Wednesday, May 20

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Richard H. Thaler

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Richard H. Thaler discusses Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

In conversation with Daniel Gilbert

Moderated by Robin Young

This event includes a book signing.

Ticket pre-sales on sale now online only ($28.75, book included). $5 Tickets on sale April 28 at 9 AM at Harvard.com. Unable to attend? Order the book(s) or pre-order a signed copy from Harvard Book Store. No Brattle Passes.

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, by Richard H. ThalerHarvard Book Store welcomes economist, behavioral scientist and co-author of Nudge RICHARD H. THALER for a discussion of his latest book, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. He is joined in conversation by DANIEL GILBERT, author of Stumbling on Happiness, and NPR’s ROBIN YOUNG.

Get ready to change the way you think about economics.

Richard H. Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans—predictable, error-prone individuals. Misbehaving is his arresting, frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth—and change the way we think about economics, ourselves, and our world.

Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Early in his research, Thaler realized these Spock-like automatons were nothing like real people. Whether buying a clock radio, selling basketball tickets, or applying for a mortgage, we all succumb to biases and make decisions that deviate from the standards of rationality assumed by economists. In other words, we misbehave. More importantly, our misbehavior has serious consequences. Dismissed at first by economists as an amusing sideshow, the study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make better decisions in our lives, our businesses, and our governments.

Coupling recent discoveries in human psychology with a practical understanding of incentives and market behavior, Thaler enlightens readers about how to make smarter decisions in an increasingly mystifying world. He reveals how behavioral economic analysis opens up new ways to look at everything from household finance to assigning faculty offices in a new building, to TV game shows, the NFL draft, and businesses like Uber.

Laced with antic stories of Thaler’s spirited battles with the bastions of traditional economic thinking, Misbehaving is a singular look into profound human foibles. When economics meets psychology, the implications for individuals, managers, and policy makers are both profound and entertaining.


Daniel GilbertDaniel Gilbert is the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching, including the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology. In 2008 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His 2007 book, Stumbling on Happiness, spent 6 months on the New York Times bestseller list, has being translated into 30 languages, and was awarded the Royal Society’s General Book Prize for best science book of the year. In 2010, he hosted and co-wrote the award-winning NOVA television series This Emotional Life which was seen by more than 10 million viewers. He is a contributor to Time, The New York Times, and NPR’s All Things Considered, and has been a guest on numerous television shows including The Today Show, Charlie Rose, 20/20, and The Colbert Report. His first TED talk is one of the 15 most popular of all time.

Richard H. ThalerRichard H. Thaler is the coauthor of the best-selling book Nudge with Cass R. Sunstein, and the author of Quasi Rational Economics and The Winner’s Curse. He is a professor of behavioral science and economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and, in 2015, the president of the American Economic Association.

Robin YoungRobin Young is the host of NPR’s Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has also reported for NBC, CBS and ABC television, and for several years was substitute host and correspondent for The Today Show. Robin has received several Emmy Awards for her television work, as well as cable’s Ace Award, the Religious Public Relations Council’s Wilbur Award and the National Conference of Christians and Jews Gold Award. She has also received radio’s regional Edward R. Murrow Award. Her documentary “The Los Altos Story,” made in association with the Rotary Club of Los Altos, Calif., won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award and is now the backbone of a worldwide HIV/AIDS awareness initiative.