The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run-or Ruin-an Economy

The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run-or Ruin-an Economy

A provocative and lively exploration of the increasingly important world of macroeconomics, by the author of the bestselling The Undercover Economist. Thanks to the worldwide financial upheaval, economics is no longer a topic we can ignore. From politicians to hedge-fund managers to middle-class IRA holders, everyone must pay attention to how and why the global economy work...

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Title:The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run-or Ruin-an Economy
Author:Tim Harford
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The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run-or Ruin-an Economy Reviews

  • ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    Q:

    (I think we can all agree that a bunch of lawyers on Capitol Hill are capable of mismanaging anything, and if babysitting is all that suffers, we can count ourselves lucky.)

    (c)

  • Daniel Taylor

    In his latest Undercover Economist book, Tim Harford puts you – the reader – in charge of an economy and shows you how to make it work.

    Harford is a microeconomist, meaning he looks at the impact of individuals and firms on an economy. This time round he tackles macroeconomics, which looks at the broader issues in an economy and their possible causes.

    He introduces problems one after the other that affect an economy, and just as you think you’ve got his point and the requir

    In his latest Undercover Economist book, Tim Harford puts you – the reader – in charge of an economy and shows you how to make it work.

    Harford is a microeconomist, meaning he looks at the impact of individuals and firms on an economy. This time round he tackles macroeconomics, which looks at the broader issues in an economy and their possible causes.

    He introduces problems one after the other that affect an economy, and just as you think you’ve got his point and the required solution; he introduces a twist that reveals more complexity than you first thought.

    The book is written as a conversation between Harford and you. You ask a question and he answers it, which prompts further questions from you, until you’ve mastered the topic.

    For investors, this book will help you understand the problems within economies and how those problems affect your investments. When you know what the problems are, you’ll be able to understand what responses are needed from governments to run the economy well.

    This book will appeal to smart investors who want a guide to macroeconomics in everyday language.

  • Kressel Housman

    I’m a fan of Tim Harford a/k/a “the Undercover Economist.” He’s an academic who has thrown his hat into the pop economics genre, but while he does use a conversational tone and give real life examples, he doesn’t dumb the concepts down. Unfortunately, that means that I don’t always understand what he’s talking about. That was especially true of this book, the fourth of his that I’ve read so far. It’s the shortest and written in a Q&A style that anticipated my questions and threw in jokes her

    I’m a fan of Tim Harford a/k/a “the Undercover Economist.” He’s an academic who has thrown his hat into the pop economics genre, but while he does use a conversational tone and give real life examples, he doesn’t dumb the concepts down. Unfortunately, that means that I don’t always understand what he’s talking about. That was especially true of this book, the fourth of his that I’ve read so far. It’s the shortest and written in a Q&A style that anticipated my questions and threw in jokes here and there, but it was still the hardest to understand. Harford explains the reason for that. His previous books were about microeconomics – how people make decisions – and that’s something everyone can relate to. This book was about macroeconomics – the big concepts like GDP, inflation, the causes and cures for recession. Macroeconomics is complicated, which is why the world is in such a mess. Nobody can agree on which principle to apply when.

    So here’s my take-away from this book. There are Keynesians who believe that recessions can be solved by government stimulus, and then there are classical economists who believe that markets naturally correct themselves. The debate between them is fiercer than nature vs. nurture used to be amongst psychologists, but just like the answer to nature vs. nurture turned out to be nature

    nurture, the right approach to macroeconomics is a hybrid of the Keynesian and classical views. A recession caused by a weakening of demand – people afraid to spend money – can benefit from government intervention. A recession caused by a weakening in supply can be cured by government staying out so that innovative people are free to come up with alternatives to whatever supply of commodities has dried up.

    But having said that, I still don’t quite get it. If a country suffers a famine, it seems to me that their best way out of it is aid from other richer nations. And second, while I understand that spending money keeps the national and global economies running, if I would spend less and save more, I’d be doing much better in personal economy. If a whole lot of people came to that conclusion and acted on it, it would be better for them, so why should it be worse for everybody? Questions like this have got me scratching my head. But since nobody’s asking me to create monetary policy, I’m not going to break my head over macroeconomics. I read the book, I got what I could out of it, and now I'll move on. I’ll work as hard as I can, save as much as I can, and hope that living a fiscally responsible life will improve not just my own well-being but the well-being of the larger world.

  • Josh Friedlander

    Perfectly balanced guide to understanding the world's economic shambles (includes up-to-date insights on Bitcoin and the Euro crisis) pitched at amateurs but still covering a lot of the essentials. I learned a lot and it never felt like homework. The jokes are awful; Harford is an unapologetic free-market wonk. Still highly recommended for anyone with the relevant interests.

  • Caroline

    .

    I approached this book with some trepidation. It's book about macroeconomics - the large scale economics of concern to countries and governments. Plus it is written by an economist working for the Financial Times, which in itself is not an easy read. It seemed likely to be way over my head. But the book has had lots of reviews commenting upon its accessibility and humour; so I decided to go for it. In the event I had no regrets. It was excellent.

    It is written in the form

    .

    I approached this book with some trepidation. It's book about macroeconomics - the large scale economics of concern to countries and governments. Plus it is written by an economist working for the Financial Times, which in itself is not an easy read. It seemed likely to be way over my head. But the book has had lots of reviews commenting upon its accessibility and humour; so I decided to go for it. In the event I had no regrets. It was excellent.

    It is written in the format of you, the reader, wanting to set up an economy - and during this process having a conversation with Tim Harford, the author. Not only does he cover all sort of basics relating to macroeconomics, but he's a warm and funny writer, and has a wonderful stock of stories to back up his ideas. The book is entertaining, gripping and painlessly educational. I didn't understand all of it - but I understood a lot of it - much, much more than I expected to.

    As an economics newbie I can't begin to encapsulate the terrain covered by Harford - instead I will just make my usual list of things that particularly caught my attention. (It's a huge list, purely for my own record, and mainly just copying segments from the book.)

    All in all (and it did cover a lot of ground!) I thought this book was a great introduction to macroeconomics. I look forward very much to reading more of Tim Harford's work. (A very good taster of which can be found on his website - see below...)

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    The Independent's review of this book:

    Tim Harford's website: (I now subscribe to his blog here, and think it is absolutely brilliant....)

    And to see the man in action - an interesting 18 minute TED talk that Tim Harford gave in praise of a questioning stance (versus certainty), and the rewards of experimentation.

    #

  • Laween

    An interesting book some economical terms it is not an easy book for somebody who doesn’t have a well background in economic but a good introduction to the subject

  • Kevin Anderson

    This book was

    readable. I'd never read much about macroeconomics, so this was really interesting.

  • Umang Mehta

    If you're from a non-economic background, Tim Harford breaks down some of the most important theories/ideas/concepts in Economics in the simplest manner possible. The Q/A format was a fresh and unique way of making sense of the rather 'difficult to get your head around' things within economics.

  • Guilherme Zeitounlian

    I decided to pick up this book because I liked his first one (The Undercover Economist), and was eager to learn more about this fascinating field.

    And learn I did: while the first one dealt with microeconomics - and I was familiar with the main concepts - this one was about macroeconomics (which I knew nothing about).

    The fact that I was learning something new at every chapter kept me interested, and highlighting a lot of passages and concepts.

    Also, the dialogue

    I decided to pick up this book because I liked his first one (The Undercover Economist), and was eager to learn more about this fascinating field.

    And learn I did: while the first one dealt with microeconomics - and I was familiar with the main concepts - this one was about macroeconomics (which I knew nothing about).

    The fact that I was learning something new at every chapter kept me interested, and highlighting a lot of passages and concepts.

    Also, the dialogue style in which the book is written makes it more approachable, even if sometimes I had to read the same passage two or three times (because of my unfamiliarity with the subject).

    The way the author talks about the life and work of important characters (such as Bill Phillips) also makes it more interesting to read.

    And some of the topics had me glued to the page, such as the discussion on the need for economic growth.

    I finished the book with the impression that macroeconomics is not an exact science, and that there is a lot of different schools of thought and ways of modeling it.

    (The fact that it is hard to run randomized experiments makes it even less "sciency".)

    But there are some key concepts to understand when we are talking about macroeconomics - and this book can help you get familiar with the language and the ideas around it.

    In short, there are no hard and fast answers in this book. But it can teach you a ton, specially if you don't know much about the subject.

  • Edmole

    Not nearly as flat out interesting as The Undercover Economist, more of an interesting (fake) conversation about how the big tectonic plates of economies shift. Although, in offering a guide to improving the economy I found it disappointingly heterodox and vanilla, in that there was no suggestion that a different structure to lightly regulated international free markets was available or possible, whereas he was able to offer plenty of fresh insight into small scale economic phenomena in the orig

    Not nearly as flat out interesting as The Undercover Economist, more of an interesting (fake) conversation about how the big tectonic plates of economies shift. Although, in offering a guide to improving the economy I found it disappointingly heterodox and vanilla, in that there was no suggestion that a different structure to lightly regulated international free markets was available or possible, whereas he was able to offer plenty of fresh insight into small scale economic phenomena in the original book. But as he says, he is a microeconomist, not a macroeconomist, so insight into the big picture is not his specialism.

    Overall, worth the £3 I paid for it in Fopp. No doubt Harford could cook up a fascinating chapter on why his third book ended up being sold for pocket change in a jumble sale record shop.

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