Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford

I wasn't too keen on reading another non-fiction economics book, especially after Superfreakanomics, Nudge, Thinking Fast and Slow and so on. But I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Undercover Economist, and how much new insight I got. Overall, it follows more or less the same trajectory as a course on micro-economics that I took in Switzerland last year, but apparently a second time through the basic building blocks of our economy teaches even more than the first.

The Undercover Economist is essentially the story of how the economic and social world around us works. Even if it is not a complete or exhausting look, it offers enough of the basic knowledge to feel like a complete work. I won't be going into a list of things that Harford discusses, but I will say that even pedestrian readers (or social science students, god forbid) will understand the content.

Harford's prose is exacting and full of the type of dry British humor that makes me snicker in public places if I happen to be reading this. In a way, I wish that everyone would read this book, because it is easy to understand, concise and presents a clear-headed look on many things that influence our everyday lives. So many things are said in newspapers that bear little resemblance to fact that most people would benefit greatly from reading The Undercover Economist. And remember, that I'm saying this even though I doubted its value in the first place.

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