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The Armchair Economist: Economics & Everyday Life

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,014 Ratings  ·  110 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
Published (first published 1993)
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Joey I BELIEVE THAT LANDSBURG DOESNT NECESSARLY SEE A PRICE DECREASE BAD HOWEVER THERE CAN BE A NEGATIVE DOWN FALL TO PRICE DECREASE
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Noudi
Nov 06, 2010 Noudi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Aug 07, 2013 Mohamed Al Marzooqi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: إقتصاد
لماذا أدى سن قانون إرتداء حزام الأمان إلى زيادة نسبة حوادث السيارات؟

لماذا تباع الكثير من السلع بسعر . دولار في حين لا يباع سوى القليل جدًا بسعر 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 من قر
...more
Summer
Mar 27, 2007 Summer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 31, 2012 Tim Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
عمر الحمادي
كتاب يأخذك في رحلة سياحية في الصعب الممتنع من علم الاقتصاد باسلوب ال"دردشة" مع القارئ غير المتخصص.

يعتبر المؤلف أن الفلسفة الأخلاقية بشكل عام لا تهتم بالنتائج بينما علم الاقتصاد هو فلسفة حقوق يهتم بالنتائج التي تعود عليه بالنفع.

لاحظ آدم سميث - أول علماء الاقتصاد الحديث - أن العاملين في نفس التجارة قلما يلتقون إلا وينتهي الحديث بتدبير مؤامرة ضد عامة الناس أو يؤدي إلى وضع مخطط لرفع الأسعار.

يطرح المؤلف العديد من الألغاز العقلية في علم الاقتصاد فمثلا لماذا يدلي الناس بأصواتهم في الانتخابات مع كون كل
...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
Bruce
Jan 16, 2012 Bruce rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
raeed zakzouk
لا باس يا ستيفن،محاولة طيبة،لكن الكاتب كان بالنسبة لي ممل جدا جدا،والقصص خيالية خيالية،بحيث ان فكرت في القصة من وجهة نظر ثانية لوجدت انه في كلامه بعض الاخطاء،والنقطة الثانية يا صديقي المترجم كيف تقول بان هذا الكتاب ليس فقط للاقتصاديين؟؟؟اصبت بالاعياء من كثرة المصطلحات الاقتصادية الغير مفهومة بالنسبة لي بطبيعة الحال لست متخصص في الادارة او الاقتصاد...
نهاية الكلام:الكتاب لم يعجبني
Sarazen
Feb 21, 2008 Sarazen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Awfa Bostani
Jul 01, 2014 Awfa Bostani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كتاب بسيط ، سهل ، ممتع ، يتكلم في الاقتصاد من منظور الرجل العامي بأسلوب ممتع ..جدا ، ويطرح تساؤلات فلسفية جديدة في الاقتصاد ..

الكتاب خال من الرسوم البيانية والمعادلات المعقدة، لقد نجح الكاتب في تقديم مجموعة من الأفكاروالنظريات الاقتصادية بأسلوب يسهل على غير المتخصصين في علم الاقتصاد استيعابه.
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
Peterboh
Aug 26, 2009 Peterboh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Allen Martin
Jan 04, 2016 Allen Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, probably because I think like an economist.

I found things I agreed with, things I disagreed with, and several that made me go "huh". In all cases, it made me think, which is why it's worth reading.
AJ H
Mar 03, 2016 AJ H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Armchair Economist was a very revealing and incredibly interesting book on how economics affects our daily lives. I was able to take in a lot of new knowledge from this book, and it really provides excellent descriptions and examples to help you understand concepts and it even teaches you how to apply them to different areas of life. This book proves that economics isn’t just boring numbers and algorithms, but instead it involves a lot of philosophy and theory that doesn’t necessarily requir ...more
Raymond
Apr 25, 2015 Raymond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew Breslin
My obsession with economics is starting to become a bit of a problem. Here is an example of actual post-coital dialogue between me and my girlfriend:

Me: (after a few merciful moments of blissful silence): One principle difference between the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in the former’s focus on stimulating growth, contrasted with the latter’s anti-inflationary position, as a result of historical and cultural precedents. As such, the ECB tends toward what Americans would view as
...more
Dan
Feb 23, 2014 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, econ
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
Kevin
Aug 19, 2012 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 28, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ryan
Sep 14, 2010 Ryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-economics
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
Vijay
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
Jan 31, 2009 Roland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
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
kirmany
May 05, 2015 kirmany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Professor Landsburg extraordinary described the economics involved in our daily life.
I liked the expression - easy questions thinking using economics.
Professor argues that a world run only on an economic basis would turn out bad or good things, but that the good or the bad outcome is minor.
It is obviously true that “A price is attractive not when it is low compared with the past, but when it is low compared with the expected future”.
I think this book will change your point of view on so many th
...more
Aaron
Feb 25, 2008 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 22, 2007 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kevin Dolan
Apr 10, 2012 Kevin Dolan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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“Selling is a painful necessity, buying is what makes it all worthwhile.” 3 likes
“[Economics] is all about observing the world with genuine curiosity and admitting that it is full of mysteries” 2 likes
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