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on 3 February 2015
A clear and entertaining analysis of the difference between micro and macro economics and the ways in which we can use them to understand recent economic events. There are very few economists who have both the intelligence and the clarity of Tim Harford. His sense of humour helps a lot too.
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on 23 June 2014
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.)
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on 24 November 2013
Tim Harford's writing style is very accessible, and takes some of the mystery out of economics.
I would recommend this for those with a passing interest in economics, but it is also thought provoking to those amateurs who understand, or think they understand economics.
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on 22 November 2013
Tim takes you on a tour of modern macroeconomics in the conversational question-and-answer style he uses in his Financial Times column. It is the perfect length and amount of detail for a layman to get a quick grasp of the concepts in the context of the financial crisis. I fully recommend it. Very easy read, and Tim has a knack for making economics interesting without going down the pseudo-popeconomics route of books like freakonomics.
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on 17 September 2013
I think this is a very well-written book, but, even acknowledging that the subject is complex and that there are no easy answers,I would have welcomed a more decisive stand by the author on key issues, which I felt was a bit "on the one hand, .....On the other hand,......". It seems obvious Tim Harford is more at home in microeconomics than macroeconomics. Nevetheless, it is very fluent and covers a vast amount of ground well. PS I read the kindle edition which often had the bottom line of the page missing.
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on 9 July 2014
Being a long-time fan of Tim Harford's "More or Less" on Radio 4 for some time and thought I'd give his new book a try. Disappointment overwhelmed me. Apart from the reasonably promising introduction, the rest of the book assumes a most irritating writing style. At the end of the introduction Harford “Puts you in the driving seat” which manifests as a contrived conversation with “the reader”. Bold type is reserved for “the reader” who asks moronic questions in the role of side-kick to Harford’s sarcastic stand-up. Normal type consists of Harford self-importantly and patronisingly defending the status-quo, each chapter ending with a simplistic diversion in the form of a bad joke; a sweetener designed to assist in the unquestioning acceptance of the preceding text.

Rather than scratching the surface of main-stream economics, Harford pours a thick lacquer over the top, failing to address any of the critiques of it. He comes close to saying something interesting about a couple of things such as resource depletion and a constantly growing economy but concludes that technology has always saved us in the past so therefore it will always save us in the future which is wishful thinking, not scientific thinking. He also almost says something interesting about inequality but fails to address any of the root causes of it. Most damningly though he seems to have missed the latest research into money creation and continues the myth that central banks and governments control the money supply rather than private banks which create the vast majority of money in the economy. He admits that mainstream economics may have failed to properly consider the role of banking in their models but goes no further than that.

If one is interested in understanding more about economics I would recommend many other texts including:

Steve Keen: Debunking Economics
Chris Martenson: The Crash Course
Jackson and Dyson: Modernising Money
(Each of the above books are accompanied by comprehensive websites)

To conclude, if you don’t know much about economics and want to remain ignorant of the pitfalls of mainstream economics, whilst being patronised along the way, than “The Undercover Economist Strikes Back” is the book for you.

Or maybe you are a conservative economics A-Level teacher and you don’t want your students asking any uncomfortable questions...

I guess you don’t become as popular with mainstream media and elite academic institutions, as Harford has done, by rocking the boat.
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on 11 January 2014
Really enjoyable really easy to read book.

Only niggle: I have an AMAZON KINDLE MODEL D01100 UK STOCK and the last line of some paragraphs got dropped off between pages. It only happened about 15 times but I had to keep changing the font size to get to see the missing line. Needs sorting Amazon.
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on 15 September 2013
I reckon I now know more about macro economics than the average Chancellor of the Exchequer on his first day in the job.
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on 17 November 2013
Thoughtful explanation of key economic concepts, well linked to the reality of todays big economic/political debates. Well worth the read so you can smile knowingly before pedantically correcting your friends' uninformed arguments in any economic policy debate.
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on 4 January 2014
It's a very complete book, that explain plenty of things related to Macroeconomics.

I'd recommend this book to all people who's interested in economics. Remember that you don't have to be an economist to understand this book.
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