence. I even liked "secrets of the money lab" better.

    58 of 63 people found this review helpful
  • Barrie Bramley
    South Africa
    04/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I'm a lot smarter than I was before"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I loved this book. I'm no economist. Didn't study it, don't really understand the technical detail to it, but I loved the interaction and story of what happens when human beings are considered in Economics instead of 'Econs'. This book was a great story of how the behavioural filter was introduced to Economics.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Misbehaving?

    His story of speaking at a conference to 23 MD's about decision making. Such a powerful story of how people make decisions depending on where they're standing.


    What about L. J. Ganser’s performance did you like?

    He did a great job fitting into the book. He could have been the author. He felt / sounded like the author.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I could never have. There was way too much for me to consider, ponder and process for one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    Fab book. I found it after listening to 'Think like a Freak' Was a great choice to follow up on. I'm moving on to 'Influence' based on it's recommendation in this book.

    23 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Adi
    06/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tough to follow way without the grpahs"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Tough to follow without the bar charts and graphs that are repeatedly referenced in the audio.

    Not the best content for an audio book


    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Pam
    United States
    03/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining story of the life of a scientist"

    I'd recommend this book to anyone who is curious about life as a scientist. The actual science of behavioral economics is interesting enough if you want to learn more about it, but the author really shines when he describes how he came up with some of his research projects, and how he was able to collaborate with good people and secure funding for his work (which isn't easy!). Thaler makes his life story both informative and funny. This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to be a scientist, regardless of discipline.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Dolores
    31/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Wiinner: A Case for Misbehaving"

    This was fabulous. I couldn't put it down. The thread of an academic career will stimulate many students and young professors to find a passion and build on it. The practical sense of the behavioral problems discussed was fantastic. I will look for the problems in my own field to brainstorm solutions from a behavioral point of view. This was fun to read as well as inspiring. Dolores Pretorius, MD, Professor of Radiology, Univ of Calif, San Diego

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • S. Yates
    DC
    01/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent, informative, and practical"
    Any additional comments?

    Insightful, humorous, and eye-opening book on behavioral economics. In line with a handful of other books in a similar vein -- basically, that humans are not particularly rational and that some of the mental shortcuts we take that behooved us as we evolved do not necessarily assist us in modern decision-making -- that turn the mirror on human behavior and help a reader understand their own irrational decisions. Thaler has a wonderful sense of humor and a keen eye for human fallacies. His curiosity (like that of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky) about human behavior and his background in economics pair up nicely and allowed him to examine generally agreed upon economic and financial beliefs and question them. He points out a number of examples of irrationality, and various heuristics and biases, that might be familiar to readers who have read some other books in related fields (including Thinking, Fast and Slow; and Superforecasting), but Thaler's book is still an excellent read and much of his findings dovetail with those of Kahneman and Tversky (he worked with them both) and are all the more interesting as you understand that all of these findings were coming about contemporaneously and upending the economic world.

    Definitely recommended, if for no other reason than to understand yourself and your decision making processes better, but also for the insight into how much framing an option can do to impact how people feel about it and consequently whether or not they take one action versus another.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • BillLampert
    22/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ground-Breaking Science"

    This book provides the reader with a firm foundation in understanding the science of Behavioral Economics through a variety of case studies and research examples.

    The stories are entertaining while still being grounded in economic theory and the narration is solid and well-produced. A great effort all-around.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Raglan, New Zealand
    19/06/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I am not an Econ ..."

    I’m struggling lately to find good popular science books. It can’t be true, but it feels like I’ve read all the best ones and now I’m starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel. I chose this book not because I was fascinated by the subject, but because it had been well reviewed by listeners.

    The book is a combination of the author’s life’s story and the parallel narrative of the evolution of behavioural economics. Please forgive me if you already know this, but before behavioural economics it was assumed that people (at least on average) behaved in predictable, rational ways when making economic choices. The name for these rational economic beings is ‘Econs’.

    This author was one of the originators of the idea that, in fact, real people do not behave in this way. There are lots of situations where people make irrational choices, based on the fact that we are human beings with emotions, weaknesses and foibles. The traditional economists objected that these deviants were exceptions and that, overall, rational economic behaviour dominates, but as the field of behavioural economics has become more respectable, it is becoming more and more apparent that it is a key factor in explaining real economic behaviour.

    This book provides numerous examples of this economic 'misbehaving': If you buy expensive shoes you keep on wearing them even though they give you blisters – this is called ‘sunk costs’ – a true Econ would just accept the loss and move on. It is this same theory which is often given to explain why the US persevered with the Vietnam War once it was obvious that it could not be won: too much money and too many lives had been expended to just walk away, and yet this would have been the rational thing to do.

    In another example, people who win at the casino aren’t as careful as they would be with money out of their own pocket. This is because they are playing with ‘House money’ and it is called the ‘endowment effect’. A true Econ would be just as careful with this money.

    The book looks at a wide range of situations where similar behaviours impact on economic choices. I got a bit lost on many occasions, either because it wasn’t particularly interesting, or because it was quite mathematical, or because it kept referring to a pdf which is hard to access when driving a car or riding a bicycle. But there was enough in it to make it enlightening – just, and the narrator was good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gio
    21/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "CV with a long list of anecdotes"

    I seriously struggled to finish the book (but didn't manage). Well read, but it's basically the story of the author research, with a lot of anecdotes (some even brilliant).

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    Mill Valley, CA, United States
    25/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic book fantastic reader"

    I read nudge and thought that was awesome this was better. I think of myself as believing in "Chicago-style" economics but have always struggled with the notion that people ALWAYS behave rationally when it is so obviously not true. This book doesn't claim the theory is false but just that the formula for predicting results is missing key variables and he proposes variables that are likely to better predict outcomes. His style was easily going and humble yet not falsely so. It just sounds like he was wired to believe things were different than the convention al wisdom and he was fortunate enough (and smart enough) to be able to grow the idea and grow with the idea. Just a great book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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