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The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law [Kindle Edition]

Ward Farnsworth

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"This is an outstanding book that occupies a significant and unique niche in the literature of jurisprudence and legal methodology. Ward Farnsworth introduces students and practitioners alike to basic methods of legal analysis across a broad range of disciplines. This book should become the ultimate 'toolkit' for those new to the profession." - David J. Bederman, Emory University School of Law"


There are two kinds of knowledge law school teaches: legal rules on the one hand, and tools for thinking about legal problems on the other. Although the tools are far more interesting and useful than the rules, they tend to be neglected in favor of other aspects of the curriculum. In The Legal Analyst, Ward Farnsworth brings together in one place all of the most powerful of those tools for thinking about law.

From classic ideas in game theory such as the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” and the “Stag Hunt” to psychological principles such as hindsight bias and framing effects, from ideas in jurisprudence such as the slippery slope to more than two dozen other such principles, Farnsworth’s guide leads readers through the fascinating world of legal thought. Each chapter introduces a single tool and shows how it can be used to solve different types of problems. The explanations are written in clear, lively language and illustrated with a wide range of examples.

The Legal Analyst is an indispensable user’s manual for law students, experienced practitioners seeking a one-stop guide to legal principles, or anyone else with an interest in the law.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 3256 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 326 Seiten
  • Verlag: University Of Chicago Press; Auflage: New edition (15. Juni 2007)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B001NPE9OE
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #343.028 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.7 von 5 Sternen  32 Rezensionen
50 von 52 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen This is an Exceptional book 25. August 2007
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
It provides the reader with an overview of the principle methods used in legal reasoning. Using simple, but realistic examples Farnsworth shows the ambiguity facing the various parties in a legal setting. He shows how various "tools" can be used in thinking about legal problems and describes the less obvious but potentially relevant factors that must be considered in deciding the outcome.

The audience for the book is not limited to lawyers. It will be of interest to those in any profession where the decision to complex issues calls for seeing the problem as a whole, examining how decisions affect one another and arriving at the optimal solution.

The book views the law in many parts through the lens of economic theory.

It is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the law.
41 von 42 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen "Toolkit" is Right. Real-World Value 11. August 2007
Von V. R. Stull - Veröffentlicht auf
Is it wrong of me to argue before the local Bench while relying on what I've learned from "The Legal Analyst" without giving Ward Farnsworth credit? I really should.
It's been a very long time since I've enjoyed any book more than "The Legal Analyst." I read about it on the Volokh Conspiracy and I imagined "theory." But I quickly realized it has such real-world value that I consider it
one of my most essential tools. Every chapter not only brings understanding but a realization that you are being taught to argue much more effectively. Besides, it's just plain good reading.
31 von 32 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Thought provoking and not just for lawyers 23. Juli 2008
Von Michael - Veröffentlicht auf
It's unfortunate that this book uses the term legal in the title since that might turn off potential readers who are not lawyers. The topics covered in this book would be interesting to anyone with an interest in politics, economics, public policy, and of course law. Some of the discussion is geared a little more towards law, but it doesn't take too much thought to extend the ideas.

Each chapter gives an introduction to the topic it concerns itself with, such as game theory, slippery slopes, hindsight bias, etc. It then goes on to discuss some problems drawn from areas such as a law, economics, or social issues, and how considering them in light of the topic of the chapter can give a new perspective.

The chapters are short and not so interdependent that you couldn't skip around a little to read the ones you find most interesting first. I think all the chapters were interesting, and recommend just starting at the beginning.

Amazon doesn't give a table of contents, but you can look up the author's website which has a link to a website for the book. There you can find the table of contents and a few sample chapters.
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent, but dense reading 14. Mai 2009
Von Jerry Saperstein - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
The author says he intends his book to be of interest to "law students, lawyers, scholars, and anyone else with an interest in the legal system". The pity is that most people are unaware of the impact of the legal system and its impact on their daily lives. A book like "The Legal Analyst", unfortunately, is not for the average citizen. It took me months of nibbling, reading a bit at a time, to get through these fascinating, but densely written book.

"The Legal Analyst" is excellent: informative, learned and challenging, all at the same time. The alternative title considered was "Thinking Like a Law Professor" and that might have been more appropriate.

The value of the book is that instead of discussing rules as so many law texts do, Professor Farnsworth introduces us here - quite effectively - to tools for thinking about the law.

I am not a lawyer, but lawyers are my clientele and I play a role in litigation as an expert witness and consultant. I am also an American who is very concerned about the direction of the nation and the fate of its Constitution, the very document that makes us a nation of laws.

Professor Farnsworth is a gentle guide. He avoids footnotes. He doesn't use dry academic language. He is, matter of fact, pretty straightforward. But the subject matter itself, while always challenging, is sometimes dry. There are thirty chapters on the tools of legal thought, prefaced by a introduction that poses an interesting challenge. If a robber enters a bank, takes customer hostage and threatens to kill a hostage if he doesn't get $5,000, should the bank be held liable when the robber gets no money and kills the hostage? (I'm not going to tell.)

On the whole, only the truly committed will make it through this book. It is not because of any lack of quality or scholarship: it is simply a difficult read. Those who do complete the trek will be rewarded with an expanded knowledge of the logic of the law.

I do wish Professor Farnsworth would consider writing a version of "The Legal Analyst" for the average person - such a book is truly needed.

15 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen I should have guessed ... 22. Oktober 2012
Von HS - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
... when someone talks about tools and tricks for legal analysis they usually mean GAME THEORY.

I bought the book after sampling the first chapter on kindle, incidentally the sample didn't talk much about game theory.

The book is good for those with no exposure to game theory. Game theory can provide another paradigm for looking at legal decisions. The author admits this isn't how the law was formed, or even necessarily how judges make decisions, its just another tool that often yields the same results.

The first few chapters are the core. Once the prisoners' dilemma, stag hunt, single owner theory, and Coase's theorem are covered I felt these underlying concepts were just repurposed for the rest of the book (the book is composed of >30 short, "different" chapters); so it got a bit repetitive.

But more than that, as the book wore on, fewer and fewer cases are mentioned, the book gets vague, and our 3-4 underlying concepts are used to just motivate or suggest a possible "why" for certain aspects of the law.
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