56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Some good questions, but generally weak answers,
This review is from: The Economic Naturalist: Why Economics Explains Almost Everything (Paperback)There's a rash of these things. This latest one, like Freakonomics, takes an "economic approach" (i.e. use of basic statistics and vague generalisations) to make a series of obvious or clearly incorrect assertions about the world. Still, the lack of hagiographies about the authors at least makes it easier to stomach than Freakonomics.
I got bored after two chapters of this. To take an example: there's a section on why milk comes in square cartons, while coke comes in cylinders. The answer seems to me to be almost entirely because coke needs to be pressurised. He says it's because it's drunk from the can and therefore needs to be easy to hold. I don't care either way because I can't see why either has anything whatsoever to do with economics. And anyway, what's so hard about drinking directly from a Tetrapak?
Get Tim Harford's "The Undercover Economist" instead, which addresses many of the same points (especially the ones about product features/costs) much more intelligently and in some cases directly contradicting this; Frank assumes that additional product features cost more to produce; Harford makes the point that often they don't, they're just excuses to have differentiated pricing. It's a much stronger case.
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Initial post: 3 Jun 2008 13:33:17 BDT
Mr. A. Greig says:
Tim Harford's book is slightly biased.
Unless you buy, say fundamentals of economics or the impact of ethnicity on income, surely any economic commentary will be down to "use of basic statistics and vague generalisations"?
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