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The Logic of LifeThe Rational Economics of an Irrational World

Tim Harford

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The Logic of Life

By: Tim Harford

Narrarated by: L. J. Ganser

Life sometimes seems illogical. Individuals do strange things: take drugs, have unprotected sex, mug each other. Love seems irrational, and so does divorce. On a larger scale, life seems no fairer or easier to fathom: Why do some neighborhoods thrive and others become ghettos? Why is racism so persistent? Why is your idiot boss paid a fortune for sitting behind a mahogany altar? Thorny questions-and you might be surprised to hear the answers coming from an economist.

But Tim Harford, award-winning journalist and author of the bestseller The Undercover Economist, likes to spring surprises. In this deftly reasoned book, Harford argues that life is logical after all. Under the surface of everyday insanity, hidden incentives are at work, and Harford shows these incentives emerging in the most unlikely places.

Using tools ranging from animal experiments to supercomputer simulations, an ambitious new breed of economist is trying to unlock the secrets of society. The Logic of Life is the first book to map out the astonishing insights and frustrating blind spots of this new economics in a way that anyone can enjoy.

The Logic of Life presents an X-ray image of human life, stripping away the surface to show us a picture that is revealing, enthralling, and sometimes disturbing. The stories that emerge are not about data or equations but about people: the athlete who survived a shocking murder attempt, the computer geek who beat the hard-bitten poker pros, the economist who defied Henry Kissinger and faked an invasion of Berlin, the king who tried to buy off a revolution.

Once you’ve read this quotable and addictive book, life will never look the same again.

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Total File Size: 168 MB (5 files) Total Length: 6 Hours, 7 Minutes

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Tim Harford, The Logic of Life
2008 | Label: Random House Audio

The sometimes-deeply-buried rational basis that underlies seemingly irrational behavior.
Anyone who reads economist Tim Harford in the Financial Times and Slate already recognizes his singular brilliance in applying economic theory to problems as wide-ranging as New Year’s resolutions and social inequality. In The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World, Harford excavates the sometimes-deeply-buried rational basis that underlies seemingly irrational behavior — everything from the rationale for smoking to the fact that hardcore alcoholics are more likely than casual drinkers to give up booze when liquor taxes increase.

Listeners interested in gaining insight into the hidden logic governing their choices will no doubt embrace Harford’s concept of neuro-economics, which explores the inner battle between our dopamine and cognitive brains. Those interested in complex social problems like crime, racism and urban planning will also find plenty of food for thought. Even that most illogical emotion — love — seems strangely rational after listening to this book.

Most profound in terms of its social implications is the explanation of how rational (albeit not necessarily justifiable) individual choices can result in drastically irrational and even horrendous consequences for society, such as segregated neighborhoods. Equally compelling is the rational explanation for why bosses earn more money for doing practically nothing and why the workplace so often torments our weary souls.

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2008 Best Book - Economist, Fin. Times


The Logic of Life was named a 2008 book of the year by both The Economist and The Financial Times. "The book surveys shelf after shelf of the economics literature but in such skilful hands it does not feel like a dutiful trip to the library. Economists are often too beguiled by elegant theories, but Mr Harford wisely confines himself to ideas that have been carefully tested against real life. Only thorough research could discern that residents of high-rise buildings are more likely to be victims of crime, because stacked tenants make for poor monitors of the surrounding streets. Mr Harford, who works at the Financial Times, is an amiable guide for the non-specialist reader, neither too lofty nor dumbed-down. The book’s tone is breezy, but his command of the subject is such that even a well-schooled economist will discover much that is new." Economist

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I'm a big, big fan of these types of books. I loved the Tipping Point and Blink. But this one has less interesting info has a terrible narrator (sounds like he's performing the whole time). But the hardest thing to get over is the writing. Way too wordy. Could've used some editing. A much beter book that's very similar is Freakonomics. Still, I enjoyed listening to it simply because I like this genre and you learn many interesting and totally useless facts.

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