Summary of The $12 Million Stuffed Shark

The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art

Palgrave Macmillan, more...

Buy the book

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark book summary
Why would anyone pay $12 million for a shark carcass? Welcome to the fascinating world of contemporary art.


8 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


When it comes to contemporary art, many observers simply scratch their heads and mumble, “You call that art?” Intriguing, disturbing, exhilarating and obscene, contemporary art is hard to understand. In fact, when you consider pieces like the titular $12 million stuffed shark by Damien Hirst, it is often downright baffling. If you’re looking for artistic explanations and interpretations, though, Don Thompson doesn’t offer much help. That’s not his particular domain. Thompson, an economics and marketing professor, zeroes in on the financial inner-workings of the art world (at least, the pre-2009 recession art world). Curious why certain pieces sell for millions, he delved into the peculiar personalities that inhabit this controversial genre. getAbstract applauds his lively exploration of a fascinating topic that few economists would even ponder.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How branding and marketing drive the contemporary art market
  • Why price outweighs artistic merit
  • Who are the big players in modern art


The Right Brand of Art
Few rules apply in contemporary art. From pieces like Andy Warhol’s Soup Can with Peeling Label to Jeff Koons’ display of a Hoover vacuum cleaner in a Plexiglas case – works that “recontextualize” ordinary objects – contemporary art is typically controversial...
Get the key points from this book in less than 10 minutes. Learn more about our products or log in

About the Author

Don Thompson teaches marketing and economics in the M.B.A. program at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    Alternative Investments
    From art to zinc – all you need to know about investing your money in nonfinancial products

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category