Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"The Undercover Economist" by Tim Harford

Sigh. I now feel completely stupid, and it's all due to this book. I picked it up after reading a review of "Freakonomics" on Amazon, and I hate to disagree with that reviewer, but this book was not better than that wonderful work. Maybe as far as the economic theories it was better, but I don't think it even came close to being as entertaining or as accessible to us mere mortals.

Why did this book not "enthrall" me, as Steven D. Levitt, author of "Freakonomics", blurbed on the back cover? I don't know, not really. Maybe it was the writing. Maybe it was the subject. Maybe I just really don't like feeling like I'm failing my basic Microeconomics class from college all over again. Yeah, that's probably it.

Harford uses everyday examples to attempt to explain how economic theory works, and those were somewhat helpful. I think his writing bogs down under the writing - he lapses too often into what I came to think of as EconSpeak. Again, it made me feel like I was sitting in class and not understanding the professor at all. Luckily, there was no huge exam looming!

If you're really into economics and the theories behind it, I would recommend this book. If, like me, you're looking to be entertained and maybe learn something at the same time, go pick up a copy of "Freakonomics" instead.

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