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The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World

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The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World Cover

 

Staff Pick

Tim Harford's follow-up to his breakout bestseller, The Undercover Economist, is a panoramic view of the role of economics in our lives, from our jobs and marriages to our cities and even the history of human civilization. The Logic of Life sheds light on some unlikely questions: Why are teenagers having more oral sex? Why are people willing to pay so much more to live in overpriced cities? How might our ancestors have killed off the Neanderthals? Fascinating, provocative, and witty, The Logic of Life will make you reexamine others' behavior, as well as your own, in a whole new light.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Tim Harford's follow-up to his breakout bestseller, The Undercover Economist, is a panoramic view of the role of economics in our lives, from our jobs and marriages to our cities and even the history of human civilization. The Logic of Life sheds light on some unlikely questions: Why are teenagers having more oral sex? Why are people willing to pay so much more to live in overpriced cities? How might our ancestors have killed off the Neanderthals? Fascinating, provocative, and witty, The Logic of Life will make you reexamine others' behavior, as well as your own, in a whole new light.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Life sometimes seems illogical. Individuals do strange things: take drugs, have unprotected sex, mug each other. Love seems irrational, and so does divorce. On a larger scale, life seems no fairer or easier to fathom: Why do some neighborhoods thrive and others become ghettos? Why is racism so persistent? Why is your idiot boss paid a fortune for sitting behind a mahogany altar? Thorny questions — and you might be surprised to hear the answers coming from an economist.

But Tim Harford, award-winning journalist and author of the bestseller The Undercover Economist, likes to spring surprises. In this deftly reasoned book, Harford argues that life is logical after all. Under the surface of everyday insanity, hidden incentives are at work, and Harford shows these incentives emerging in the most unlikely places.

Using tools ranging from animal experiments to supercomputer simulations, an ambitious new breed of economist is trying to unlock the secrets of society. The Logic of Life is the first book to map out the astonishing insights and frustrating blind spots of this new economics in a way that anyone can enjoy.

The Logic of Life presents an X-ray image of human life, stripping away the surface to show us a picture that is revealing, enthralling, and sometimes disturbing. The stories that emerge are not about data or equations but about people: the athlete who survived a shocking murder attempt, the computer geek who beat the hard-bitten poker pros, the economist who defied Henry Kissinger and faked an invasion of Berlin, the king who tried to buy off a revolution.

Once you've read this quotable and addictive book, life will never look the same again.

Review:

"Financial Times and Slate.com columnist Harford (The Undercover Economist) provides an entertaining and provocative look at the logic behind the seemingly irrational. Arguing that rational behavior is more widespread than most people expect, Harford uses economic principles to draw forth the rational elements of gambling, the teenage oral sex craze, crime and other supposedly illogical behaviors to illustrate his larger point. Utilizing John von Neumann and Thomas Schelling's conceptions of game theory, Harford applies their approach to a multitude of arenas, including marriage, the workplace and racism. Contrarily, he also shows that individual rational behavior doesn't always lead to socially desired outcomes. Harford concludes with how to apply this thinking on an even bigger scale, showing how rational behavior shapes cities, politics and the entire history of human civilization. Well-written with highly engaging stories and examples, this book will be of great interest to Freakonomics and Blink fans as well as anyone interested in the psychology of human behavior." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

In this deftly reasoned book, a columnist for "The Financial Times" and "Slate" argues that, despite the everyday insanity, life is logical after all, and he explores the surprisingly rational choices that shape the world.

About the Author

Tim Harford is the author of the bestseller The Undercover Economist and The Logic of Life and a member of the editorial board of the Financial Times, where he also writes the "Dear Economist" column. He is a regular contributor to Slate, Forbes, and NPR's Marketplace. He was the host of the BBC TV series Trust Me, I'm an Economist and now presents the BBC series More or Less. Harford has been an economist at the World Bank and an economics tutor at Oxford University. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400066421
Subtitle:
The Rational Economics of an Irrational World
Author:
Harford, Tim
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Business Life - General
Subject:
Economics
Subject:
Rational expectations (Economic theory)
Subject:
Economics -- Psychological aspects.
Subject:
General Business & Economics
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20080115
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 GRAPH
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.28x6.51x1.10 in. 1.04 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Engineering » Engineering » General Engineering
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Languages » ESL » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World Used Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Random House - English 9781400066421 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Tim Harford's follow-up to his breakout bestseller, The Undercover Economist, is a panoramic view of the role of economics in our lives, from our jobs and marriages to our cities and even the history of human civilization. The Logic of Life sheds light on some unlikely questions: Why are teenagers having more oral sex? Why are people willing to pay so much more to live in overpriced cities? How might our ancestors have killed off the Neanderthals? Fascinating, provocative, and witty, The Logic of Life will make you reexamine others' behavior, as well as your own, in a whole new light.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Tim Harford's follow-up to his breakout bestseller, The Undercover Economist, is a panoramic view of the role of economics in our lives, from our jobs and marriages to our cities and even the history of human civilization. The Logic of Life sheds light on some unlikely questions: Why are teenagers having more oral sex? Why are people willing to pay so much more to live in overpriced cities? How might our ancestors have killed off the Neanderthals? Fascinating, provocative, and witty, The Logic of Life will make you reexamine others' behavior, as well as your own, in a whole new light.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Financial Times and Slate.com columnist Harford (The Undercover Economist) provides an entertaining and provocative look at the logic behind the seemingly irrational. Arguing that rational behavior is more widespread than most people expect, Harford uses economic principles to draw forth the rational elements of gambling, the teenage oral sex craze, crime and other supposedly illogical behaviors to illustrate his larger point. Utilizing John von Neumann and Thomas Schelling's conceptions of game theory, Harford applies their approach to a multitude of arenas, including marriage, the workplace and racism. Contrarily, he also shows that individual rational behavior doesn't always lead to socially desired outcomes. Harford concludes with how to apply this thinking on an even bigger scale, showing how rational behavior shapes cities, politics and the entire history of human civilization. Well-written with highly engaging stories and examples, this book will be of great interest to Freakonomics and Blink fans as well as anyone interested in the psychology of human behavior." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , In this deftly reasoned book, a columnist for "The Financial Times" and "Slate" argues that, despite the everyday insanity, life is logical after all, and he explores the surprisingly rational choices that shape the world.
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