Book Review: The Logic of Life

December 14, 2008

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 12.52.57 PMIf you’re a fan of The Tipping Point or Freakonomics, pick up the latest release from Tim Harford, economist and author of the previously published The Undercover Economist.

The “irrationality of human behavior” is not a new topic. But Harford turns the concept on its head, revealing how logical even seemingly irrational behavior can be.

The book puts some of our most troubling issues under the microscope — from teenage promiscuity to racial inequality and economic disparity. Harford demonstrates how rational decisions have resulted in some pretty ugly consequences.

By revealing the incentives that underlie seemingly thoughtless choices, he sheds light on the economics of rational behavior.

By understanding the economics of human decision-making, can we begin to solve the “behavioral” problems currently plaguing us (e.g., corruption in business and government, under-performance in schools, etc)?

After reading Harford’s book, one can’t help but wonder how a better grasp of behavioral economics might help business executives, public officials, and leaders of all stripes structure systems to encourage logical (i.e., rational) decisions that yield positive, instead of negative, outcomes.

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