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Publisher's Summary

Author of the extremely popular "Dear Economist" column in Financial Times, Tim Harford reveals the economics behind everyday phenomena in this highly entertaining and informative book. Can a book about economics be fun to read? It can when Harford takes the reins, using his trademark wit to explain why it costs an arm and a leg to buy a cappuccino and why it's nearly impossible to purchase a decent used car. Supermarkets, coffee houses, airlines, insurance companies, and more are sucking money from our wallets. To protect ourselves and our bank accounts, we must better understand why companies do what they do.
©2006 Tim Harford (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC.
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Critic Reviews

"The book is unequaled in its accessibility and ability to show how free market economic forces affect readers' day-to-day." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Paul Norwood on 04-24-06

Everyone needs to know this.

This is a basic economic theory book which is logical and substantiated. The reader has a very British accent, is entertaining but somewhat monotone. I recommend this book if you are a little rusty on economics. Most of us would be best to hear this to support our own political views or possibly to change our political views. The book also answers many questions; why are poor nations poor? Why is China so successful as compared to India? What happened to India previously? What are negative externalities? What are the problems with the American and British health plans and what is the best way to solve the insurance problem? He is both conservative and sometimes liberal, so we can say middle of the road. He is fair. Sometimes the book is humorous at least as much as an economics text can be.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful


By Samuel on 03-02-07

Required reading for voters!

Harford explains lucidly how the free market determines how resources are allocated, why it seems to work well much of the time, why it fails under some circumstances, and what sort of government actions would appropriately address those failures. Much of the latter half of the book is devoted to the effects of increased global trade, including a whole chapter on the miraculous success of China. I didn't find all of it well argued; for example, his argument that globalization is not significantly harmful to the environment was painted in broad strokes and not well-supported. But overall, this book is an enjoyable elucidation of the world's dominant economic model, and should be read by anyone who... well, votes.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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