The Mind of the Market by Michael Shermer
Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 7 Critic Reviews



Bestselling author Michael Shermer explains how evolution shaped the modern economy--and why people are so irrational about money

How did we make the leap from ancient hunter-gatherers to modern consumers and traders? Why do people get so emotional and irrational about bottom-line financial and business decisions? Is the capitalist marketplace a sort of Darwinian organism, evolved through natural selection as the fittest way to satisfy our needs? In this eye-opening exploration, author and psychologist Michael Shermer uncovers the evolutionary roots of our economic behavior.

Drawing on the new field of neuroeconomics, Shermer investigates what brain scans reveal about bargaining, snap purchases, and establishing trust in business. He scrutinizes experiments in behavioral economics to understand why people hang on to losing stocks, why negotiations disintegrate into tit-for-tat disputes, and why money does not make us happy. He brings together astonishing findings from psychology, biology, and other sciences to describe how our tribal ancestry makes us suckers for brands, why researchers believe cooperation unleashes biochemicals similar to those released during sex, why free trade promises to build alliances between nations, and how even capuchin monkeys get indignant if they don't get a fair reward for their work.


About Michael Shermer

See more books from this Author
Michael Shermer is the author of The Believing Brain, Why People Believe Weird Things, The Science of Good and Evil, The Mind Of The Market, Why Darwin Matters, Science Friction, How We Believe and other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University. He lives in Southern California.
Published December 26, 2007 by Times Books. 329 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Mind of the Market

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Pledging that economics is for everyone, the author offers a forbidding, textbook definition of evolutionary economics, then adds, “this is a swanky way of saying that the economy is a very complex system that changed and adapted to circumstances as it evolved out of a much simpler system.” Explo...

| Read Full Review of The Mind of the Market: Compa...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Using fascinating examples—from monkeys that balk at unfair distribution of rewards after completing a task to humans who feel cheated when offered $10 of free money if a partner is given $90—Shermer explores the evolutionary roots of our sense of fairness and justice, and shows how...

| Read Full Review of The Mind of the Market: Compa...


This completely answers your question, and proves exactly what Rights are, why they are, and where they come from… Ergo said: The right to own property is the right that makes all other rights *practicable*, that is, possible in reality.

Feb 27 2008 | Read Full Review of The Mind of the Market: Compa...

The Moderate Voice

This is because my personal distaste for the book’s politics- and, despite its claim to be a book on economics, politics kyboshes too many of the biased claims Shermer makes, for it is a political book, first and foremost- my emotive response has nothing to do with a clear view on how well or n...

Nov 09 2007 | Read Full Review of The Mind of the Market: Compa...

(Even Timothy Sandefur, himself a libertarian, found Shermer's arguments unconvincing and lacking in scientific rigor.) I found it hard to believe that this was the same Michael Shermer who once wrote a biting expose of Ayn Rand titled "The Unlikeliest Cult".

Feb 27 2008 | Read Full Review of The Mind of the Market: Compa...

Relying on market solutions is never proposed, and in chapter seven we find that the “high-minded goal” of “preserving the planet’s ecosystem and biodiversity … requires social and political action.” Shermer goes on to present some interesting ideas about why people resist the idea of free marke...

Apr 21 2008 | Read Full Review of The Mind of the Market: Compa...

Competition, cooperation, and compassion all play a part in free market systems--and the use of these traits can be explained with an economic analogy to the biological science of evolution, according to Michael Shermer's latest book, The Mind of the Market.

| Read Full Review of The Mind of the Market: Compa...

Reader Rating for The Mind of the Market

An aggregated and normalized score based on 57 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review