Summary of The Mind of the Market

Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics

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The Mind of the Market book summary
Caveman behavior may explain the investor’s resistance to selling investments that turn sour.


8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


This is a lively, entertaining, useful and uneven work. Author Michael Shermer ranges over an array of disciplines to synthesize current understanding of the intersection of economics and evolution. He defines and debunks homo economicus, or the economic man, a theoretical creation who behaves in a purely rational fashion. Shermer weaves personal experiences with interviews of researchers, summaries of classic texts, and contemporary experiments and observations of such well-known businesses cases as the Enron debacle. Readers with knowledge of behavioral economics or negotiation will find some familiar material in this book. For others, Shermer’s connections among biology, psychology, economics and ethics will be enlightening. He overreaches at times, making sweeping claims for the power of the market, but you don’t have to agree with every conclusion to enjoy the work. getAbstract recommends this to readers who are interested in behavioral economics, self-knowledge or the machinations of markets.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How evolution, economics and ethics intersect
  • Why people make decisions the way they do


Evolution’s Insights into Economic Man
For too long economics worked with the model of homo economicus. Economists assumed that this “economic man” was purely rational and “selfish, self-maximizing, and efficient” when making decisions. Put that view to rest. Instead, realize ...
Get the key points from this book in less than 10 minutes.

About the Author

Michael Shermer is a columnist for Scientific American and the author of several books including Why People Believe Weird Things.

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