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Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An economist proves that people are more rational than we think

    Economists no longer just propose fiscal policies, forecast business growth, investigate interest rates and assign value to financial assets. Now they also conduct lab experiments, research teenagers' sexual activities, analyze prostitutes' condom usage, hypothesize about what happened to the Neanderthals, explain crime waves and develop winning poker strategies. Look under the bed or out the window, and you will probably find an economist taking notes while researching you and your neighbors. Tim Harford is one of these ubiquitous "new economists." He reports on odd studies and screwball findings, but for a serious purpose. He posits that seemingly dumb actions, such as going out of your way to become addicted, are almost always fully rational and logical, if unwise. getAbstract recommends Harford's iconoclastic book as an "X-ray image of human life." He and his irreverent new economist cohorts explain how everything works, and why. If you enjoy delving beneath the surface to learn what really makes things tick, Harford is the perfect guide and his book is an offbeat yet revealing travelogue.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2008

    No Dismal Science This

    Tim Harford has lots of fun (as do we) when hee examined the economic-logical basis of what we sometimes see as 'irrationa ' activity - addiction, excutive pay, divorce, racism, et al. Lots of fun to read and a lot of food for thought.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2008

    Neanderthals and gender roles

    The most interesting part of the book is the theory on the reason why Neanderthals died out, losing competition to Homo sapiens. Neanderthals did not have division of labor, while Homo sapiens did. And the division of labor here specifically means division of labor between MEN and WOMEN. Division of labor, come to think of it, is such a basic social arrangement which improves work efficiency dramatically and has been employed since the earliest time in history. But in the 21st century, in the name of gender equality, Western societies are trying feverishly to do away with any division of labor between men and women. They argue that division of labor between men and women, a.k.a. traditional gender roles, is what kept women at home and hindered their fuller actualization / realization as a human being. But just ask why would anyone want to force clumsy, smelly, hairy men to take care of newborn babies? Their skin is coarse, unsanitary, and their voices low ¿ not what babies usually like. And why would anyone want to put women in military special forces, when they can't lift heavy weapons by themselves? Their maybe some valid biological reasons, why across all societies and all ages, women are the ones who take care of babies, and men are the ones who went to fighting. Maybe, just like Neanderthals were, 21st century Western countries are on its way to extinction.

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    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted February 7, 2010

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    Posted January 10, 2010

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    Posted July 24, 2011

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