Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics
Professor Richard Thaler is a bit lazy, prone to procrastination and likes his booze: his observations, not mine. He is also the president of the American Economic Association, a role held in the past by such luminaries as Milton Friedman, JK Galbraith, Gary Becker and Amartya Sen.
That a person with such everyday flaws has scaled the unforgiving heights of the economics establishment is striking in itself. Even more so is the fact that he has done so by turning those weaknesses into the very subject of a new branch of economic science. Thaler has spent a career seeking to understand individuals as they really are – chock-full of weaknesses, irrationalities and idiosyncrasies. He labels these creatures “humans”, rather than as “econs”, walking calculators rationally optimising their utility.