Willful How We Choose What We Do Richard Robb

Publication date:
14 Jan 2020
Yale University Press
256 pages: 210 x 140 x 24mm
2 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

Buy this eBook

You can purchase this title from a number of online retailers:

A revelatory alternative to the standard economic models of human behavior that proposes an exciting new way to understand decision‑making
Why do we do the things we do? The classical view of economics is that we are rational individuals, making decisions with the intention of maximizing our preferences. Behaviorists, on the other hand, see us as relying on mental shortcuts and conforming to preexisting biases. Richard Robb argues that neither explanation accounts for those things that we do for their own sake, and without understanding these sorts of actions, our picture of decision‑making is at best incomplete. Robb explains how these choices made seemingly without reason belong to a realm of behavior he identifies as “for‑itself.”
A provocative combination of philosophy and economics that offers a key to many of our quixotic choices, this groundbreaking volume provides a new way to understand everything from investing to how hard we work to how we manage daily interactions.

Richard Robb is professor of professional practice in international and public affairs at Columbia University and CEO of the investment firm Christofferson, Robb & Company, which he cofounded in 2001.

Willful is a breakthrough in economics. Richard Robb’s tremendously insightful book shows how much of our behavior is not explained by existing theories of human action and explains in sparkling prose why understanding decisions made seemingly without reason presents a fuller picture of our world.”—Edmund S. Phelps, Nobel Laureate in Economics

“Richard Robb has written a provocative and beautifully crafted challenge to conventional economics, introducing the concept of will as an important factor that must be reckoned with in explaining the choices people actually make. Drawing on his unique experience as a trained Chicago School economist and as a trader in financial markets, he engages the reader in the compelling personal odyssey of his evolution of thought.”—James Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics

“In this clear and wise book, Robb supplements the theory of rational choice by showing how behavior that may seem stubborn or foolish can be quintessentially human, and not in a bad way.”—Anthony Gottlieb, author of The Dream of Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Philosophy

Willful provides us with an extraordinarily engaging and persuasive theory of action that explains why we often make what seem like idiosyncratic choices. A fascinating read for anybody with a shred of intellectual curiosity.”—David Folkerts-Landau, Deutsche Bank, Chief Economist