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The Undercover Economist successfully avoids mind-numbing equations, boring examples and abstruse subjects.

Using ten themes, Mr. Harford provides a popular platform for the latest thinking on economics.

In Who Pays for Your Coffee? he looks at how a desire for quick access to caffeine allows landlords along commuter routes to charge high rents for take-out coffee locations.

In What Supermarkets Don't Want You to Know? he explores how item choices and pricing are used to create the appearance of competitiveness while encouraging the price insensitive to pay as much as they like. He also explains the theory of why you pay so much more for fancier coffee drinks . . . and even possibly for fair trade coffee.

Perfect Markets and the "World of Truth" considers how economic policy can influence how people make decisions and allocate resources more efficiently such as by raising taxes on fuel while subsidizing the poor with a "head start".

Crosstown Traffic looks at the ways that social problems can be solved by a judicious use of fees, such as by charging for the right to pollute.

The Inside Story examines how imperfect information causes costs and prices to soar . . . as those who know what's good and bad take advantage of those who don't. People sell used cars that are lemons and hold on to ones that are peaches. Those who need health insurance because they are sick buy it while those who are well avoid the cost.

Rational Insanity describes talks about irrationality in economic decisions such as the recent Internet bubble.

The Men Who Knew the Value of Nothing is about describes the brilliant and not so brilliant auctions that economists set up to sell radio spectrum for new services around the world.

Why Poor Countries are Poor contains an unforgettable tale of what it's like in Cameroon and why the economy isn't likely to get better anytime soon.

Beer, Fries and Globalization makes the case for free trade.

How China Grew Rich is a nice study in government policy in China and how it overcame the worst problems of being a centralized economy.

If you know economics, all that will be new in most of these chapters will be the examples, which are fairly new and interesting.

If you don't know economics, you probably won't follow some of the chapters such as Beer, Fries and Globalization.

So this book will be most appealing to those who know a lot about economics and will be interested to see how key ideas can be explained more simply and in a livelier way.

For those who don't know economics, it's a lot better than my economics professors in explaining key ideas. But you may end up learning more than you wanted to know. Many of the chapters are of more interest to economists than the typical non-economist reader. I suggest you selectively read the chapters to focus on the ones that seem interesting to you.

I thought that the last chapter on China had the most interesting material and explained it very well.

Some people will compare this book to Freakonomics. That's a peculiar comparison to make. That book uses economics to provide new perspectives on old problems. This book, instead, tries to teach economics. The two books have substantially different purposes and perspectives as a result.
0Kommentar|31 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 24. Juni 2012
People who never have heard anything about economics might get some useful information for their everday-life, but the topics of the "Undercover Economist" are not very convincing and sometimes the author's argumentation is not clear. Of course, cappuchino, traffic and department-stores are realistic examples, but there are so many authors who have shown theories of economics on the basis of those illustrations and you have to consider that most of them did a better job.
Tim Harford explains basic economic models in a entertaining way but sometimes his explanations are very detailed and sometimes, when he mentions complicated facts, his argumentation is not very clear for persons who read something about economics for the first time.
And you have to beware of taking all the given information too serious. The "basic-knowledge" is described very good but some of the author's interpretations are highly questionable.
Nevertheless you should read the book because it enthuses a person with economics, even if you don't know anything about this issue. If you combine the lecture of this book with a reference book, you will have the best possibilities to understand economic processes better.
0Kommentar|Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 22. September 2008
This is a great book the read and maybe to enjoy during a coffee. I studied economics and thought after a while that it would be fun to read such a book. What I discovered was that the book actually covers all the major topics and issues that is subject to several years of studies. Yet, it is much better readable and actually funny than all the course literature you might come across.

So my judgment is that this book is a good pick for everybody who just wonders what economics is all about - both future/current students and people just interested in what makes the today's world spin around.
0Kommentar|5 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 10. Juni 2007
Ich hatte das Buch gekauft, um unterhaltsame neue Einblicke und die Zusammenhänge des täglichen Lebens zu bekommen. Analog zu Freakonomics. Dieser Wunsch wurde nur geringfügig erfüllt.

Tatsächlich ließe sich das Inhaltsverzeichnis auch umformulieren zu Überschriften wie: perfekte Märkte, Macht der Einkäufer, Steuern, Monopole, Externe Effekte usw.

Viele wesentlichen Elemente dessen, was man in der Mikroökonomie im Grundstudium lernt, werden in diesem Buch in Prosa gepackt, zu netten Geschichten gestrickt und mit guten Beispielen geschmückt.

Ein freundliches leicht lesbares Buch. Es nimmt einen Teil der trockenen Theorie der VWL und ersetzt sie durch mehr Lebensnähe. So fehlen die Formen und erklärenden Graphen, dafür sind alle Elemente sehr anfassbar. Wer hat nicht schon einmal drüber nachgedacht, warum der Kaffee hier 1€ kostet und auf der anderen Straßenseite 1,80€?

Trotz einer gewissen Enttäuschung 5 Sterne, weil er seine Punkte wirklich sehr anschaulich transportiert.
0Kommentar|8 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
The Undercover Economist successfully avoids mind-numbing equations, boring examples and abstruse subjects.

Using ten themes, Mr. Harford provides a popular platform for the latest thinking on economics.

In Who Pays for Your Coffee? he looks at how a desire for quick access to caffeine allows landlords along commuter routes to charge high rents for take-out coffee locations.

In What Supermarkets Don't Want You to Know? he explores how item choices and pricing are used to create the appearance of competitiveness while encouraging the price insensitive to pay as much as they like. He also explains the theory of why you pay so much more for fancier coffee drinks . . . and even possibly for fair trade coffee.

Perfect Markets and the "World of Truth" considers how economic policy can influence how people make decisions and allocate resources more efficiently such as by raising taxes on fuel while subsidizing the poor with a "head start".

Crosstown Traffic looks at the ways that social problems can be solved by a judicious use of fees, such as by charging for the right to pollute.

The Inside Story examines how imperfect information causes costs and prices to soar . . . as those who know what's good and bad take advantage of those who don't. People sell used cars that are lemons and hold on to ones that are peaches. Those who need health insurance because they are sick buy it while those who are well avoid the cost.

Rational Insanity describes talks about irrationality in economic decisions such as the recent Internet bubble.

The Men Who Knew the Value of Nothing is about describes the brilliant and not so brilliant auctions that economists set up to sell radio spectrum for new services around the world.

Why Poor Countries are Poor contains an unforgettable tale of what it's like in Cameroon and why the economy isn't likely to get better anytime soon.

Beer, Fries and Globalization makes the case for free trade.

How China Grew Rich is a nice study in government policy in China and how it overcame the worst problems of being a centralized economy.

If you know economics, all that will be new in most of these chapters will be the examples, which are fairly new and interesting.

If you don't know economics, you probably won't follow some of the chapters such as Beer, Fries and Globalization.

So this book will be most appealing to those who know a lot about economics and will be interested to see how key ideas can be explained more simply and in a livelier way.

For those who don't know economics, it's a lot better than my economics professors in explaining key ideas. But you may end up learning more than you wanted to know. Many of the chapters are of more interest to economists than the typical non-economist reader. I suggest you selectively read the chapters to focus on the ones that seem interesting to you.

I thought that the last chapter on China had the most interesting material and explained it very well.

Some people will compare this book to Freakonomics. That's a peculiar comparison to make. That book uses economics to provide new perspectives on old problems. This book, instead, tries to teach economics. The two books have substantially different purposes and perspectives as a result.
0Kommentar|Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 18. Juni 2010
As someone who has attended his economics 101 lectures, this book didn't really tell me anything I didn't know.

What it does manage to do, however, is to do it in a manner that even economically disinterested people should be able to comprehend quickly and easily, should they so choose.

Harford does oversimplify a bit too much at places, but that's alright - if you want to get some REALLY basic points across to people this book might give you the ammunition to do so with well-developed and clearly structured examples.

His analogy of the market as truth-finding mechanism is especially useful:

1a. You want to know how much it would cost to solve a problem.
1b. You want to know how much people would be willing to pay for the solution.

2. People WILL lie. Companies will claim ridiculous costs and consumers will claim total disinterest in the product.

3. The best (and often only) way to find out how much things really costs and is worth to people is by forcing them to put their money where their mouth is - via markets.

Harford is a newspaper columnist and that shows in his style: He is a far smoother read than most economists and has a knack for explaining things concisely and with vivid imagery.

A buy for economy laypeople who want to gain a better understanding of market basics. Interesting for seasoned economists who'd like to better communicate their ideas to laypeople.
0Kommentar|Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 8. September 2014
Mixture of common sense and clearly explained economics - and still entertaining! Would recommend to anyone - uses good examples to illustrate the theories.
0Kommentar|War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 1. September 2014
this is a great book with the lessons of economy in really simple language. You do not need any degree to understand this great book.
0Kommentar|War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
The Undercover Economist successfully avoids mind-numbing equations, boring examples and abstruse subjects.

Using ten themes, Mr. Harford provides a popular platform for the latest thinking on economics.

In Who Pays for Your Coffee? he looks at how a desire for quick access to caffeine allows landlords along commuter routes to charge high rents for take-out coffee locations.

In What Supermarkets Don't Want You to Know? he explores how item choices and pricing are used to create the appearance of competitiveness while encouraging the price insensitive to pay as much as they like. He also explains the theory of why you pay so much more for fancier coffee drinks . . . and even possibly for fair trade coffee.

Perfect Markets and the "World of Truth" considers how economic policy can influence how people make decisions and allocate resources more efficiently such as by raising taxes on fuel while subsidizing the poor with a "head start".

Crosstown Traffic looks at the ways that social problems can be solved by a judicious use of fees, such as by charging for the right to pollute.

The Inside Story examines how imperfect information causes costs and prices to soar . . . as those who know what's good and bad take advantage of those who don't. People sell used cars that are lemons and hold on to ones that are peaches. Those who need health insurance because they are sick buy it while those who are well avoid the cost.

Rational Insanity describes talks about irrationality in economic decisions such as the recent Internet bubble.

The Men Who Knew the Value of Nothing is about describes the brilliant and not so brilliant auctions that economists set up to sell radio spectrum for new services around the world.

Why Poor Countries are Poor contains an unforgettable tale of what it's like in Cameroon and why the economy isn't likely to get better anytime soon.

Beer, Fries and Globalization makes the case for free trade.

How China Grew Rich is a nice study in government policy in China and how it overcame the worst problems of being a centralized economy.

If you know economics, all that will be new in most of these chapters will be the examples, which are fairly new and interesting.

If you don't know economics, you probably won't follow some of the chapters such as Beer, Fries and Globalization.

So this book will be most appealing to those who know a lot about economics and will be interested to see how key ideas can be explained more simply and in a livelier way.

For those who don't know economics, it's a lot better than my economics professors in explaining key ideas. But you may end up learning more than you wanted to know. Many of the chapters are of more interest to economists than the typical non-economist reader. I suggest you selectively read the chapters to focus on the ones that seem interesting to you.

I thought that the last chapter on China had the most interesting material and explained it very well.

Some people will compare this book to Freakonomics. That's a peculiar comparison to make. That book uses economics to provide new perspectives on old problems. This book, instead, tries to teach economics. The two books have substantially different purposes and perspectives as a result.
0Kommentar|4 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
The Undercover Economist successfully avoids mind-numbing equations, boring examples and abstruse subjects.

Using ten themes, Mr. Harford provides a popular platform for the latest thinking on economics.

In Who Pays for Your Coffee? he looks at how a desire for quick access to caffeine allows landlords along commuter routes to charge high rents for take-out coffee locations.

In What Supermarkets Don't Want You to Know? he explores how item choices and pricing are used to create the appearance of competitiveness while encouraging the price insensitive to pay as much as they like. He also explains the theory of why you pay so much more for fancier coffee drinks . . . and even possibly for fair trade coffee.

Perfect Markets and the "World of Truth" considers how economic policy can influence how people make decisions and allocate resources more efficiently such as by raising taxes on fuel while subsidizing the poor with a "head start".

Crosstown Traffic looks at the ways that social problems can be solved by a judicious use of fees, such as by charging for the right to pollute.

The Inside Story examines how imperfect information causes costs and prices to soar . . . as those who know what's good and bad take advantage of those who don't. People sell used cars that are lemons and hold on to ones that are peaches. Those who need health insurance because they are sick buy it while those who are well avoid the cost.

Rational Insanity describes talks about irrationality in economic decisions such as the recent Internet bubble.

The Men Who Knew the Value of Nothing is about describes the brilliant and not so brilliant auctions that economists set up to sell radio spectrum for new services around the world.

Why Poor Countries are Poor contains an unforgettable tale of what it's like in Cameroon and why the economy isn't likely to get better anytime soon.

Beer, Fries and Globalization makes the case for free trade.

How China Grew Rich is a nice study in government policy in China and how it overcame the worst problems of being a centralized economy.

If you know economics, all that will be new in most of these chapters will be the examples, which are fairly new and interesting.

If you don't know economics, you probably won't follow some of the chapters such as Beer, Fries and Globalization.

So this book will be most appealing to those who know a lot about economics and will be interested to see how key ideas can be explained more simply and in a livelier way.

For those who don't know economics, it's a lot better than my economics professors in explaining key ideas. But you may end up learning more than you wanted to know. Many of the chapters are of more interest to economists than the typical non-economist reader. I suggest you selectively read the chapters to focus on the ones that seem interesting to you.

I thought that the last chapter on China had the most interesting material and explained it very well.

Some people will compare this book to Freakonomics. That's a peculiar comparison to make. That book uses economics to provide new perspectives on old problems. This book, instead, tries to teach economics. The two books have substantially different purposes and perspectives as a result.
0Kommentar|War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden

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