Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tim Harford's top 10 undercover economics books

Here is the Guardian editor's introduction to "Tim Harford's top 10 undercover economics books" list, followed by Harford's account of Number One on the list:
Tim Harford's new book, The Logic of Life: Uncovering the new economics of everything, argues that the most unexpected people - oversexed teenagers, Las Vegas slot addicts, juvenile delinquents and even your boss - are rational, unconsciously weighing up risks and rewards and complying with economic logic. The author of The Undercover Economist, Harford is fond of unearthing economics in unexpected places, and here he roots it out in 10 unexpected books.

1. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

If only more economists could be like Jane Jacobs, for whom everything began with observing the world around her with the greatest care. The book begins with "the uses of sidewalks" and swiftly reveals the difference between one 35ft broad and one a mere 20ft. Jacobs's magisterial book is the very best example I know of how a compelling theory can be built, step by step, from the tiniest and most acute everyday observations.
Read about all ten titles on Harford's list.

Read excerpts from The Logic of Life, and learn more about the author and his work at Tim Harford's website and his blog.

Watch a brief video of Harford talking about The Logic of Life.

Tim Harford v. Stephen Colbert caged death-match: two men enter, one man leaves.

The Page 69 Test: The Undercover Economist.

The Page 69 Test:The Logic of Life.

--Marshal Zeringue