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Economics 2.0: What the Best Minds in Economics Can Teach You About Business and Life Hardcover – December 23, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230612431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230612433
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,114,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A wide-ranging, informed and thoroughly enjoyable tour of the frontiers of economics. Anyone who wants to find out what economists actually do should grab a copy at once." -- Tim Harford, Financial Times columnist and author of The Logic of Life and The Undercover Economist

"Economics 2.0 is a very readable and timely collection by two of Europe's best economic journalists, covering topics that range from the nature of happiness to the origins of the current financial crisis.  Each chapter seamlessly blends field research in the Freakonomics tradition with laboratory research, and entertains while it enlightens." -- Daniel Friedman, Professor of Economics, US Santa Cruz and author of Moral and Markets

"The nature of economic research has changed drastically over the last years, revoking the mantra of rationality, exploring creative new data sources, and venturig into topics far from the classical bundle of themes. This book provides a very entertaining and insightful overview of where modern economic stands today." --Ulrike Malmendier, Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley 

"The book is very accessible, yet precise and balanced in its account of what economics can teach us about the real world." -- Dirk Krueger, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania

About the Author

Norbert Häring is Handelsblatt correspondent in Frankfurt, Germany. He has worked as a business cycle analyst with Commerzbank and as a correspondent for Boersen Zeitung and Financial Times Deutschland.  Olaf Storbeck is Economics editor with Handelsblatt and is responsible for the weekly economics section.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Max on February 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is much more than just another Freakonomics copycat. The authors provide an easy to read and extremely well researched overview of the current research frontier in economics. Of course, some of the topics are chosen to appeal to the broadest possible audience which explains the section on the economics of sports which seems a bit oversold. The portrait of modern economics drawn in this book, however, is much more accurate than what most other books of this kind offer.

There are literally hundreds of books that aim to provide the reader with an interesting and non-technical entry into the field of economics. The best known is obviously Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner, but there are are many many more. It seems that are at least two unifying themes for most of those books: (1) a clever name and cover; and (2) a focus on hot, surprising and often contrarian insights that make for great cocktail chatter. If that is what you are looking for, you should not buy this book. Now, that Freakonomics has been sold about a gazillion times, you will not be able to actually surprise anyone at those cocktail parties, but well, it did work for some time and the next edition is not so far away.

If instead you are interested in learning what economists other than Steven Levitt are working on today, this book is a must read.

The authors write a weekly section on economic research in the German Handelsblatt (basically the equivalent to the WSJ). Like the Economist's "Economic Focus" it is widely read both by economists and non-economists and the only reason I read this newspaper. The book builds on the excellent work that they have done there over the years and it shows. The authors really know what they are talking about, but they have no vested interest in any given sub-discipline. That is exactly what you need, when you want to understand what economics is about.
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Format: Hardcover
The authors put together a very entertaining collection of example of economics applied to a wide variety of problems and situations. The book definitely reflects the current trend in relating what some have called cute-o-nomics, or the less technical side of economics for the general public. The book is filled with interesting examples of current research that challenges some of the accepted notions of the way people behave - it's yet another debunking of the myth of homo economicus, or the ideal economically rational person who acts based on self-interest and cold calculation. There is an edifying discussion about the causes of the current global financial crisis, particularly about how the loan markets became too lax and what the specific incentvies for that were. There are also interesting segments on management, family economics and the like.

Oddly enough, as I read along, at times I felt somewhat uncomfortbale accepting the various findings presented in each case study as the studies referenced sometimes seemed rather limited, at least intuitively. As it turns out, the authors used the final chapter to warn readers against the biases and errors that can enter into economic studies, and to take the studies they presented with a grain of salt. In the end the reader is left on unsteady ground after reading about 50 different case studies. So which, if any, is one to take as truth? That's a lot of time spent reading to feel left adrift.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This research sampling (bordering on a survey) is interesting. Covers research results similar to those in recent popular socio-economics books. More results that how research was done. If they went further this book would get huge quickly, or they would pare down the topics and head towards popular, focused book.

I think a fair amount will stimulate lunch/coffee/bar conversations.

What I personally missed was more connecting of research. More cohesion. I started to get discontinuity fatigue if I tried to read and think through more than a chapter at a time. Fun to make connections for yourself but the authors are in a position (their education, access, and profession) to help more that they did. Maybe a better summation at the end of each chapter. Or short chapters in-between these that make a few connections.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Each chapter is a concise summary of interesting (and somewhat unconventional) recent developments in economics. Each chapter is short and independent, which made this book a nice companion for a trip. Less entertaining and more reserved than Freakonomics (or other imitations of Freakonomics which appeared recently), but stimulating in a similar manner.

As usual for this kind of book, the authors are bit too harsh on "traditional" approach, especially from a point of view of an economist who works with "traditional" approach. If a reader think that "traditional" economists never thought about some of the issues raised in this book, he/she is wrong. It happens when authors are serious in what they are writing but not researchers on the frontier. But the book, as expected, gives this kind of impression.

So enjoy, but be skeptical simultaneously. Economists might be wrong in many dimensions but are not that stupid.
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