Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist is an interesting and breezy read which attempts to explain the basics of economic theory and how it applies to the everyday world. Unfortunately while it is being marketed as a hands-on book akin to Freakonomics, the real-life examples in the book are really only there to ground some of the author’s theorizing, which is very different from the work done in Freakonomics.
Nevertheless, Harford does a good job of making the basics of economic theory interesting and accessible, and while the concepts he covers are very basic, his explanations are lively and interesting.
The problem with The Undercover Economist is that it isn’t so much a book as a series of unrelated essays, which makes it disjointed and choppy.
Refreshingly, Harford is upfront about his predilection for free trade and the benefits to be derived thereof. Perhaps it was never his intention, as the book delves with the basics of economic theory, but it would have been nice to see him do a more thorough job of shoring up his beliefs with examples.
All in all, The Undercover Economist is a brief and interesting but ultimately disjointed read.
A warning: If, like me, you purchase it due to it being marketed as a close kin of Freakonomics, you will probably be disappointed.
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Posted Monday, 26 March, 2007 by Nic Lindh
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.
Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.