Archive for August, 2010

The Logic of Life

A little over a year ago, I recommended Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist. Now, I can also recommend his latest book, The Logic of Life, to anyone who wants to understand how economic “rational” thinking affects all of us every day.



In The Logic of Life, Tim explains how all of us act rationally (that is, with reasoned self-interest) every day, even in some situations where we think we are acting purely emotionally or altruistically. He demonstrates that some actions which appear to be irrational (like government subsidies that benefit only a few special-interest groups but increase tax for many other voters – surely the government would try to please the most voters?) are actually rational. He doesn’t argue that every decision we make is completely rational, just very many of those that we don’t even spend time thinking about.

My favourite part is where he gives several reasons why your boss is overpaid – something we’ve all wondered in the past, and it’s both reassuring and disconcerting to learn that there might be a legitimate reason for it. More disconcerting is the chapter explaining that racism can be rational – and demonstrating that while rationality may be more prevalent than we expect, it is not always to be applauded.

If you’d like to get some insight into a few of life’s little mysteries, click on the link to the right to buy the book. You’ll be helping to support this website and you might just learn something!

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Saturday, August 21st, 2010 Economy No Comments

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