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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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06/05/2007 Archived Entry: "Book review: The Undercover Economist"

The Undercover Economist
By Tim Harford
Published by Random House Trade

Review by Logan

A few weeks back I was at Books Inc. and was just browsing the shelves. One of the staff recommendations was The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford. I never took an Economics class in high school or college. So, I always feel this slight insecurity when economics comes up in the course of a conversation. I figured I'd pick up the book and see if I could start to fill the gap in my education.

The Undercover Economist is written for the layman. I immediately appreciated the straightforward language and use of everyday examples to illustrate economic principles. The first two chapters drew me in right off the bat. The first chapter deals with the complex coffee market to explain scarcity and a few other principles. The second chapter explains price-targeting through the lens of supermarket pricing. The last three chapters start to get political, talking about poor countries, globalization, and China.

Last year I read Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics is a fun book about all sorts of bizarre and fun things economists study. I felt that The Undercover Economist was a little more serious than Freakonomics. Both books use fun examples to illustrate the exciting way economists view the world, but Harford spends more effort educating the reader on basic economic principles. I enjoyed both books and highly recommend them. After reading The Undercover Economist, my understanding of economics policy is at least now at a "novice" level. Next time economic policies come up in conversation, I'll at least be able to follow along.

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