20 January 2006

A refreshing surprise from Tim

My (not so) new favorite Economics writer, Tim Harford, has impressed me once again. His The Undercover Economist was a joy to read. And this is from a guy that has read plenty of introductory and pop Economics books. This is the best one. If I've recommended a book in the past and you have yet to act on that recommendation, in light of a new basket of goods and services (including this book), I would advise that you forget the last recommendation and read this book.

I'm always trying to convince people to read these types of books, but I'm usually met with a blank or somewhat skew-faced stare. I refuse to admit that the only reason that I really like this book is because I am interested in the subject. When people says a book is well written, I am prone to write off that endorsement as another thing people say when they like a book and are trying to get you to read it. What they mean is that it was well written for them and they hope for you too. Well, here I'm saying The Undercover Economist is actually well written, and I agree with Steve Levitt (of Freakonomics) that this book should be required reading. Except that that would defeat the point.

Some of my next entries will be related to the book and in so doing I hope that even if I can't get you to read the book, you will at least be exposed-- in a much less skillful and enjoyable way-- to its basic ideas. These happen to be basic ideas to microeconomics and as such may not seem revolutionary, but if you are knowledgeable on the subject you will appreciate the new approach.

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