New York, NY (April 26, 2022)—The Manhattan Institute (MI) is pleased to announce that Joseph Henrich has won the 18th annual Hayek Book Prize for his book The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020). Henrich will receive a $50,000 award and will deliver the annual Hayek Lecture in New York City on June 8.
Henrich’s book, which analyzes the peculiarities of societies termed WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic), was among five other finalists:
- The Power of Creative Destruction, by Philippe Aghion, Céline Antonin, Simon Bunel (Harvard University Press, 2021)
- The Open Society and Its Complexities, by Gerald Gaus (Oxford University Press, 2021
- Seven Deadly Economic Sins, by James Otteson (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
- The Sack of Detroit, by Kenneth Whyte (Alfred A. Knopf, 2021)
- The Aristocracy of Talent, by Adrian Wooldridge (Penguin Random House, 2021)
“Henrich’s fascinating book illuminates Hayek’s long-neglected explanation for the rise of freedom and prosperity in the West,” said John Tierney, chair of the Hayek Book Prize jury. “Hayek attributed it not to conscious design, but rather to the long evolution of cultural institutions, traditions, and ideas that allowed us to overcome our ancient clan-based psychology. Henrich brilliantly analyzes historical trends and presents new behavioral-science research to show how this evolution occurred and how it reshaped Western morality and society. It’s a timely reminder of the obstacles to political and economic freedom in other societies."
“I’m delighted to have been selected for the Hayek Book Prize from such an esteemed group of finalists,” Henrich said. “Like Hayek, I sought to understand how culture, operating over centuries and often outside of our conscious awareness, has shaped our decisions, institutions, and ways of thinking. Wherever they have emerged, fluid and trusting interactions among diverse minds in growing cities, voluntary associations and open communities have filled the wellspring of technological, social, and artistic innovation.”
This year’s Hayek awards event will be held in New York City to honor our 2022 winner. Each year a $50,000 prize is awarded to the Hayek Book Prize winner.
About the Hayek Lecture and Book Prize
Political philosopher and Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek, author of groundbreaking works such as The Road to Serfdom and The Constitution of Liberty, was the key figure in the twentieth century revival of classical liberalism. He was also a formative influence on the Manhattan Institute. When our founder, Sir Antony Fisher, asked how best to reverse the erosion of freedom, Hayek advised him not to begin with politics per se but to fight first on the battlefield of ideas. The Hayek Lecture and Prize affirm and celebrate this mission.