A comprehensive guide for bringing the power of money under control.
By her count, BBC Radio host Hammond (Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception, 2013, etc.) discusses 263 experiments by psychologists and neuroscientists that demonstrate how science can illuminate our many foibles and obsessions about money and deal with them effectively. The author—who has won awards from the British Psychological Society, the British Neuroscience Association, and other medical, psychological, and publishing associations for her contributions to the public understanding of science—reviews their insights, which range from the best ways to encourage children to improve their grades at school and teach them how to manage their pocket money to lessons about older, unconscious processes gleaned from Yale University’s work with token-managing monkeys. The primates, hoping for grapes, are taking part in experiments on loss aversion similar to those conducted on humans by neuroscientist Daniel Kahneman. “Just like humans, [the capuchins] seem to hate a loss” rather than seek the pleasure of a potential gain. Whether shopping or eating out, the motivation seems to be the same. Case studies illustrate how to make decisions about which kind of all-you-can-eat buffet to visit. Spending more for the buffet, for example, and really enjoying the food, works out better than eating from the cheaper spread. Pleasure, enjoyment, and good memories seem to be preferable as time passes, so for people who want to spend money on themselves, Hammond recommends buying “experiences rather than material goods.” In a practical, sometimes-amusing narrative, Hammond provides a valuable summary of work in psychology, behavioral economics, and more, and her numbered “Money Tips” are particularly helpful.
A delightful treatment of a subject many of us would prefer to ignore, gently subversive in its undermining of preconceptions and prejudices.