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THE LOGIC OF LIFE : The Rational Economics of an Irrational World

Harford, Tim

4,982 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1400066425 / ISBN 13: 9781400066421
Published by Random House, New York, New York, 2008
New Condition: New Hardcover
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About this Item

SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR, Tim Harford, on the half title page - First Edition - First Printing - 255 pages including Acknowledgments, Notes, Index - DJ in CLEAR, ARCHIVAL BRODART COVER - NOT REMAINDER - NOT PRICE CLIPPED - NO SIGN OF PRIOR OWNERSHIP - flawless Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 005723

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Bibliographic Details

Title: THE LOGIC OF LIFE : The Rational Economics ...

Publisher: Random House, New York, New York

Publication Date: 2008

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition - First Printing.

About this title


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.


A Message to Amazon Readers from Author Tim Harford

Give yourself a pat on the back. You're not as stupid as everyone says you are, and now there's a book that proves it.

When I first conceived of The Logic of Life, my aim was to show that a world full of smart people--people like you, that is--doesn’t necessarily look logical on the surface. We eat too much and worry about being fat; drink too much and cringe when we remember; spend too much at Christmas and worry about the bills in New Year. And that’s just the small stuff: what about crime, racial segregation, divorce, big-money politics?

And yet underneath it all there is a hidden logic. It isn’t always pretty, but it’s there if you know how to see it. That is what The Logic of Life is all about.

But when I'd finished the first draft, my editor told me that he didn't think that people were as logical as I'd said. He wanted me to prove my point.

At first, I thought it was my editor thinks people are illogical because he works in the publishing business. Of course life looks illogical if you do that. (In fact, life looks crazy in most offices: see "Why Your Boss is Overpaid," chapter four.) But then I realised he was right. I'd left the most important step out.

So I went back and made sure that I laid out all the amazing evidence. I looked at single women hitting the dating scene in American cities; I looked at juvenile delinquents across the US; I looked at Mexican prostitutes; I looked at traders at a convention in Disney World; I looked at professional poker players in Las Vegas and professional soccer players in Europe. I looked at violent spouses, alcoholics, and school bullies.

In every case I discovered a story of hidden incentives and unexpected logic. And through the process of writing--and living--the book, I discovered that this crazy world of ours makes more sense than you might think.

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