The subtitle of this book is “why smart people fall for fads.” That is the book I wanted to read. I got a chapter at the end of this book devoted to it. The majority of the text was defining what a fad is. There were interesting things to be said about fads without explaining what specifically makes people prone to them – I for one was amused by the first chapter’s survey results from the past about what the top ten fads were at the time, and one of the few repeating results being “wristwatches” (thought to be a stylish but poor replacement for a pocket watch) – but that’s still not delivering on the promise laid out by the title.
I’m being slightly unfair; the allure of fads is touched upon here and there throughout the book, but I was looking for a behavioral economics book and got a business book. (AGAIN. You’d think I’d learn but I never do. I get so excited about a cool concept I never pause to evaluate whether it’s a book for CEOs who don’t typically read, or a book for professors who want aggregate studies. Page count really should be a tipoff here, the longer the book the less likely it is to be a pamphlet stretched to publication length. I digress). The problem is that the answer tends to be “people are constantly looking for a better way of doing things and usually a fad solves one part of that problem. That’s not a book-worthy assertion without a lot more evidence and explanation than this one gives.