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The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford
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Jun 12, 12

Read from June 01 to 10, 2012

I didn't think I'd find myself reading a book about being a better economist, but that's what happens when I force myself to get at least one non-fiction book out of the library every time I go.

I am not a money person. I'm a person who only vaguely understands supply/demand because of a high-school class taught by a basketball coach many years ago. I'm not a stupid person, but I'm just not interested in economics because it always seemed so dull. But many things in this book clicked for me. I love metaphor, and applying one situation as an example of the dynamics of another totally worked. When I thought about traffic as an economics problem, economics made sense to me. When I thought about a party with an up-front charge for alcohol and a problem of people getting drunk as they tried to maximize the value per-drink, then the issue of public transportation vs cars made sense to me.

The media is so quick to say that throwing money at a problem will make it better, or taking money away from something bad is the solution. Any book that shows how problems and solutions are more complex and more interesting than throwing money around makes me happy.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who thinks that maybe the world is a bit more complex than the media makes it out to be.
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