Armchair Economist: Economics & Everyday Life
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Armchair Economist: Economics & Everyday Life

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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,212 ratings  ·  86 reviews

Witty economists are about as easy to find as anorexic mezzo-sopranos, natty mujahedeen, and cheerful Philadelphians. But Steven E. Landsburg...is one economist who fits the bill. In a wide-ranging, easily digested, unbelievably contrarian survey of everything from why popcorn at movie houses costs so much to why recycling may actually reduce the number of trees on the pla...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 1st 1995 by Free Press (first published 1993)
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Noudi
عادةً ما يسعى الإقتصاد الى اثبات فرضياته بالرسوم البيانية والتحليلات المعقدّة .. لكن الامر مختلف مع هذا الكتاب الذي يقدم صور مجازية وقصص قصيرة واضحة وبسيطة الفهم ، وقريبة بالواقع. .

كل فصل من فصوله رحلة لحل لغز ما يستثيرك ويساعدك على فهم العالم بنظرة عالم اقتصاد ذكي وظريف ..

فيخلق الكاتب من خلال تحليلاته العديد من الاستفهامات - حتى ان كنت لم أتفق معه في بعض تحليلاته التي صُدمت وتعجبّتُ منها -، لكن لابأس ..فكم هو رائع أن تستكشف آراء جديدة،غير تقليدية ومختلفة عما ندرُسه في أساسيات الإقتصاد

من فصول...more
Mohamed Al Marzooqi
لماذا أدى سن قانون إرتداء حزام الأمان إلى زيادة نسبة حوادث السيارات؟

لماذا تباع الكثير من السلع بسعر ٢.٩٩ دولار في حين لا يباع سوى القليل جدًا بسعر ٣ دولارات؟

لماذا يفضل الناس شراء الهدايا بدلاً من أن يتهادوا بالمال؟

لماذا يقدم البائع التخفيضات للكبار في السن -رغم تمتعهم بمستوى معيشي مرتفع في المتوسط-، ويرفض في المقابل أن يخفض سعر أي سلعة إذا كان المشتري شابًا؟

لماذا يكون سعر كيس الفشار مرتفعًا في السينما مقارنة بسعره خارجها؟

يجيب هذا الكتاب الممتع على هذه الألغاز -وغيرها- بطريقة تدفعك بعد الانتهاء م...more
Summer
Abysmal, condescending, illogical and mean-spirited book on social economics. Absolutely no sources named for "statistics". The author seems to think that a significant number of people go to the movies solely to eat popcorn and that the benefits of recycling are outweighed by the fact that he doesn't feel like doing it.
Tim Williams
I wasn't going to bother commenting on this book but in regard to some of the other comments I feel I must. Those that rated this book a 1 or 2 and then jumped into politically-motivated negative comments - shame on you. You are intellectually dishonest to yourselves and those that read these reviews. There is nothing in this book that pushes a political agenda unlike MOST of the more recent psuedo-economics books being published. What IS presented by Landsburg are sound, economic analysis and d...more
Bruce
Jan 16, 2012 Bruce rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: party hosts seeking conversation starter material
Recommended to my wife as Freakonomics’ better predecessor (Armchair Economist was originally published in 1993), Landsburg describes his work as “a chronicle of what [he] learned at lunch” (p. viii). Now, even granting the University of Rochester economics professor latitude befitting his choice of lunchtime companions, I was heartily disappointed to discover that the text indeed lives down to the author’s own humble description.

The tone is fine; Landsburg is chatty and informally fun. But each...more
Sarah Shahid
بعيداً عن الأرقام والمعادلات المعقدة وتفاصيل الرسومات البيانية، يطرح لك لاندسبيرغ أهم مبادئ علم الاقتصاد بأسلوب قصصي وبالعديد من الأمثلة البسيطة والطريفة في نفس الوقت لتنظر بعدها إلى ظواهر الاقتصاد ومسائله بعين عالم الاقتصاد أو "فيلسوف الاقتصاد" الذي يتناول الظواهر لتحليلها أولاً ثم تفسيرها

ومن أهم المبادئ التي خاض في تفصيلها هي:

- مبدأ "الناس يستجيبون للتحفيز" أو ما يعرف بـ"تكلفة الفرصة البديلة" وهو الشائع
- كل السلوكيات الإنسانية عقلانية
- عدم توافر القدر الكافي من المعلومات
-مبدأ الأمور كلها سواء...more
Tony Cohen
I have to give this book a three since I did learn something, although I really hold it in remarkable contempt. For the first time ever while reading an economics book, I felt like I understood the contempt held for the 'dismal science'.

I feel like delving into this a bit. The author makes a claim that taxes don't add value to a society, because what you take from Peter, you pay to Paul, and in a sense of absolute value, it is true. If I have a million millionaires, who each earn 10 million a y...more
Dan
one of the reasons economists are held is disdain is their habit of giving balanced opinions ('on the one hand ...'), but some study of the subject when a student has left me with the same annoying habit.

on the one hand, this book was a pioneer in popularising what was an esoteric but vital subject. now the floodgates have opened and economic perspectives are much more accessible to general readers. landsburg is intelligent, determined, funny, unafraid to be controversial. he has a knack for sim...more
Peterboh
It is a good book about how most people fail to apply basic economic principles in their lives. It's tone reminds me of the Black Swan, as author sounds condescending at times.

However, this seems appropriate given the general ignorance of basic economics demonstrated by media and by general public. No book is probably going to change this prevailing ignorance, but it is a worth pursuit.

Regardless, Landsburg presents an interesting material and a book was an enjoyable read.
Sarazen
Feb 21, 2008 Sarazen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
There are a few books that when you read them they change your perspective on everything. This on one of those books. I did not realize how woefully uneducated I was on how economies work. What was a real insight was how small choices of people can make all the difference. Everyone could benefit from a few turns in these pages.
Yousef
الكتاب رائع جدا.
يستعرض فيه الكاتب معظم الأسئلة الإقتصادية التي قد تتبادر إلى ذهن الانسان العادي في الحياة اليومية، ثم يجيب عنها الكاتب بنوع من التأصيل الفلسفي الإقتصادي وبشكل عميق.
Alice Furse
Much like Freakonomics, this book uses a number of case studies to illustrate different points on economics theories and is quite a fun read - however, I would say it goes slightly deeper than Freakonomics as it's slightly more detailed and erudite.

The last chapter, "Why I am Not an Environmentalist" really made me think, as Landsburg outlines the reasons why commonly-held beliefs on the behaviours that help the environment may not be as effective as we think. For example, he says that people t...more
Kevin
This was a book that I’d heard about from others, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It apparently was one of the first books bringing economics-colored lenses to the masses (it was published in 1993). Since then, there are books like Freakonomics that cover slightly different material, but also seek to bring certain types of perspectives and approaches to phenomena that a strong background in economics encourages. Since I’ve read a number of books like this already, I didn’t take as much from thi...more
David
Many, mostly brief, applications of economic theory written in a breezy manner. If you appreciate a small number of key concepts such as incentives, opportunity costs, and marginal costs, it's mostly intelligible, but the conclusions are not always obvious.

Tone can be a bit condescending. Subtext of "many lay people, and even purported experts in fields other than economics (e.g., politics, natural sciences.....), do not understand the correctness of what I am about to say", which gets a little...more
Ganesh Rao
More than sixteen years of this book’s publication and it hasn’t lost any its relevance. Using simple everyday examples and laced with a lot of wit Mr. Landsburg lucidly explains some of the fundamental principles of macroeconomics as economists understand it-which is to say , devoid of emotion or without pandering to ‘ commonly accepted’ or’ popular moral aphorisms. This may rile many readers who view choice making from a predominantly moral lens or other filters of many hues. But they miss the...more
Charlie Pribble
The last chapter of this book alone, "Why I Am Not an Environmentalist," makes this book well worth the money. But fortunately, the entire book is fantastic. Landsburg writes very well, and his chapters are all very thought-provoking. You will definitely learn to think a little more like an economist after you've finished this book.
Ryan
Landsburg does everything in his power to justify the low opinion those untrained in economics have on the subject. He defends these ludicrous, over-the-top rational expectations/new classical/chicago hodgepodge and presents it as "the" economics. Simultaneously, his examples abound in pretty complicated concepts that require extensive explanation (for example, the Ricardian Equivalence, Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, and Coase's Theorem) yet he dedicates a page or so in passing to introduce it...more
Braden Bernards
Funny and clever like most all "econ for daily life is the savior and you can be smart!" books. But ultimately, its not as nuanced as Freakonomics, and ends up being somewhat sad in its imposing of economic measures onto the bigger questions of daily life.
Vijay
Jun 28, 2014 Vijay added it
The book contains routine examples illustrating important economics and financial thoughts. As author said the book is all about “People respond to incentives.” At the start book reasons with - the Human reactions/ behavior Vs.Incentives with Accidents, seat belt (safety act). Further author shows unanticipated effects of various regulations and policies.

Next section in a book is about the public policy-making and economist.Then it moves to explain doctor/patients and candy making machines. The...more
Roland
The Armchair Economist is - in my opinion - a must read for everyone who is evenslightly interested in how economists see the world, what reasons can be for the outrageous price at movies and other important questions.
Some people claim that the author has a rather condescending,even blood-boiling style, and well, sometimes you can say he has.

But all in all it shows you how the economical thought process handles problems, and some interesting facts.

A warning - the book is simply economics, and w...more
Aaron
The Armchair Economist is a nice, easy read about some everyday questions that economics can shine an interesting light on. It stays a lot closer to traditional economics than Freakonomics, for example, but I still think it is pretty accessible.

I liked this book better than Fair Play, mainly because Landsburg admits that he doesn't have all the answers to the questions he brings up. Moreover, where he has an answer, he tends to refer to it as the best explanation he's come up with so far. I real...more
Dan
I chose this book because Tim Harford cites some interesting parts of it in "The Undercover Economist." "The Armchair Economist" is generally pitched at a higher level, with Landsburg using core economic principles to argue some unconventional points. This was a little frustrating, since he assumes an above average grasp of economics, and he doesn't spend much time defending or explaining his key assumptions. Still, his tone is great, snarky and professorial, and his arguments, right or wrong, r...more
Skylar Hatfield
This book was incredibly difficult for me to understand. At one point, I actually threw it down on the ground and walked away. But I picked it back up, and skipping one chapter, completed the book. My son recommended this book to me. I did learn a lot about what economics actually is. I understood about a fifth of what the author was trying to teach about economic theory, but still found myself listening to news reports differently using the little bit of knowledge I gleaned from reading. This I...more
Projection
Most of the economics can be summarized in four words "People respond to Incentives".. This is how Landsburg commence this book which is full of bizarre riddles, solved by not so common economics principles.
The books take you on the journey where every chapter is like a riddle which compels you to think and exhaust your brain to the core. Landsburg basic premise is that "things and situations which look simple are actually much more complicated in reality."
However on various fronts I disagree wi...more
Tamra
Apr 30, 2014 Tamra rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love economics
Recommended to Tamra by: Collin
This book was one that I wanted to read in small doses so that I could think about all the concepts/ideas coming my way. I love economics, and more than that I love the way economists think, so I liked to read a chapter and then just sit and ponder it all. Kinda like scripture, but less scritpure-ish.

Easy to read, easy to understand concepts for the layman, but still deep and thoughtful. Great organization of the book, and the chapters were short or reasonably lengthed and crammed full of inform...more
Kevin Dolan
This book is basically Freakonomics for grown-ups--just as clever, insightful, and fun to read, but it gives the reader a bit more credit and defends its assumptions much more carefully.

The book's central idea is the overarching principle of economics--that people respond to incentives, and that we ought to pay attention to the incentives people confront when we want to influence their behavior.

For casual readers, it's an excellent balance of depth and digestibility, and it contains the ideas th...more
Shimaa srour
من الواضح ان هنالك اجماعا على ان هذا الكتاب واحد من افضل الكتب التي قدمت عن علم الاقتصاد بطريقة بسيطه ولكن بعد ما يقرب على 10 أيام للانتهاء منه لا اعتقد اني اشاركهم الرأي
اعترف ان الكتاب يحتوي على بعض الاجزاء شديدة التشويق بالنسبة للقارىء العادي ولكنها لا تتجاوز ربع عدد صفحات الكتاب على اي حال
عموما قد تجد فيه بعض النصائح الجيدة ان كنت من هواة المضاربة بالاسهم
ولكن لمن هم مثلي ممن لا يهتمون ابدا بمحاولة فهم المفاهيم الاقتصادية ولا حتى اثرها على البشرية فلا اعتقد ان الكتاب سيقدم له مادة مفيدة
غالبا...more
Patrick Bock
Dec 27, 2007 Patrick Bock rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: number people, future econ majors
Shelves: nonfiction
Contrarian and at times infuriating, this guy takes joy in explaining why car accident rates increased when seatbelts were made mandatory (hint: he thinks we can eliminate collisions by getting rid of seatbelts and putting a sharp spear in the middle of the steering wheel) and how the government might succeed in dealing with pollution.

This book actually does a really good job of introducing psychology of an economist, which can sound inhuman at times, but it makes me understand why an economist...more
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