- Paperback: 265 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 30, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345494016
- ISBN-13: 978-0345494016
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 241 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.73 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Undercover Economist Paperback – January 30, 2007
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
—Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics
"A playful guide to the economics of everyday life, and as such. . . something of an elder sibling to Steven Levitt’s wild child, the hugely successful Freakonomics."
"A book to savor."
—The New York Times
"The Undercover Economist is a book you must pick up if you want a fresh perspective on how basic ideas in economics can help in answering the most complex and perplexing questions about the world around us."
“[Harford] is in every sense consumer-friendly. His chapters come in bite-size sections, with wacky sub-headings. His style is breezy and no-nonsense. . . . The Undercover Economist is part primer, part consciousness raiser, part self-help manual.” --Times Literary Supplement
"Anyone mystified by how the world works will benefit from this book – especially anyone confused about why good intentions don’t, necessarily, translate into good results."
—The Daily Telegraph (UK)
"Harford writes like a dream – and is also one of the leading economic thinkers of his generation. From his book I found out why there’s a Starbucks on every corner, what Bob Geldof needs to learn to make development aid work properly, and how not to get duped in an auction. Reading The Undercover Economist is like spending an ordinary day wearing X-ray goggles."
—David Bodanis, author of E=mc2 and Electric Universe
"Popular economics is not an oxymoron, and here is the proof. This book, by the Financial Times columnist Tim Harford, is as lively and witty an introduction to the supposedly 'dismal science' as you are likely to read."
About the Author
Tim Harford is an editorial writer at the Financial Times, where he also writes the newspaper’s “Dear Economist” column and “The Undercover Economist” column, which also appears in Slate. He lives in London.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
241 customer reviews
Review this product
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-8 of 241 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
--how China ascended from utter economic oblivion to being the 2nd largest world economy
--why the poorest nations in the world are poor and may never change
If you like this, be sure to listen to or read Tim Harford's "50 things..." https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0735216134 . It is available as BBC podcasts or book. IMHO, it should be required reading/listening for everyone.
A lot of topics are covered, but none are removed from situations that intimately effect all of us. You get a lot of insight on how various retailers struggle to set the highest price (this chapter alone paid for the price of the book, because it has made me a smarter, better armed shopper.) You learn how the concept of "missing information" makes it hard to buy a good used car as well as for a free market system to create afforable health insurance (the relationship between used cars and health insurance was as eye opening as it was fascinating.) You also learn that ecnonomists have some very good solutions to handling traffic congestion and pollution, if only the politicians would learn and listen.
This is just a sample of what is available, all written in a friendly, accessible style. No math, no graphs. Just a lot of clear reasoning and mind expanding information. Reading it was well worth my time. Hats off to the author.
Hartford discusses at length and with many examples key concepts such as marginal return and comparative advantage. One of the more enlightening chapters is about how new technologies that make the whole world richer can also make investors poorer by causing an investment bubble with unrealistically high expecations for returns. Hartford is writing of 19th century railroads, emphasizing that the internet did not change economic theory at all, that it is today as strongly governed by economic laws as were the railroad entrepreneurs of 150 years ago.
The Undercover Economist compares well with Steven Levitt's Freakonomics. Where Freakonomics presents interesting problems with counterintuitive solutions, Hartford sticks closer to plain vanilla economics and uses everyday happenings to illustrate his points. It also compares well with Steven Landsburg's Armchair Economist (1993) in that they both present standard economics. I prefer Landsburg's book (slightly) because it covers more ground (e.g. indifference curves) but Hartford's book is more topical and up to date.
Vincent Poirier, Tokyo
With coffee being a commodity, how was Starbuck's able to get a premium price?
How does "first degree price discrimination" play into our lives?
Is organic food priced higher because it costs more to produce?
Who excels at the really great pricing tricks?
What happens when drivers do not pay the true cost of their actions?
How you can put simple observation to work for you?
Harford also highlights some universal truths that are worth noting. He also provides a framework to understand not only how to improve our lives individually, but also, collectively:
Taxes and their influence on behavior
Health insurance and its dependence on mutual ignorance to be profitable
Self-centered motives that can work for everyone
This is a fun, well written, and enlightening book. "The Undercover Economist" is a non-academic work; written for all - trained and untrained - who have an interest in how economics influences individuals and society.