The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World
This book is no exception. Harford has a knack for delivering complex information to the everyday reader in an entertaining way. Most importantly, he deals with issues that are relevant to the average ...more
Along the way you get informative sketches of major 20th century economists and game theorists and their theories.
I was most ...more
While I may enjoy it, it is going to leave me a little like freakonomics, i.e., a good book but not quite a classic.
After reading it, I must say it is looking like a lesser book than freakonomics. Afterall, freakonomics was the first in this genre. ...more
Fairly early in the book I reached the statement that the author's morning coffee habit and an addiction to heroin are basically the same thing, just different in a matter of degree.
If I had the book from the library I would have given up at that point, but having paid for the book I soldiered on, unfortunately, hoping for something better to turn up. No such luck. The book ends with a ridiculous speculation about why the Neanderthals went extinct ...more
Tim Harford, you're breaking my heart, and more importantly, you're undermining my faith in quantitative economics. I am a passionate fan of your BBC radio show, "More or Less." What could possibly be more entertaining than a topical radio programme that uses statistics to fact-check the politicians, especially if it occasionally measures things in whales and/or Wales? Sure, I don't have the same faith in rationality that you do--well, not without completely bending the meaning ...more
The author, Tim Harford, is a self proclaimed economist and he has a website:
I thought the book was calling for a closer integration of economics into social science research to develop a clearer understanding of the way things work. Maybe this is happening, but nevertheless, I ...more
The Logic of Life is a great read, with a thesis that I like, although it isn't breaking news. Basically, Harford points out that, even when people seem crazy and stupid, they're usually acting rationally and responding to incentives.
It definitely reads a bit like a collection of articles that was tweaked to make into a book. The ...more
Someone needs to write about how those incentives can or ...more
Author Tim Harford
“The logic of life: the rational economics of an irrational world”
My chief beef with economics has always been based on 2 simple observations:
(1)Men and women are not rational creatures
(2)Economics is horrible at forecasting future events because of irrational behavior
My conclusion then is that economics as a field of study is flawed and there are no “laws of economics” because the field is so full of potholes there can’t be. ...more
events as causal when in my opinion they are only correlated.
I could not take notes while reading, hence the review is weak. I'll try to read it again and rewrite it later.
The book offers a theory: people take very rational choices from a cost/benefit point of view when dealing with situations that they are used to.
It begins by ...more
Now for the mandatory comparison to Freakonomics: Though not as hyped or flashy as Levitt & Dubner's growing franchise, like them Harford applies the methodology of economics in answering questions about social values and human nature. And in many instances, The Logic of Life is more challenging and meticulously researched than his genre's more popular ...more
The book does the same thing. It looks at various data from different moments of time, and attempts to come at various conclusions. By relying on data as much as possible, a person can make sure that conventional wisdom, ...more
It's most notable for its survey of economic work that identifies off-beat, or less-visible "incentives" that cause people to behave as they do. It also provides a useful contrast to the economics laboratory studies ...more
Economists no longer just propose fiscal policies, forecast business growth, investigate interest rates and assign value to financial assets. Now they also conduct lab experiments, research teenagers’ sexual activities, analyze prostitutes’ condom usage, hypothesize about what happened to the Neanderthals, explain crime waves and develop winning poker strategies. Look under the bed or out the window, and you will probably find an ...more
BUT: I'm on page 4 of chapter 1, and my hackles are already up. Why? Because of the term "regular sex" being used interchangeably with "penetrative sex," specifically excluding "oral sex" as being "regular". It's a little better than if the term "normal sex" was used... but not by much. It seems all the more strange since part of the author's point is that the performance of oral sex is increasing - making it even more ...more
I heard Tim Harford on Start the Week a month or three back - I can't remember what he said now but it was interesting enough for me to order his book from the library. When the book turned up I wasn't convinced that I was going to find it that enthralling but I ended up loving it.
This is all about how the world is shaped by pretty much everyone making rational choices about the world around them and yet we end up with some things, like rough neighbourhoods or overpaid bosses, that don't appear...more
Content is somewhat interesting, but I thought book lacked real grip of message. ...more
What about with a terrible hand? Should you check or bet? The answer is surprising. Checking would be unwise, because the hands will be compared and you will lose. It actually makes more sense to bet with these bad hands, because the only way he might drop out is if you make a bet. Perversely, you are better off betting with awful cards than with mediocre ones, the quintessential (and rational) bluff.
There's a second reason for you to bet with terrible cards rather than middling ones: Your opponent will have to call a little more often. Because he knows that your bets are sometimes very weak, he can't afford to fold too easily. That means that when you bet with a good hand, you are more likely to be called, and to win when you are. Because you are bluffing with bad cards, your good hands make more money.”