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← Shermer's 'Mind of the Market' Reviewed in L.A. Times

Shermer's 'Mind of the Market' Reviewed in L.A. Times - Comments

mcadamsdj's Avatar Comment 1 by mcadamsdj

Already ordered the book from his website. It looks excellent. Very cool that he is offering autographed copies if you request them!

(Hey first post!)

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 13:02:00 UTC | #110601

rnortman's Avatar Comment 2 by rnortman

Speaking of confirmation bias, the author of this review himself wrote a book about how free markets are broken and government regulation is required. This review doesn't read like a carefully considered rebuttal, but rather an incensed rant. Not that I'm defending Shermer's book, as I haven't read it and I happen to believe that sometimes free markets might need a little push here and there, but this review just doesn't seem credible.

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 13:12:00 UTC | #110605

HarryHUK's Avatar Comment 3 by HarryHUK

How does this all fit with something like man made global warming?

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 13:29:00 UTC | #110616

Zzyx1170's Avatar Comment 4 by Zzyx1170

I placed an mp3 of Michael Shermer being interviewed on KGO radio as part of his book tour on RapidShare at:

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 14:09:00 UTC | #110633

Andrew Stich's Avatar Comment 5 by Andrew Stich

I don't think the review seems so unreasonable (although I haven't read the work either). It's pretty well a synopsis of the book with a pinch of sarcasm and logical fallacy thrown in.

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 15:26:00 UTC | #110652

rnortman's Avatar Comment 6 by rnortman

I don't think the review seems so unreasonable (although I haven't read the work either). It's pretty well a synopsis of the book with a pinch of sarcasm and logical fallacy thrown in.

Whether the logical fallacies he tosses in there are justified depends on whether (a) he understood the book, and (b) isn't cherry-picking and taking stuff out of context. Neither of us have read the book ourselves, so we don't really know. But given the general tone of the review, I'm guessing that there's a little bit of misapprehension and misrepresentation going on.

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 15:47:00 UTC | #110662

notsobad's Avatar Comment 7 by notsobad

This seems like a biased review.

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 17:08:00 UTC | #110685

cyris8400's Avatar Comment 8 by cyris8400

BTW, has anyone else noticed that Shermer's new book has a positive blurb from Dinesh D'Souza on the back cover?

Apparently, Shermer also gave a positive blurb for D'Souza's "What's So Great About Christianity".

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 17:13:00 UTC | #110686

jackdavis's Avatar Comment 9 by jackdavis

I'm skeptical of claims that the free market is so wonderful, having experienced the short end of market economics a many mediocre jobs. Only because it's written by someone I admire will I read it.

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 19:58:00 UTC | #110712

Jamougha's Avatar Comment 10 by Jamougha

I'm biased against Shermer's position, but the review still seems biased to me.

Sat, 26 Jan 2008 00:07:00 UTC | #110748

weel's Avatar Comment 11 by weel

Here's a very different review of the same book by Tyler Cowen in the Washington Post:

Sat, 26 Jan 2008 05:33:00 UTC | #110781

Bookman's Avatar Comment 12 by Bookman

Just because Shermer is a good skeptic doesn't mean his political views have to be accepted. To believe that there is a "Free market" requires one hell of a lot of faith, and I've never been impressed with the arguments of libertarianism -- at all. It strikes me as a philosophy founded on confirmation bias.

Sat, 26 Jan 2008 08:56:00 UTC | #110841

aoratos philos's Avatar Comment 13 by aoratos philos

To believe that there is a "Free market" requires one hell of a lot of faith, and I've never been impressed with the arguments of libertarianism -- at all

I'm reminded of Ghandi's reply when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

I would use the same reply if asked what I thought of the free-market.

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 03:47:00 UTC | #111165

Bloodknok's Avatar Comment 14 by Bloodknok

I've just finished reading Shermer's book "Why Darwin Matters". He has real incisiveness in his writing style, he just cuts through all the garbage from the ID brigade and presents it in a way that is really convincing, and gives me ammunition to shut up the blowhards. He's a hero.

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 05:40:00 UTC | #111176

trevor.ochocki's Avatar Comment 15 by trevor.ochocki

As someone who currently considers himself a libertarian socialist, I would like to second Bookmans comments. I would also note the sharp distinction between a libertarian socialist and a libertarian capitalist like Shermer. In any case, I do look forward to reading the book.

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 15:06:00 UTC | #111315

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 16 by al-rawandi


Hey. Me too, I consider myself a progressive or left libertarian.

I have a facebook group called "Left Libertarians" if you are interested. The numbers are dwindling thus far. I will send a private message as well.

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 17:51:00 UTC | #111355

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 17 by al-rawandi


That doesn't mean a free market, with just and equitable practices is not something to strive for. This is why I remain a libertarian. The fruits of man's labors are his own.

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 17:52:00 UTC | #111358

nathan_forst's Avatar Comment 18 by nathan_forst

Interesting. When I get back from my holiday I will take a gander at the book at my local store. It looks like an interesting read.

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 20:23:00 UTC | #111390

asupcb's Avatar Comment 19 by asupcb

I'm interested in reading this book but I already partially feel this way anyway and I would just be adding it to my list of books to read. Maybe one day...

As for those who want to understand Shermer's economics better may I suggest the following books:

"Whatever Happened to Penny Candy" by Richard Maybury (Short Jr. High level economics book)

"Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt

"Human Action" by Ludwig von Mises (available for free online at

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 23:45:00 UTC | #111425

35bluejacket's Avatar Comment 20 by 35bluejacket

As for some experience in self-reliability, I built my 35 foot wooden sailboat and am a long distance single-handed bluewater sailor and hang with the same crowd. Shermer makes good sense, but "research has shown that autonomy and self-reliance make people happiest" blows my mind. That maybe true for us waterdogs but for the average person...they are in another world and will most of time ignore and sometimes fight knowledge (reality), believing that they were born with intuitive wisdom. Reality is the (and a) Mother of all Teachers, the best and not very forgiving. She is the pure Truth and you gotta love her and her surprise tests, because she will never let you down or deceive you (so much for free-will :). I talk as if she has human qualities, but she doesn't, she is far above that; the brain-mush of humans. She has no intelligence, no conscience, no will or purpose, just result. (Robert G. Ingersoll)

By-the-way, the true nature of man is; he seeks meaning, but fights enlightment at every step.

Of all the crap in the world going on that we think is important, 30,000 inocent children, under the age of five, die each day needlessly.

In the gizmo-comfort-money-religious-world, I don't see much hope for humanity. Even E.O. Wilson's ants have more sense of self-preservation than humans.

Just my opinion.

Mon, 28 Jan 2008 00:30:00 UTC | #111431

King Boogey's Avatar Comment 21 by King Boogey

It's amazing just how smug socialists are. They don't seem to realize that what we have in America is NOT a free market, but an economic oligarchy. Corporatists get involved in government, & thereby pull the strings, thus our economy is really a controlled one since it's moved by the coercive forces of government, & not by the invisible hand of the market. As well, the "Robber Barons" of 19th Century America acquired their power via government manipulation.

Something else which surprises me is how easily self-proclaimed skeptics accept the broken logic of Statism. Because humans are flawed, we must, according to Statist thought, use human institutions to tame humans.

Socialists should really read up on their economics before they off-handedly reject Libertarianism.

Tue, 29 Jan 2008 15:11:00 UTC | #112193

MaxD's Avatar Comment 22 by MaxD

I find myself fine with capitalism in regulated form. I think the unregulated form was tried and it benefitted the wealthy and the powerful enourmously while ensuring that the common folk got totally fucked. People paid in company script and getting screwed left and right. Strike breakers and Pinkertons.
I am anxious to read Shermer's book, I loved his last foray into ethics (The Science of Good and Evil). However I am anxios to see what he thinks about these issues of the past. In part because I think he hasn't examined the idea that humans employ our behavioural strategies on various contingincies. WOuld we normally cheat? Probably not, but in a world in which anonymity is so common regulations have to take the place of tribal reciprocity.

Wed, 30 Jan 2008 19:34:00 UTC | #113000