The Logic of Life

The Rational Economics of an Irrational World

Publisher: Anchor Canada
In The Logic of Life, bestselling author Tim Harford quite simply makes sense of this world.

Life often seems to defy logic. The receptionist is clearly smarter than the boss who earns fifty times her salary. Arbitrary lines starkly divide the desirable districts of the city from the dangerous ones. Voters flock to the polling booths to elect candidates who’ll rip them off to favour special interests. None of it makes logical sense — or does it?

Economist and acclaimed author Tim Harford thinks it does. By weaving stories from locations as diverse as a Vegas casino to a barroom speed date, Harford aims to persuade you that people are, in fact, surprisingly logical.

When a street prostitute agrees to unprotected sex, or a teenage criminal embarks on a burglary — perhaps especially when a racist employer disregards a black job applicant — we would seem to be a million miles from rational behaviour. Harford shows that, discomfitingly, we are not. It turns out that the unlikeliest of people are complying with the logic of economics and responding to future costs and benefits, often without realizing it; and socially tragic outcomes can have their roots in individually rational decisions.

Brilliantly reasoned, always entertaining and often provocative, The Logic of Life is a book to help you understand yourself and the world around you.

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter One
Introducing the Logic of Life
The Economics of Sex, Crime, and Minnie Mouse
Harpo Studios, Chicago

Parents, brace yourselves." With those words, Oprah Winfrey introduced America to the shocking news of the teenage oral sex craze. In The Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan wrote, "The moms...
Read More


Praise for The Undercover Economist:

“A rare specimen: a book on economics that will enthrall.… Beautifully written and argued, it brings the power of economics to life.”
—Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics

“Harford is smart. Scary smart. So smart he can illuminate, in clear, entertaining English, ideas and forces of mind-boggling complexity.”
The Sunday Tribune

“A playful guide to the economics of everyday life [that] succeeds in taking the chalkdust out of the subject.”
The Economist

“A tour de force.… If you need to be convinced of the ever-relevant and fascinating nature of economics, read this insightful and witty book.”
—Jagdish Bhagwati, author of In Defense of Globalization

“This is a book to savor.”
The New York Times

“Harford writes like a dream.… Reading The Undercover Economist is like spending an ordinary day wearing X-ray goggles.”
—David Bodanis, author of E=mc2

From the Hardcover edition.