Review: The Undercover Economist

Well, it’s a short review. I’m still on the road, where I’ve gotten the chance to do some reading, and I wanted to post my brief review of Tim Harford‘s The Undercover Economist. It’s very good, and I’m kind of surprised no one has written an introductory economics book for laymen like this before. The best ideas always seem obvious in hindsight. Many people often ask me for one book to better understand economics, and I have several. But none of the ones on my list are as comprehensive as this one. If you read this book, you will have a good grasp on what every college student ought to be learning in Econ 1o1. The important micro and macro concepts are well-covered simply and with real-world examples. And the writing quality is excellent.

There are a few examples that I don’t agree with (for example, I don’t fully agree with his take on the healthcare market), but those are outweighed by the examples he includes that are far better than the ones I often use in class. All coffee drinkers (lots of good examples about coffee) ought to earn As in their Intro courses. It’s a book that I wish I could have written, and Harford should be commended on the excellent service to the discipline…or scolded for breaking the knowledge cartel of academic economists. ;-)

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