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Book Review: 'Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street'

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Book Review
Title: "Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street"
Author: Tomas Sedlacek
Publisher: Oxford, 2011; 368 pages; $27.95

Many consumers hear the word "economics" and their brain immediately associates the word "math," which is dreaded in some circles. Cue eye-twitching, fetal-position curling, and so forth. I won’t get into the unfortunate reasons behind American’s hate-hate relationship with math — just suffice it to say that it is a relationship that could use some therapy.

This creates a real problem when it comes to understanding the global, national and even local economies, and the individual markets that comprise them (from real estate to oil to employment and the stock market), a problem that trickles down and impedes our ability to make wise decisions when it comes to our personal finances.

Fortunately, of late, a number of learned economists have begun to experiment with integrating this "dismal science" of economics with other schools of thought that are less dry, less math-centric, and seem more human, like psychology (which, when married with economics, has produced the fledgling, flourishing field of behavioral economics).