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The Economics of Life: From Baseball to Affirmative Action to Immigration, How Real-World Issues Affect Our Everyday Life Paperback – January 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0070067097 ISBN-10: 0070067090 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070067090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070067097
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"The great majority of people are more rational and make fewer mistakes in promoting their own interests than even well-intentioned government officials," writes this impressive couple (Gary won the 1992 Nobel Prize for Economics). The short, column-length essays that make up this volume first appeared in Business Week magazine and show for a popular audience how market incentives influence human behavior in countless ways. The Beckers criticize centralized planning, racial quotas and trade tariffs, and endorse drug legalization, privatized social security and school vouchers. They also veer into unexpected terrain, addressing religion, sports and marriage with keen insight. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

``Mr. Becker ranges widely across the current scene, examining goverment spending, taxation, gun conntrol, and even sports and religion.'' (Henderson, David R. The Wall Street Journal 1996-11-19) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Denis Benchimol Minev on February 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of articles Becker has published during his career as an economic contributer to Business Week. After having read some of Becker's other books, I came to the conclusion that this book is two things:
1) An easy to understand intro to the usage of economic principles to solve problems. Becker's other books were essentially on similar topics, but with a much more rigorous analysis.
2) An intro to new topics that could be approached from a much more rigorous standpoint. Becker's curious mind actually points out to many issues (such as immigration, affirmative action, and many other gov't issues) that would benefit from a more rigorous economic approach.
Good entertainment value, with about 80% of essays really interesting and the rest fillers.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By amznecon on April 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
This works provides great insight into the economic thinking and reasoning of one of the greatest living economists. It is simple enought for someone without a economics background to understand, yet complex enough for advanced students of economics to study and debate. A great work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By EconoCritic on November 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Based on Becker's columns in Business Week, the book is starting to suffer from the fact that the columns are dating, and that any book made up of columns is bound to get a bit repetitive and disjointed.

That said, the original columns are well-written and often provocative. It's not the best introduction to Becker's economics, which is more distinctive than this material, but it is a good read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. W. MacKenzie on May 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Economics of Life is a good anthology of Becker's short policy papers over the years. As such, it is useful as a supplemental text for introductory microeconomics. Some might find this book dry reading, but it is quite entertaining compared to standard textbooks.

This book should reach a wider audience too. Now that Milton Friedman is gone, Becker is THE leading proponent of Chicago Rational Choice microeconomics. Those who want to understand policy issues should read this book because it is about the easiest way to get a feel for Chicago microeconomics. See also Hidden Order by David Friedman.

Given the controversial nature of this book it has drawn fire, and will continue to do so. While I freely admit that Chicago price theory has limits, it also has useful applications and relevance. Read The Economics of Life first, judge its merits later.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. Nowacki on May 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Throughout school students are always complaining about how applicable subjects like economics, math, sociology, etc., really are. Nobel Prize winner Gary Becker helps fill this void in economics. Although I found some of his solutions to social problems too simplistic, it is an interesting read and it is sure to get you thinking. I personally like the books organization and structure. It is a composition of Becker's columns in Business Week and each column is about 1.5 pages. I liked this book because when I sit on the toilet I can get through a column or two. It is also good for a stationary bike or reading in heavy traffic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Claire Mbeki on May 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Nobel Prize winner Gary Becker published this collection of articles in the mid1990s. Even if dated, the book is a high-quality and straightforward way to understand basic economics and apply economic theory and principles to daily life. Most of the articles are interesting, it is easy to read both in content and length, the writing is consistently fine and the analysis insightful. It also sparked the vast amount of more recent books of the same fashion like Harford's Undercover economist, Landsburg's Armchair economist, Friedman's Hidden order or Leavitt's Freakonomics. Recommended.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Aguilar on July 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
An interesting read for all those individuals who claim that economists are too abstract. Each article offers practicle, and simple, solutions for many of today's social, and political, problems. The writing style of the authors is fairly simple and is not heavy on economic jargon. I especially enjoyed the Becker's ability to cram so much relevant info into small articles. I really enjoyed the collection of artlicles and would highly recommend the book to any person interested in economics.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
No other economist (or writer) identifies social issues,illuminates the core problem, and offers rational solutions better than Gary Becker. Becker has the unique ability to take the most complex Chicago-style economic thought and explain it in terms that non-Ph.D's can easily understand. The list of topics that Becker covers is so diverse, I gaurantee that you will find a subject that you can relate to personally. Becker cuts through the misleading information that politicians and the popular press routinely disseminate by identifying why certain parties take positions on issues. (Usually because they have a vested interest in the outcome, but their interest may not be in the best interest of the public) The book is a compilation of articles (30-40) on numerous topics . The articles are easy to read and will leave you thinking about the subjects in a completely different way. A must read for people that have a desire to better understand human and social behavior.
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