ABOUT THE BOOK:
We humans aren’t entirely rational creatures. We decide to roll over and hit the snooze button instead of going to the gym, then fret over our health insurance payments. We take out home loans we can’t possibly afford. We live hours away from our jobs when fee time is our most valued asset. All too often, our subconscious causes us to act against our own self-interest.
Yet our free market economy is based largely on the assumption that we do act in our own self-interest. In this provocative book, physician and behavioral scientist Peter Ubel argues that the combination of human nature and free markets can be downright dangerous for our health and well0being. That government must step in and further regulate the markets that reward those who exploit our weaknesses. And in the end, that good policy must take human nature into account – our rational and irrational sides, our strengths and our weaknesses.
With the vivid, broad ranging examples gathered from many disciplines, Ubel shows that by understanding and controlling the factors that go into our decisions, we can all being to stop the damage we do to our bodies, our finances, and our economy as a whole.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:
“Irrationality meets the marketplace in this marvelous book!”
–DAN ARIELY, author of Predictably Irrational
“Americans believe that the free market produces the best of all possible worlds. So why are our children’s lives likely to be shorter than our own? In his riveting book, Ubel shows us how and why the invisible hand can become an invisible fist—and then tells us what we can do about it. This is behavioral science at its best—a must-read for anyone who thinks that public policy should be based on, of all things, facts.”
–DANIEL GILBERT, professor of psychology, Harvard University
“Ubel is a brilliant doctor without intellectual borders .Drawing form diverse disciplines, he injects facts and balance into the ongoing economic debate about the proper roles of personal and government regulation, especially in the critical field of healthcare.”
–COLIN CAMERER, Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Finance and Economics, California Institute of Technology
“In this witty and engaging book, Peter Ubel reveals how problems from the obesity epidemic to out-of-control health-care costs arise when human psychology collides with the free market. Ubel teaches and provokes as he provides a new twist on the history of economics.”
–GEORGE LOEWENSTEIN, Hebert A Simon Professor of Economics and Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University
“Free Market Madness is an important analysis of one of the most crucial problems facing business and society today: the failure of market incentives and even educational interventions to ensure rational societal outcomes regarding health and well-being. This deeply insightful yet very readable book will give you a better understanding of what drives your behavior and will empower you to make better and more realistic decisions.”
–MARY FRANCES LUCE, Thomas A. Finch Jr. Professor of Business Administration, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
“Free Market Madness is not just another book about behavioral economics. Ubel’s unique perspective as physician allows him to really show how our rationality and irrationality interact—and how they harm both our physical and our economic well-being.”
–SHEENA S. IYENGAR, Profess or Management, Columbia University Business School
WHY I WROTE THE BOOK:
What’s wrong with free market theory? It doesn’t take into account our human nature. We humans aren’t entirely rational creatures. We decide to roll over and hit the snooze button instead of going to the gym, and then we fret over our health insurance payments. We take out home loans we can’t possibly afford. We live hours away from our jobs when free time is clearly our most valued asset. All too often our subconscious causes us to act against our own self-interest.
But our free-market economy is based on the assumption that we always do act in our own self-interest. In this book, I show that in some cases government must regulate markets for our own health and well-being. Focusing on the obesity epidemic, I explore the irrational and unconscious forces that lead consumers to engage in harmful behavior. Only by understanding and controlling the factors that go into our decisions, big and small, we can all begin to stop the damage we do to our bodies, our finances, and our economy as a whole.