Customer Reviews


34 Reviews
5 star:
 (20)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy read on a difficult subject
According to John Maynard Keynes "The master economist ... must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher-in some degree. He must understand symbols and speak in words. He must contemplate the particular in terms of the general, and touch abstract and concrete in the same flight of thought. He must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes...
Published 10 months ago by Alistair Kelman

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missing Words
The content of the book is great, as usual, for Tim Harford, but it is incredibly annoying that the Kindle version does not fit properly on a page and words are missing. They reappear if you change the font size, only for other to disappear on another page. Very frustrating indeed!
Published 3 months ago by chris fish


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy read on a difficult subject, 2 Sep 2013
By 
Alistair Kelman "Ali Kelman" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
According to John Maynard Keynes "The master economist ... must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher-in some degree. He must understand symbols and speak in words. He must contemplate the particular in terms of the general, and touch abstract and concrete in the same flight of thought. He must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes of the future. No part of man's nature or his institutions must lie entirely outside his regard. He must be purposeful and disinterested in a simultaneous mood; as aloof and incorruptible as an artist, yet sometimes as near the earth as a politician."

So even a very bright fifteen year old is not going to be able to understand macroeconomics - it will need half a lifetime of professional training and experience to get him to a point where he can grasp even the basics. Unless, that is, he has Tim Harford as his guide. Using the Q&A Socratic debate format Tim leads the reader towards an understanding of why macroeconomics is so hard, why no solutions have yet been found and maps out potential sources of hope for future solutions. Along the way we encounter some of the latest thinking on behavioural economics, on why economics growth can continue forever, on why happiness economics is just plain weird and on how the Euro is like Dr Strangelove's doomsday device with Greece playing the role of Major Kong.

Although this book could be read on its own I feel it is better to read The Undercover Economist first so that the reader has a basic understanding of microeconomic concepts before embarking on "The UE-SB". The takeaway from this book is different from his earlier works. Reading it has persuaded me that we need a long term inflation rate of more than 2% to get us out of this depression but I believe that the 4% rate that Tim suggests is too high. Let's see what Mark Carney does over 2014.

Buy it - Read it - Enjoy it
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strikes Back scores a home run, 3 Sep 2013
By 
D. Morris "@MirabilisDave" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you haven't read a Tim Harford book before, the first thing that will strike you is how easy he makes his subject sound. The second thing will be that it is not at all easy, but that like all great teachers he has the knack of communicating a sense of the intellectual curiosity and delight that inspire him.

Plutarch said that the mind is not a vessel to be filled, it is a fire to be lit - and Tim Harford's effortlessly fluent style and range of illuminating examples and thought-experiments certainly achieve that. Macroeconomics is probably not a subject I would normally be interested in learning about, but the author's excitement is infectious and thus, instead of a dry academic text, what you get is an exhilarating page-turner.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A return to form for Tim Harford, 18 Oct 2013
By 
someenglishrose (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy (Kindle Edition)
I am a big fan of the original "Undercover Economist" but was not so impressed with "The Logic of Life", which I found a bit same-y (and I'm afraid I didn't bother with "Adapt" at all). However, this book enters new territory - macroeconomics - and does it well. For me as a lay reader, there was a lot of new information, well-explained and backed up by interesting and illustrative examples. I think I will have to re-read it to fully digest everything, but I'm looking forward to it! The only slight sticking point for me was the question and answer format. Harford has clearly come to like writing this way from his columns in the FT but although the format (usually) works well at column length, I wasn't convinced for a whole book. Sometimes the "questions" were so few and far between that he might as well just have written normal prose and even in the parts that were more conversational I didn't think the format added much. Still, it worked for Plato so you can't blame Harford for giving it a go.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read., 10 Sep 2013
By 
Kenneth J. Morris (Burton-upon Trent, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the second Hartford book I've bought and is, considering the subject matter, an easy read. Executed in the style of a conversational 'question and answer' between reader and author is throws much illumination on the current 'state-of-the-nation'.
Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Try to run, but end in ruin, 15 July 2014
By 
M. Blackburn "marcusb10" (Romsey, Hampshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy (Kindle Edition)
I have previously read another of Tim's books - Adapt, which I thought excellent.
Once more the author writes with great clarity and in an engaging style making use of stories about real people and events to bring his points to life. It seems to me that the material is presented without too much bias towards any particular political agenda - which is quite unusual for an economics text. However, and contrary to the book's title, Adapt indicates that anyone daft enough to believe they can 'run' an economy is likely doomed to ruin it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missing Words, 21 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy (Kindle Edition)
The content of the book is great, as usual, for Tim Harford, but it is incredibly annoying that the Kindle version does not fit properly on a page and words are missing. They reappear if you change the font size, only for other to disappear on another page. Very frustrating indeed!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book; depressing implication, 13 Nov 2013
By 
Mark Pack (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you are familiar with Tim Harford's work, whether as an author, print journalist or broadcaster, then this book is not a surprise. It is, as you would expect, well-written, de-mystifying complicated subjects and giving the novice an understandable overview of controversial and complicated areas, explaining clearly what the experts agree on, what they disagree on - and why. This time his subject is macroeconomics and it is a highly enjoyable read.

Highly enjoyable, that is, save for one depressing lesson.

Harford's broad conclusion is that the economic evidence points towards it being best to have traditionally right-wing policies in boom times (such as labour market reforms) and traditionally left-wing policies in times of recession and stagnation (such as fiscal and monetary stimulus). In other words, it's not a matter of being left or right but of having the best policies for the current times.

However, as he also points out, politics in Britain and elsewhere tends to operate the other way round. Right-wing parties tend to do better in economic bad times (when their policies are less suitable) and left-wing parties tend to do better in economic good times (when again their policies are less suitable). The electorate servies up the mirror opposite economic policies from those that would work best.

The book is also packed full of fascinating (and rather cheerier) other information. One point which rather caught my eye was about how public services are valued in GDP calculations. As most of them are not sold and so don't have a market price, they are valued at the cost of providing them. However, that underplays the contribution of the public sector to the economy because private sector goods are valued at their market value which is normally higher than the cost of providing them.

Many of these interesting examples are from the US. Despite his British roots, Tim Harford clearly had an eye on where the biggest market for books is. That isn't a problem given how international economics is, though it would have been nice for the rest of the world to have featured a little more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Room for a follow-up, 23 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy (Kindle Edition)
Tim Harford brings us some macro. For me, a less interesting topic than those of his previous books. Nevertheless, he's a great writer with a knack for simplifying tricky concepts and, as with his previous books, this is an enjoyable read. Harford only really dips his toe into the complexities of macroeconomics, but I was still able to gain a better perspective on the current debates; the different arguments being stripped - as far as possible - of the politics that envelop them. The book is exhaustively researched and the reader is treated to plenty of interesting factual and historical tidbits throughout.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful book, 29 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
REally enjoyed the tone of the book and the discussions raised throughout. Definitely a good read, I would highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, found the style odd, 23 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy (Kindle Edition)
This is a great introduction to macroeconomics, making the subject both accessible and interesting. My main gripe is that I found the style of writing (Harford imagines a two-way conversation with the reader) a bit contrived--I much preferred the style of his original (most excellent) book, the Undercover Economist. I also felt that he skated over some issues such as whether economic growth can continue indefinitely, which left me feeling unconvinced. But don't let that put you off! Definitely worth reading.

(I agree with the reviewer who complained about the Kindle formatting: whole sentences keep dropping off the ends of pages! The only way to make them visible is to keep changing the font size on your Kindle, which is extremely annoying. If e-publishing is the future of books as many claim, you would think they could sort this out.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews