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The Fatal Equilibrium (Henry Spearman #2)

2.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  238 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
At Harvard, tenure decisions are a matter of life -- or death.

For Dennis Gossen, the economics department whiz kid currently being considered for tenure, it's definitely death. When he's turned down by the high-and-mighty Promotion and Tenure Committee, Gossen commits suicide.

A Question of Cost Accounting...

Or does he? It's hard to imagine why a young man with a brilliant
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 12th 1986 by Fawcett (first published August 28th 1985)
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May 09, 2015 Hazel rated it liked it
I didn't read this in a day, but was surprised that when I went to mark it as "read", that I guess I hadn't entered the book at all. However, this wasn't a long book, but a bit slow at times for a mystery. This is because of its unusual nature: it's an economics lesson and murder mystery combined. The authors are both economics professors and must be mystery buffs as well.
A young economics professor at Harvard is up for tenure. His murder is set up to look like suicide when he is denied it; two
John Alsdorf
Dec 15, 2014 John Alsdorf rated it really liked it
This is one of a series co-authored by a couple of prominent economics professors, writing under the pen name of Marshall Jevons. The sleuth in question is himself a professor of economics who ends up using economic principles to solve the mystery. Delightful way to learn some basic economics. I wish the books had been around 50+ years ago when I was in college.

Milton Friedman, who, incidentally, served as the model for the hero of the series (according to an epilogue in one of them) wrote the b
Fu Tan
Aug 17, 2014 Fu Tan rated it really liked it
Intriguing and a bit mysterious. Some basic economic concepts and principles are nicely blended into the plots. As a graduate student in economics, I was surprised to find that some of the fundamental methodologies adopted by economists would be demeaned by scholars in other disciplines. Though this book is purely imaginative, I think the authors borrow a lot from the reality in the sense that how much pressure the idea of getting a tenure puts on junior faculty. I would recommend this book to u ...more
Jun 10, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it
I loved the econ parts of it but these guys (Marshall Jevons is a pseudonym for a team of writers) aren't necessarily good writers or good story tellers. At times it felt like they were putting in filler to make the story longer -- and they have a strange penchant for interior decorating/design; in every scene it seemed they had to tell me the color of the carpet and drapes. That said, as someone who never took econ in college, those parts were fascinating enough to make it worth it for me and I ...more
Nov 07, 2015 Pegah rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people with too much time
It's very ironic that a book about economics and rationality is written in the most inefficient and irrational way possible (was this on purpose??? pls confirm/deny). If 75% of this book wasn't purely exposition, then maybe I'd think it was entertaining and a good way to teach economics. But it was, so...sorry.
Jennifer Curtis
Sep 11, 2015 Jennifer Curtis rated it it was ok
I do not feel better about life because I spent several hours reading this book. It was a required read for my family economics class. I found it slow and hard to follow. I think my review goes along with Elizabeth. I believe my lack of knowledge in economics is what made it hard to get into this book.
Mar 13, 2014 Taweewat rated it really liked it
it was one of a very first book that I completely read though by myself without help of others in United States.

The story is very interesting and the connection with economy is incredible. I really like the economic thinking way.
Skylar Burris
Jul 10, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it liked it
I read this in my first year of college, in my Econon 101 class. It was one of those instances of a professor assigning his class his own book, although I can't recall if he actually told us he co-wrote it under a pseudonym or if I didn't find out until later.

Mr. Elzinga (oh, the snobbery that has followed me from Mr. Jefferson's University to this day...) co-authored this with William Biert. Both are free market economics professors, and their series of mysteries (three, soon to be four, novel
Aug 07, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
I had to read this book for my econ class because guess what! My professor co-wrote the book. I hated economics, not because my professor was bad nor because I think it's "useless" (in fact I think economics is incredibly important since economic unrest is often the cause behind radical political parties coming to power & I hate that I suck at it so much but I DIGRESS!!), but because HOLY MOLY do I not possess the mind or logic to reason through it. Sooo if it's a book about econ, do you thi ...more
Jun 30, 2013 Gencc rated it liked it
I am bit disappointed after the reading. One boner is the party in which Clegg met Shannon took precedence over the beginning of formal promotion and tenure committee. At the party, Clegg didn't learn that Froster and Bell were contacted by Gossen until next day when promotion and tenure committee began. I have to ask why Clegg would steal the glove of Shannon's to implicate her into the murders of Froster and Bell before he knew Clegg might leak the information to others.

And Clegg did not have
Ann Holland
Dec 10, 2015 Ann Holland rated it liked it
Interesting concept using economics to explain human motivations. Slowed down a bit after the initial murder, but the action picked up when the Harvard professors began to be knocked off. Fun read.
Trinity School Summer Reading
Certainly not the most literary option on this summer’s list, this playful murder mystery creatively and accurately illustrates the basic principles of Microeconomics. Written by two economists under the pen name Marshall Jevons.
Cate C.
May 10, 2015 Cate C. rated it liked it
Dated but good crime novel that illustrates economic principles. Enjoyable read.
Jun 17, 2016 Elodie rated it liked it
Murder mystery with economic theory - have to admire the creativity
Jul 28, 2014 Hajin rated it really liked it
A fun thriller that also makes you think about Economics
Ronald Barba
Mar 14, 2015 Ronald Barba rated it really liked it
Murder mystery + basic economics.
Jan 25, 2009 Yofish rated it liked it
An interesting idea: to introduce some basic economics in the context of a murder mystery. But in order to make it work, it's a little too forced and artificial. Some things work OK. Resolution (good guy figuring out what happened) sort of comes out of nowhere, and seems unconvincing how he figures it out. Also, most of the economics "taught" I knew already. Plot revolves around the tenure process at Harvard. Straw men from other departments thrown in to "debate" value of economic theory with cl ...more
Steve Gross
Dec 28, 2014 Steve Gross rated it liked it
A mystery set at Harvard. Not very puzzling but you'll learn a lot about economics.
Tauseef Zahid
Apr 18, 2014 Tauseef Zahid rated it liked it
Just good for basic concepts

Nice way to teach econ. Thought the fiance getting convicted was highly unrealistic but, that's not really the point of the book. Also, I get the whole will spend more time shopping for more expensive items-- but I also spend a lot of time shopping on cheap items that I will repeatedly buy instead of expensive purchases which often are one time buys. But, as a gross understatement, Elzinga is one smart cookie so I assume he knows what he's talking about.
Jacob Raymond
Jun 13, 2016 Jacob Raymond rated it really liked it
*More like 3.5/5* Though the premise is interesting the book was a page turner for me, it's evident that the authors are not professional writers. This novel is filled with clichés, the story lacks depth and some lines are just cheesy. It's very popular fiction, so read it if you like that style (I have no shame in admitting that I do) but stay away if you're a more serious reader.
Aug 07, 2007 Ann rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who took or is taking Microeconomics
I thought it was so funny that we had to read this for Sanderson! Very obviously written by some economists trying to spice up economic concepts with a murder mystery and a clever "detective" who solves the case via these concepts. I especially enjoyed the stereotype ivy leaguish professors who made up the cast of suspects/victims.
Apr 18, 2008 Scott rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, economics
The corny dialog and contrived murder mystery are too much to handle, despite the many clever lessons in economics that are taught throughout the book. The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance (Paperback) is much better, although it, too, is way over the top in the cheese department.
Jul 05, 2013 Jackie rated it did not like it
Some books with co-authors turn out to be fantastic, but this was just horrible. Weak plot strung along by an even weaker and noticeably horrid use of the English language. I would have preferred just reading an economics textbook glossary versus this (which is what I ended up doing).
Sep 13, 2012 Kate rated it it was ok
This is a mystery from the MIT Press. It was a very didactic novel, but the story was lost in the lesson and not very convincingly developed. Rather a disappointment, especially in comparison to The Invisible Heart, which I love.
Jul 07, 2011 Catherine rated it did not like it
"conceptually, he realized that an individual took his life when the discounted lifetime utility remaining to him was negative"

yes, i realize it's not Nabakov, but it's also not worth the opportunity cost
Dec 01, 2009 Boots rated it liked it
Written by Elzinga under a pen name. Its a mystery book that was an enjoyable read. (I read it in one sitting despite needing to go to bed earlier, but I do that with a good number of books).
Victor Claar
Aug 05, 2009 Victor Claar rated it really liked it
The "Marshall Jevons" pseudonymous writing team of Breit and Elzinga refine their economics-mystery writing craft in their second Henry Spearman mystery. You'll want to read the others, too.
Spencer Em dash j
Sep 16, 2013 Spencer Em dash j rated it really liked it
I mean yeah, it's clunky. But it's cute and a fun review of econ. It's also an interesting view into the world of academia.
Feb 07, 2012 Serafina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Classified as a cozy, this book is an enjoyable read that cleverly inserts economic theory into a mystery.
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