The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World

Tim Harford, Author . Random $25.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6642-1

Financial Times and columnist Harford (The Undercover Economist) provides an entertaining and provocative look at the logic behind the seemingly irrational. Arguing that rational behavior is more widespread than most people expect, Harford uses economic principles to draw forth the rational elements of gambling, the teenage oral sex craze, crime and other supposedly illogical behaviors to illustrate his larger point. Utilizing John von Neumann and Thomas Schelling's conceptions of game theory, Harford applies their approach to a multitude of arenas, including marriage, the workplace and racism. Contrarily, he also shows that individual rational behavior doesn't always lead to socially desired outcomes. Harford concludes with how to apply this thinking on an even bigger scale, showing how rational behavior shapes cities, politics and the entire history of human civilization. Well-written with highly engaging stories and examples, this book will be of great interest to Freakonomics and Blink fans as well as anyone interested in the psychology of human behavior. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 01/01/2008
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-307-37188-1
Paperback - 255 pages - 978-0-8129-7787-5
Hardcover - 255 pages - 978-0-385-66387-8
Paperback - 255 pages - 978-0-385-66388-5
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-316-02756-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-6556-4
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 182 pages - 978-1-58836-682-5
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-316-02757-1
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