That is the new 655 pp. book by Joseph Henrich, due out September 8, and yes it is “an event.” The subtitle is “How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous,” and that is indeed one of the very most important questions in all of social science.
“WEIRD” of course refers to “Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic.” And is it not weird that we (some of us, at least) are WEIRD?
Here is an excerpt from the opening segment:
Let’s close by returning to the core questions of this book:
1. How can we explain the global psychological variation highlighted above?
2. Why are WEIRD societies particularly unusual, so often occupying the extreme ends of global distributions of psychology and behavior?
3. What role did these psychological differences play in the Industrial Revolution and the global expansion of Europe during the last few centuries?
If you are wondering how this material might differ from Henrich’s previous output, there is above all much more on marriage customs and monogamy, for instance:
…I’ll make the case that monogamous marriage norms — which push upstream against our polygynous biases and the strong preferences of elite men — create a range of social and psychological effects that give the societies that possess them a big edge in competition against other groups.
Obviously recommended, and you will be hearing more about this both from me and from others. You can pre-order here.