This book is a simple, elegant and devastating critique of "traditional economics" without a formula in sight. As a writer Lunn has soft, cosy style which is the velvet glove that covers the iron fist of his ideas. According to Lunn traditional economics has based its work on the assumption that people (that's you and me folks) are selfish, rational things that seek to maximise all the happiness that we can manage and these assumptions are, well not to put too fine a point on it, wrong!
As a Behavioural Economist Lunn has this fetish for real world evidence which traditional economist have ignored as it kept screwing up their mathematical models. To help us understand the core differences in approach Lunn introduces us to two lands - the traditional economist Marketopia and the real world of Muddleton. The differences were so marked between the traditional models and what the evidence shows about people's real economic behaviour, I actually laughed out loud. (A rather hysterical scared laugh!) In Marketopia economic behaviour is clear, straight forward, and we are conscious of how to maximise our economic worth which makes it very easy to model, but in Muddleton economic behaviour is eccentric, sometimes selfless, and not very rational and often is not even a conscious act. It would, as Lunn points out, be wrong to think that such differences are quant academic novelties. The problem is that almost all economic policy is based on traditional economic models - which are wrong. This is serious stuff. Very serious!
An excellent book that made me reconsider not only the personal economic decisions I have made in a completely different light but also the economic policies of governments. I thought this book was much better than some of the other popular think books such as "Freakenomics" and was at least as good if not better than "Tipping Point". I would recommend this as both a good read and an easy introduction into the ideas of behavioural economics. I don't want to spoil the end for you - yes a think book that ends better than it starts - but I do want to say "Viva le revolution!"