The Logic of Life by Tim Harford

The Logic of Life

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 answe...

Details The Logic of Life

TitleThe Logic of Life
Release DateJan 15th, 2008
PublisherRandom House
GenreEconomics, Nonfiction, Psychology, Business, Science, Sociology

Reviews The Logic of Life

  • Dustin Allison
    I've been trying to increase my understanding of economics lately, and have found myself reading a lot of books like this one. From 'The Undercover Economist' to 'Freakonomics' I feel a lot more informed about the world, but also better equipped to view my surroundings from new perspectives. This book is no exception. Harford has a knack for delivering complex information to the everyday reader in an entertaining way. Most importantly, he deals w...
  • Nat
    The explanatory ambition of this book is stunning--Harford offers rational actor explanations of changes in sexual activity, racial segregation in cities, professional poker, the number of people in parks at different times of day, the productivity of cities, the industrial revolution, colonization, and even why human beings eventually triumphed over neanderthals! Along the way you get informative sketches of major 20th century economists and gam...
  • kevin
    I like this type of book, but sometimes it feels like pseudoscience. What the heck! It was insightful to be introduced to Kahneman and Tversky in a book like say Against the Gods, and then to have it rebutted in the first few chapters of this book. While I may enjoy it, it is going to leave me a little like freakonomics, i.e., a good book but not quite a classic. After reading it, I must say it is looking like a lesser book than freakonomics. Aft...
  • Ross
    Very disappointing. Very shallow and simplistic.Fairly early in the book I reached the statement that the author's morning coffee habit and an addiction to heroin are basically the same thing, just different in a matter of degree.If I had the book from the library I would have given up at that point, but having paid for the book I soldiered on, unfortunately, hoping for something better to turn up. No such luck. The book ends with a ridiculous sp...
  • Shima
    You might feel the book interesting but there were many instances I would find myself saying "Really? You are claiming those to be comparable in a book espousing the role of rationality?"
  • Carly
    **edited 01/18/14Tim Harford, you're breaking my heart, and more importantly, you're undermining my faith in quantitative economics. I am a passionate fan of your BBC radio show, "More or Less." What could possibly be more entertaining than a topical radio programme that uses statistics to fact-check the politicians, especially if it occasionally measures things in whales and/or Wales? Sure, I don't have the same faith in rationality that you do-...
  • Andy Turner
    Interesting book which raises various psychological issues in its exploration of rational decision making. Some of the issues raised are set in context with geographical examples, which I like.The author, Tim Harford, is a self proclaimed economist and he has a website:http://www.timharford.comI thought the book was calling for a closer integration of economics into social science research to develop a clearer understanding of the way things work...
  • Leon
    A grandiose title that tells you this book is a little more ambitious than "The Undercover Economist". Harford writes with passion and urgency, defending rational choice theory as a useful framework for predicting in the majority of cases how the majority of people behave. Because people change their behaviours in response to incentives (and these include non-financial ones), rational choice theory also lends itself well to policymaking. Someone ...
  • Rachel
    Harford books are well-written, engaging, and funny. If you loved the Freakonomics books, are a Malcolm Gladwell fan, and want more, I wholeheartedly recommend these.The Logic of Life is a great read, with a thesis that I like, although it isn't breaking news. Basically, Harford points out that, even when people seem crazy and stupid, they're usually acting rationally and responding to incentives. It definitely reads a bit like a collection of ar...
  • Петър Стойков
    За съжаление, не всеки икономист е Стивън Левит или Малкълм Гладуел...Цялото ревю:
  • Tweinberg
    Review for The Logic of LifeAuthor Tim HarfordISBN: 978-1-58836-682-5“The logic of life: the rational economics of an irrational world”My chief beef with economics has always been based on 2 simple observations: (1)Men and women are not rational creatures (2)Economics is horrible at forecasting future events because of irrational behaviorMy conclusion then is that economics as a field of study is flawed and there are no “laws of economics...
  • Pedro
    Some of the chapters of the book are interesting (game theory, marriage and divorce) but others look like wild guesses. In many cases, he presentsevents as causal when in my opinion they are only correlated.(view spoiler)[I could not take notes while reading, hence the review is weak. I'll try to read it again and rewrite it later.The book offers a theory: people take very rational choices from a cost/benefit point of view when dealing with situa...
  • Kevin
    One of my complaints about mainstream economic thinking is that everything rational is defined by monetary value or obvious pleasure. This leaves many of the harmful and dangerous activities we regularly partake in as being written off as irrational. Finally an economist starts from the premise of how that thinking is wrong, vs what is wrong with the supposedly irrational person. He begins with identifying scenarios that are typically thought of ...
  • Diāna Platgalve
    Very weak book on rational choice theory. Backed up with some primitive comments on game theory. Only chapter 6 on rational racism is worth a read really.
  • Deane
    Ever since Stevens, Levitt and Dubner broke into the scene with their enormously popular Freakonomics, there has been a multitude of popular economics books. Books that uses the tools of economics -- the study of incentives, laws of supply and demand, trade-offs -- and apply them to everyday life. The result is often a fun, counterintuitive explanation of how the world works. Dubner and Levitt's most memorable contribution being attributing the d...
  • Mark Russell
    A frequently fascinating, tightly reasoned entry in the gonzo economist movement which has become all the rage in the last ten years.Now for the mandatory comparison to Freakonomics: Though not as hyped or flashy as Levitt & Dubner's growing franchise, like them Harford applies the methodology of economics in answering questions about social values and human nature. And in many instances, The Logic of Life is more challenging and meticulously res...
  • Mohammad Ali Abedi
    I’m fascinated by using data to understand things. I’ve been doing it for myself for a while now. Either looking at datas for countries to figure things out, looking at opinion polls to better understand societies and people, or look at my own personal data, to figure myself out.The book does the same thing. It looks at various data from different moments of time, and attempts to come at various conclusions. By relying on data as much as poss...
  • H. Blacksten
    This is an educational and entertaining dissertation on "rational economics," a newer branch of the "dismal science." It purports to show that much of what we often judge as irrational behavior is not, at least not from the actor's perspective. Which is not to say that it is good for the larger society. The book is a non-technical in that it has no equations or charts, but it delves into some subtle concepts in economics and game theory. A real p...
  • E
    An economist proves that people are more rational than we thinkEconomists no longer just propose fiscal policies, forecast business growth, investigate interest rates and assign value to financial assets. Now they also conduct lab experiments, research teenagers’ sexual activities, analyze prostitutes’ condom usage, hypothesize about what happened to the Neanderthals, explain crime waves and develop winning poker strategies. Look under the be...
  • Garrett
    Of all the pop economics books I've read (at least 3!) in the last few years, this is my current favorite. Asserting that people act rationally -- conventional economic wisdom for 300 years -- is unconventional again, and this book does a nice job of putting that in some perspective. It's most notable for its survey of economic work that identifies off-beat, or less-visible "incentives" that cause people to behave as they do. It also provides a u...
  • Christine
    This book looks to be interesting, in a similar vein to Freakonomics.BUT: I'm on page 4 of chapter 1, and my hackles are already up. Why? Because of the term "regular sex" being used interchangeably with "penetrative sex," specifically excluding "oral sex" as being "regular". It's a little better than if the term "normal sex" was used... but not by much. It seems all the more strange since part of the author's point is that the performance of ora...
  • Христо Блажев
    Тим Харфорд шашка с “Нещата от живота и тяхната логика” Този текст трябваше да бъде ревю на друга книга – “Икономист под прикритие” от същия автор, която току-що излезе на пазара с фантастичната корица от Петър Станимиров,...
  • Kirsty Darbyshire
    I heard Tim Harford on Start the Week a month or three back - I can't remember what he said now but it was interesting enough for me to order his book from the library. When the book turned up I wasn't convinced that I was going to find it that enthralling but I ended up loving it.This is all about how the world is shaped by pretty much everyone making rational choices about the world around them and yet we end up with some things, like rough nei...
  • Carl
    A book I wish I owned, The Logic of Life is a great follow up to The Undercover Economist, the author's previous effort. In this book, Tim Harford examines how rational choices make the world go round. Fascinating examples abound including how teenagers recently (and rationally) prefer oral sex to old fashioned sex after weighing the risks and benefits of each. And how the 2000 World Series of Poker Champion used game theory to sew up his victor...
  • Kuhajeyan Gunaratnam
    We are rational sometimes/most of the time than we think. This hidden rational choices surfaces everywhere in a life, why is your boss is overpaid, how rational racism deprived the African Americans and why divorce rates seems to be overwhelming? Tim offers some plausible explanations for this. Most notable thread that runs along the book is, how game theory influence in our life choices, most of the time invisibly. Content is somewhat interestin...
  • Mangoo
    Questo secondo volume Harford mantiene le aspettative sollevate dal precedente. Altri comportamenti apparentemente paradossali vengono spiegati e fatti comprendere alla luce di un comportamento economico "logico", addirittura spesso inevitabile. L'accento si sposta sulle applicazioni della teoria dei giochi (all'ombra dei contrapposti giganti del campo, Von Neuman e Schelling) ancor piu' che nel precedente volume: speed dating, inurbazione, progr...
  • Eduard
    All in all a solid book. It uses Game Theory and Research by Economists to provide some interesting insights into our everyday life. Especially the beginning is well researched and solid. As the book progresses, the author tackles more and more complex and big subjects. E.g. it progresses from "why do CEOs get so much money which appears to be out of contact with reality?" to the question of "how will cities develop in the future?" and "where did...
  • Maide Karzaoğlu
    Görünmeyen Ekonomist'ten çok daha derli toplu, eğlenceli ve okuması rahat bir kitap. Tanıdığım zeki bir iktisatçı şöyle bir tespitte bulunmuştu bu kitap için: "Tim Harford'in bu ikinci kitabinda da, ilk kitabını yazdıktan sonra rahatlamış ve kendi tarzını bulmuş yazar rahatlığı olmuş". Her kelimesine hak veriyorum. Ama eklemek istediğim bir şey de var, benim bu kitaptan anladığım en temel şey şu: Bir insan psikol...
  • Dr. Lloyd E. Campbell
    This is one of those books written by an economist who longs to be a sociologist. The subtitle of this book; "Rational economics in an irrational world," more accurately reflects the content than the main title does. Two chapters particularly interesting to me are "The dangers of rational racism" and "Is divorce underrated?" The chapter on rational racism makes sense as to why racism is so difficult to change and the chapter on divorce points out...
  • Void lon iXaarii
    The author is back undercover, with another brilliantly written well researched book of analysis of everything all around us. Fascinating analysis of incentives and realities in our every day life, ranging from neighborhood issues, teen sexuality and gambling through racism, real estate and big scale social changes. Fascinating stuff. Even knowing about this very interesting way of making sense of seemingly random life elements I'm again blown aw...