counter create hit Armchair Economist: Economics & Everyday Life - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Armchair Economist: Economics & Everyday Life

Availability: Ready to download

Witty economists are about as easy to find as anorexic mezzo-sopranos, natty mujahedeen, and cheerful Philadelphians. But Steven E. Landsburg...is one economist who fits the bill. In a wide-ranging, easily digested, unbelievably contrarian survey of everything from why popcorn at movie houses costs so much to why recycling may actually reduce the number of trees on the pla Witty economists are about as easy to find as anorexic mezzo-sopranos, natty mujahedeen, and cheerful Philadelphians. But Steven E. Landsburg...is one economist who fits the bill. In a wide-ranging, easily digested, unbelievably contrarian survey of everything from why popcorn at movie houses costs so much to why recycling may actually reduce the number of trees on the planet, the University of Rochester professor valiantly turns the discussion of vexing economic questions into an activity that ordinary people might enjoy. -- Joe Queenan, The Wall Street Journal The Armchair Economist is a wonderful little book, written by someone for whom English is a first (and beloved) language, and it contains not a single graph or equation...Landsburg presents fascinating concepts in a form easily accessible to noneconomists. -- Erik M. Jensen, The Cleveland Plain Dealer ...enormous fun from its opening page...Landsburg has done something extraordinary: He has expounded basic economic principles with wit and verve. -- Dan Seligman, Fortune


Compare
Ads Banner

Witty economists are about as easy to find as anorexic mezzo-sopranos, natty mujahedeen, and cheerful Philadelphians. But Steven E. Landsburg...is one economist who fits the bill. In a wide-ranging, easily digested, unbelievably contrarian survey of everything from why popcorn at movie houses costs so much to why recycling may actually reduce the number of trees on the pla Witty economists are about as easy to find as anorexic mezzo-sopranos, natty mujahedeen, and cheerful Philadelphians. But Steven E. Landsburg...is one economist who fits the bill. In a wide-ranging, easily digested, unbelievably contrarian survey of everything from why popcorn at movie houses costs so much to why recycling may actually reduce the number of trees on the planet, the University of Rochester professor valiantly turns the discussion of vexing economic questions into an activity that ordinary people might enjoy. -- Joe Queenan, The Wall Street Journal The Armchair Economist is a wonderful little book, written by someone for whom English is a first (and beloved) language, and it contains not a single graph or equation...Landsburg presents fascinating concepts in a form easily accessible to noneconomists. -- Erik M. Jensen, The Cleveland Plain Dealer ...enormous fun from its opening page...Landsburg has done something extraordinary: He has expounded basic economic principles with wit and verve. -- Dan Seligman, Fortune

30 review for Armchair Economist: Economics & Everyday Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    I wasn't going to bother commenting on this book but in regard to some of the other comments I feel I must. Those that rated this book a 1 or 2 and then jumped into politically-motivated negative comments - shame on you. You are intellectually dishonest to yourselves and those that read these reviews. There is nothing in this book that pushes a political agenda unlike MOST of the more recent psuedo-economics books being published. What IS presented by Landsburg are sound, economic analysis and d I wasn't going to bother commenting on this book but in regard to some of the other comments I feel I must. Those that rated this book a 1 or 2 and then jumped into politically-motivated negative comments - shame on you. You are intellectually dishonest to yourselves and those that read these reviews. There is nothing in this book that pushes a political agenda unlike MOST of the more recent psuedo-economics books being published. What IS presented by Landsburg are sound, economic analysis and discussion. Nothing more and nothing less. And they stand the test of time. I don't always agree with him in my heart, BUT my brain has a hard time arguing the ideas he puts forward. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. Read the book and then think about what is in it. Put some of the techniques he teaches into looking at the problems we see in today's economy. It is a sad thing that when logic does not match someone's view of the world that they then have to start hurling insults and result to name calling rather than take a hard look at the facts in front of them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tony Cohen

    I have to give this book a three since I did learn something, although I really hold it in remarkable contempt. For the first time ever while reading an economics book, I felt like I understood the contempt held for the 'dismal science'. I feel like delving into this a bit. The author makes a claim that taxes don't add value to a society, because what you take from Peter, you pay to Paul, and in a sense of absolute value, it is true. If I have a million millionaires, who each earn 10 million a y I have to give this book a three since I did learn something, although I really hold it in remarkable contempt. For the first time ever while reading an economics book, I felt like I understood the contempt held for the 'dismal science'. I feel like delving into this a bit. The author makes a claim that taxes don't add value to a society, because what you take from Peter, you pay to Paul, and in a sense of absolute value, it is true. If I have a million millionaires, who each earn 10 million a year, and I tax 1 million from them and give it to the poor, I have not made my society richer in absolute monetary terms, but this completely ignores one of his other insightful claims. In a previous example, when discussing logging, he claimed that the actual economic benefit of cutting down trees, has to not only take into consideration the positive economic impact for the company, loggers, etc., but it also must factor in the emotional cost to the environmentalist who is upset about loosing said trees. Critically, and I must give credit where credit is due, the economist in question recognizes that labour is not valuable in and of itself, but the fruits of said labour are. So if I work my ass off and buy an Ipod, it is my enjoyment out of the purchase which is the true reward...this is what I work for. Hopefully, what I spend my money on brings me some form of satisfaction. Now this is critical because this explains the real monetary value of walking along the beach. Non-economists might gag that this activity has a value, but it does. I could have done anything with my time, like work, but I chose to spend it in this particular manner, and that is worth something. So if enjoying nature means something, there could theoretically be a dollar value attached. In fact, there often is. My friend Judy owns a fat pad in Marin county (which she got for a song from a person shortly thereafter indited for international drug smuggling...but that story is for another time :-) Anyway, you would be hard pressed to find someone who loves nature more...for walking in it...swimming in it...and merely knowing it exists. But it does have a value. I don't know the number, but I would imagine that if a suitably ludicrous offer was made for 40 acres in Marin, that love of nature could be quantified. This insight, the fact that value must be attached, as hard as it may be, to non nuts-and-bolts numbers is true....and valuable...and then completely ignored as evident by the aforementioned millionaires example. So lets look at those folk again. Let us say, that we tax the million millionaires earning 10 million dollars a year at 100,000 dollars annually. In actual dollar transfers, no one is richer or poorer. The big wage earners have lost 1% of their salary, and now there are 100,000,000,000 floating about to disperse to the poor. So lets play with my imaginary (but inspired from the book example) and up this tax to 5%, leaving our society, in the form of taxation from these sole 1 million millionaires 500 BILLION dollars to play with. Now, recognizing the principle of the need to weigh emotional benefits and costs with any economic plan, (accepting the complete dollar exchange equality) 1 million people have suffered. Now, how much they have suffered is hard to quantify. They have been taxed at 5%, and that is real. There may be an extra cottage in Aspen un-purchased, a Mazzerati (sp) undriven, or some classy couture unworn. Now, to say that the tax generated no value is to assume that the net emotional worth/perception of the 500 Billion to the poor is equal to the ennui suffered from the mega-wealthy, knowing that they have had a small percentage of their earnings accosted. So what emotive benefits do our poor people gain from this. That list is extensive, so how about we focus on the emotive benefit of what the wealthy gain from giving. While some might wish they had an extra 10 Ferragamo shoes to wear, I am guessing others feel happy that the poor are better off. If nothing else, seeing poor people beg around you does have a tendency to be a wee bit depressing. Oh yeah, and when people are less desperate, they tend to not commit crimes...a portion of which maybe (just maybe) directed at the aforementioned wealthy....so maybe rich people might enjoy not living with constant security and behind gated fences....they may like having competent servants....rich people do have to interact with poor people, even if the later only serve them, and maybe they would like them to be able to do simple sums (only in terms of effective service mind you :-)...which they are likely to learn in school. Oh...and health care...poor people can spread infectious diseases...but not so likely if they have health care and last I checked rich people don't like dysentery either....and rich people might like the emotional value of living in a stable society unlikely to suffer from a despotic overthrow....also less likely in a country with people not at the mere level of starvation. Still think taxes don't produce anything Mr Economist? And I haven't even gotten to the benefits the poor might feel not living in the gutter.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    Abysmal, condescending, illogical and mean-spirited book on social economics. Absolutely no sources named for "statistics". The author seems to think that a significant number of people go to the movies solely to eat popcorn and that the benefits of recycling are outweighed by the fact that he doesn't feel like doing it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    Recommended to my wife as Freakonomics’ better predecessor (Armchair Economist was originally published in 1993), Landsburg describes his work as “a chronicle of what [he] learned at lunch” (p. viii). Now, even granting the University of Rochester economics professor latitude befitting his choice of lunchtime companions, I was heartily disappointed to discover that the text indeed lives down to the author’s own humble description. The tone is fine; Landsburg is chatty and informally fun. But each Recommended to my wife as Freakonomics’ better predecessor (Armchair Economist was originally published in 1993), Landsburg describes his work as “a chronicle of what [he] learned at lunch” (p. viii). Now, even granting the University of Rochester economics professor latitude befitting his choice of lunchtime companions, I was heartily disappointed to discover that the text indeed lives down to the author’s own humble description. The tone is fine; Landsburg is chatty and informally fun. But each chapter is one series after another of economic or sociological examples tossed off and left unanalyzed. Why do concert promoters for acts that consistently sell-out choose to set prices lower than the maximum the market will bear? Yeah, that’s a good one, and here’s another: why should irrelevant celebrity endorsements (politicians for luggage) help sell products? And why would single diners tip waitstaff anonymously, with no one to impress? Why do movie theater owners charge so much for popcorn, when they could make up the difference on the movie ticket itself? All intriguing questions, which the author has no intention of fully exploring. I got fed up after five or so chapters in this vein. This book has conversation fodder aplenty, but nary a real insight. What, no mention of social proof, status theory, or even a passing familiarity with the Hollywood distribution model? Here, Steven, let me introduce you to Edward Jay Epstein and Harold Vogel. With due respect to the gentleman who preferred Landsburg’s efforts to those of his fellow Stevens Steven Levitt and Steven Dubner, at least the Freakonomics guys show some passing familiarity with their library. P.S. Since I joined GoodReads, I’ve tried to make a habit of reviewing everything I’ve read more or less right after I finished it, if only as a reminder to myself of what it was and what I thought of it. For the most part, it’s proven to be a pretty good discipline, and I’ve enjoyed it, and in the process, encountered some fascinating fellow readers in the world, so bonus points there, and now just you shut up about the narcissism of it all, if you please. Bird Brian has started a collection of audio book reviews called The Big Audio Project and invited/dared me to participate (well, Choupette dared me to use a fake Aussie accent, which is close enough). At any rate, now that I can compound my natural pretension with hamminess, there’s no telling what I might accomplish. This is one of three books that I read, thought little of, and never got around to that form my (first?) contribution to Brian's project.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anthea

    this book was good until the last chapter "why I am not an environmentalist". overall it was simple to understand and not totally filled with jargon unlike some other economics textbooks. sufficient details with relatable real life scenarios that make it easy to be understood. however that last chapter was just ..... it just pisses me off seeing that he thinks all these "benefits" outweighs the cost of what we are doing to the environment. smfh. people like him is the reason for global warming.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarazen

    There are a few books that when you read them they change your perspective on everything. This on one of those books. I did not realize how woefully uneducated I was on how economies work. What was a real insight was how small choices of people can make all the difference. Everyone could benefit from a few turns in these pages.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Parth Agrawal

    Hey friends, long time no see Well I am to blame for that as under pressing circumstances, I got sidetracked from this wonderful addiction ;P Well, let's talk about this new book that I just finished This is the best book I've read so far folks and I'm not exaggerating. Well if an armchair economist, as the title suggests, can observe things the way Steven has done, I wonder what would an active economist running here and there will pull off. If you stop right wherever you are and go back in tim Hey friends, long time no see Well I am to blame for that as under pressing circumstances, I got sidetracked from this wonderful addiction ;P Well, let's talk about this new book that I just finished This is the best book I've read so far folks and I'm not exaggerating. Well if an armchair economist, as the title suggests, can observe things the way Steven has done, I wonder what would an active economist running here and there will pull off. If you stop right wherever you are and go back in time, you would realize that there have been many instances when you have faced an argument, contrary of which would've seemed impossible because of the unpopularity of the it but still you were left with a nagging sensation. The problem you faced in such a situation was that you were unable to concoct a simulation based on the principles, just opposite to what is popularly believed in order to check whether populist opinions are right or wrong. For ex Once we used to believe that earth is flat or earth is the centre of universe/solar system, in order to check whether this was true, it was required to give an equal opportunity to the contrary versions of these beliefs as well in order to empirically verify as to which of the two belief is factually correct. We all know how people like Copernicus and Galileo were treated when they suggested the same. Maybe mankind is not doomed yet as there are few who always think differently and are immune to the herd mentality. Well, this book will to help you to think differently by presenting you with those simulations with a bend of economics at every turn I will provide you with some of the insights and questions that I faced while reading and I would be more than happy to have discussion on any of these:- 1) Selfish Gene--> I have come across this idea plenty of times and across disciplines be it economics or evolutionary biology. It states that human genes are selfish in nature i.e. they compel the organism to undertake only those actions which have an incentive attached to them. The incentive can be biological in nature(Making as many copies of one's genes as one can--> If you know what I mean!!) or monetary in nature. Monetary incentives are dealt by the economists and as the book suggests, people don't respond to instances, events, policy decisions or any other such thing but only to incentives. The best example of this is the riddle of seat belts. We believe that making it mandatory for people to wear seat belts is equivalent to increasing their safety but it can have opposite results as well. How? Well wearing seat-belts can ensure that in an accident, seat-belts will reduce the probability of your death. But can it control the rate of accidents itself? What if we assume that seat-belts in-fact are acting as an incentive to the driver to drive faster than usual as he/she knows that he/she has better chance to survive that accident? How is this wrong? 2) Truth or Consequences--> Meaning of these two words and especially their attribution to an occurrence are often confused. Lets directly jump to an example Shareholders of a listed company want to see their invested money in the company, multiply. In order to this risky job, management and executives are employed. Logically speaking, their performance should be linked to the pay package. Now since the expectations of the shareholders are always sky high, more often than not it happens that executives fail to deliver on their promise of increasing the business by x%. Following the logic, this would mean that they will have to take riskier decisions to increase the business by x% and we all know that risk is directly proportional to returns. Now higher the risk, higher the probability that the decision might backfire. Thus, these executives are provided with a golden parachute/higher compensation packages as their salary is directly linked to their performance. Now it's very famous to protest against higher packages awarded to the senior management of the company. This is an indirect protest against sky high expectations of shareholders. Do we realize this? Debatable 3) The Indifference Principle-->"Unless you are unusual in some or the other way, nothing can make you happier than the next best alternative" Lets unravel this. If there are 2 options in the world to choose from, for instance, whether to go to a fair or to go to a park then the only way you will feel special about your choice of going to either of the places depends of the fact that it has to be relatively unique. This means that suppose you choose to go to the fair, then going there holds that special value to because not everyone else chose that option. Isn't this equivalent to enslaving our satisfaction at the hand of others? 4) Why money is good?-->There is one instance shared by the author in which he and his wife fight over the movie to be watched while having dinner. They come up with a novel solution to decide which movie will play and the method of selection will create a win-win situation. Both of them allotted an amount of money to their choice of movie. Whichever amount will be higher will win and that movie will be played. Here's the catch, the winner will have to pay the smaller amount to the loser. The decision has been reached upon by the simple logic that how much monetary value does one attribute to the movie or how much money are you willing to lose to watch that movie. Novel, isn’t it? What is common in all of these rubrics? For one, they all invite healthy discussion and most importantly, if the proponent cannot prove it right, the dissenter cannot prove it wrong either so that makes all of these topics a moot point Every book has something or the other to offer, but the most important take away from this book is that it will keep you safe from the subliminal indoctrination of belief systems inside you which you might be able to realize only when it'll be too late. So, I would suggest all of you to read as it'll come handy to you no matter what background you come from "The hallmark of science is a commitment to follow arguments to their logical conclusions whereas the hallmark of certain kinds of doctrine is a slick appeal to logic followed by a hasty retreat if it points in the other direction " Steven Landsburg

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alice Furse

    Much like Freakonomics, this book uses a number of case studies to illustrate different points on economics theories and is quite a fun read - however, I would say it goes slightly deeper than Freakonomics as it's slightly more detailed and erudite. The last chapter, "Why I am Not an Environmentalist" really made me think, as Landsburg outlines the reasons why commonly-held beliefs on the behaviours that help the environment may not be as effective as we think. For example, he says that people t Much like Freakonomics, this book uses a number of case studies to illustrate different points on economics theories and is quite a fun read - however, I would say it goes slightly deeper than Freakonomics as it's slightly more detailed and erudite. The last chapter, "Why I am Not an Environmentalist" really made me think, as Landsburg outlines the reasons why commonly-held beliefs on the behaviours that help the environment may not be as effective as we think. For example, he says that people think recycling paper saves trees, but if we recycle paper the demand for planting trees actually goes down and therefore the are fewer of them. Interesting stuff!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Connor

    Interesting subjects presented but most lacked the critical analysis I was hoping for. The author seemed to oscillate between objective presentation and lecturing from personal opinion. The last chapter on environmentalism was intriguing but ending with the letter to the teacher seemed arbitrary and very ostentatious.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shane Moore

    I generally enjoy books that cover Economics topics for laymen, but I didn't like this one very much. The basics of the field are presented in a clear way, but the examples were often oversimplified to the point that they were distracting. His focus on economics isolated from all other aspects of society lead to him saying ridiculous things like, "taxes have no effect on the economy".

  11. 4 out of 5

    Becky Johnston

    Read for class, but it just happened to be about a topic I didn't care at all about. Landsburg did not, to me, present a good case for caring about economics. Would recommend if you are interested in the topic; already know a great deal about the topic, but for the casual reader, I would skip it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Carr

    A little intriguing, a little disappointing At first I was really into this. I was picking up the examples like a sponge, nodding along with stuff that made sense, and recalling the fun experience of graphing every problem in my Econ 202 class. (Which really helps visualize things, for me at least) Then about halfway through, the author has a whole section dedicated to points where the media "said something stupid about economics" (not a direct quote but Lord does it make me roll my eyes). Suddenl A little intriguing, a little disappointing At first I was really into this. I was picking up the examples like a sponge, nodding along with stuff that made sense, and recalling the fun experience of graphing every problem in my Econ 202 class. (Which really helps visualize things, for me at least) Then about halfway through, the author has a whole section dedicated to points where the media "said something stupid about economics" (not a direct quote but Lord does it make me roll my eyes). Suddenly we went from fun simplified theoretical economical problems and solutions - to bashing people for stating things that the author doesn't agree with. Maybe he has a point but all it served to do was enlighten me to his arrogance. And his condescending attitude. This soured the rest of the book. While I did find myself falling back into enjoyment with these over simplified problems, solutions, explanations... The last chapter served to show that roll-my-eyes condescending arrogance again. So annoying. Overall, I guess I kinda liked it because the writing is easy to follow and the "real world" examples used to explain econonic concepts was certainly fun. In the sense that it's like reading one sided conversations that happen at the lunch table. But whatever. Not bad I guess.

  13. 4 out of 5

    نوید رشیدیان

    Pretty well in explaining some basic insights from economics, but irritatingly trying to disguise one of the most inhumane moral philosophies I have ever encountered as science. The worst is when at the end of the nonsensical final essay against environmentalism Landsburg claim despite economics being a science free of values, engaging in it grows values such as respecting diversity, and by respecting diversity meaning a total refusal of accepting any responsibility and rejecting any kind of soc Pretty well in explaining some basic insights from economics, but irritatingly trying to disguise one of the most inhumane moral philosophies I have ever encountered as science. The worst is when at the end of the nonsensical final essay against environmentalism Landsburg claim despite economics being a science free of values, engaging in it grows values such as respecting diversity, and by respecting diversity meaning a total refusal of accepting any responsibility and rejecting any kind of social morality. The appraisal from Milton Friedman, the chief apologist of some of the most brutal forms of capitalism, definitely suits the title.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alona

    Contrary to Naked Economics, this book actually taught me something new and that was quite unexpected. The last essay about environmentalism was certainly eye-opening for me. I see a lot of things about it differently now and just can't stop thinking about it.  I'm glad that I've found out about this book and it made me to feel proud of being an economist (even if just by education).  Contrary to Naked Economics, this book actually taught me something new and that was quite unexpected. The last es Contrary to Naked Economics, this book actually taught me something new and that was quite unexpected. The last essay about environmentalism was certainly eye-opening for me. I see a lot of things about it differently now and just can't stop thinking about it.  I'm glad that I've found out about this book and it made me to feel proud of being an economist (even if just by education).  Contrary to Naked Economics, this book actually taught me something new and that was quite unexpected. The last essay about environmentalism was certainly eye-opening for me. I see a lot of things about it differently now and just can't stop thinking about it. I'm glad that I've found out about this book and it made me to feel proud of being an economist (even if just by education).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    I give this book 3.5 stars. The author should have left out the economic analysis of law and legal disputes (how the economy is better or worse off depending on which party wins), his economic musings that have no answers, and his views on environmentalism (similar to his views on religion - don't impose on those who don't believe). This book is probably more interesting for people who want study economics rather than the general public.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Juraj Spilda

    The author tends to reduce arguments to simplistic strawman versions of the original problem to draw the conclusion that he wants to achieve. He also engages in unnecessary amounts of insults and condescension. If it weren't for one or two passable chapters, it would have been 1 star.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pradip Caulagi

    There is one sentence in the book where the author gets it wrong - economic theory predicts that you are not enjoying this book as much as you thought you would*. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would! * He fixes it in the next couple of sentences. "This is a special case of a more general proposition: Most things in life don't turn out as well as you thought they would."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Breslin

    My obsession with economics is starting to become a bit of a problem. Here is an example of actual post-coital dialogue between me and my girlfriend: Me: (after a few merciful moments of blissful silence): One principle difference between the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in the former’s focus on stimulating growth, contrasted with the latter’s anti-inflationary position, as a result of historical and cultural precedents. As such, the ECB tends toward what Americans would view as My obsession with economics is starting to become a bit of a problem. Here is an example of actual post-coital dialogue between me and my girlfriend: Me: (after a few merciful moments of blissful silence): One principle difference between the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in the former’s focus on stimulating growth, contrasted with the latter’s anti-inflationary position, as a result of historical and cultural precedents. As such, the ECB tends toward what Americans would view as a tight monetary policy. And of course, with interest rates so low, the Fed has no recourse but to resort to quantitative easing to attempt to stimulate aggregate demand, but such a course is a virtual anathema to Mario Draghi, let alone Angela Merkel . . . Girlfriend: All this sexy talk is making me wet all over again. (I wish I could say that this was a clever fiction I devised to make a point and a joke, but I’m nowhere near that clever.) So yes, I'm a little obsessed. I’ve subscribed to The Economist for the last four years or so, reading it each and every time I use the toilet, and mind you: I need a lot more fiber in my diet. I wrote a book about game theory, one of the most important areas of mathematics with direct applications to economics. And for the last year and half, I’ve spent most of my working days listening continuously to economics podcasts, including Freakonomics, Planet Money, the London School of Economics, and The Economist podcast, to catch up on what I’ve missed in the print version, in case I’ve been eating a lot of bran muffins. A little knowledge is a notoriously dangerous thing, and when I read popular (and clearly intentionally provocative) economics treatises such as this book, I just have an overwhelming urge to argue with their authors. Over beers or coffee. It would all be very civilized. But my local watering holes do nothing to attract flocks of economists, and there is almost zero chance of sneaking it into romantic pillow talk with one, as described above. I’d recommend The Armchair Economist to anyone with an interest in economics, but I would caution: Landsburg is cranky, curmudgeonly, opinionated and rude. Delightfully so. I think he and I would get along very well, even if we don’t agree on everything, which we don’t. He knows far more about economics than I do, and I wouldn’t presume to suggest otherwise. But I know enough to recognize the difference between economic fact and economic opinion. He supplies boatloads of both, and presents them very well. If you’ve already gone through all the Freakanomics titles, and this has stimulated your own personal aggregate demand for more popular works of economics, I think you’ll find this entertaining and educational. Take it all with a grain of salt, though. And while you are at it, eat some more fiber. ........................................................... P.S. The girlfriend and I make arguably too many “that’s what she said” jokes. If you enjoy that sort of thing, you might find this link amusing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Raymond

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have read, paused, restarted and paused again on this books numerous times over the course of half a year. Landsburg made this book such a hard read (I meant this positively) to me, some the ideas or arguments carried in this book is overwhelmingly outrageous to what I know and understand (perhaps I should say those I thought I know). To make sense of them took me multiple flips between the pages to re-read the chapters. As an honest note, I still couldn't fully understood a few of those argum I have read, paused, restarted and paused again on this books numerous times over the course of half a year. Landsburg made this book such a hard read (I meant this positively) to me, some the ideas or arguments carried in this book is overwhelmingly outrageous to what I know and understand (perhaps I should say those I thought I know). To make sense of them took me multiple flips between the pages to re-read the chapters. As an honest note, I still couldn't fully understood a few of those arguments. I will definitely keep this book handy and re-read it again perhaps as a reference in some way. The book aims to illustrate the thought process of economist, and in an indirectly way, the readers shall be able to glimpse and understand some fundamental theories in economics and what it is all about. I like how Landsburg uses anecdotes and harsh criticism to reflect his personal thoughts on various observable issues. The more I read this book, the more I felt that economics is a philosophical journey rather than some graphs or charts or statistics. There's too much for me to put down in this review, but there's a few that I particularly like and hit me the hardest. First, the power of incentives, people responds to incentives and such can cause various unexpected outcome, e.g. seat belts caused more accidents. Secondly, prices are good, the role of having prices in our society as a justful guideline, e.g. prices will lead to the most efficient use of resources. Thirdly, mythology of deficits, differences of deficits and debts, and what should we care instead, e.g. deficits are just delayed taxes. Finally, random walks and stock market prices, dollar cost averaging is bad and foolish, e.g. DCA will increase your risk in the presence of “random walks” theory where past prices doesn't predict the future, rather the current prices do. In short, I like this book very much, not only because it carries a lot thought provoking arguments and denials to our common sense, it opens up part of my mind to think in such a way that what Landburgs describe as how economists think. And as time progresses, I think I can enjoy the life with little bit more joy by looking through the glasses of an economist.

  20. 5 out of 5

    AJ H

    The Armchair Economist was a very revealing and incredibly interesting book on how economics affects our daily lives. I was able to take in a lot of new knowledge from this book, and it really provides excellent descriptions and examples to help you understand concepts and it even teaches you how to apply them to different areas of life. This book proves that economics isn’t just boring numbers and algorithms, but instead it involves a lot of philosophy and theory that doesn’t necessarily requir The Armchair Economist was a very revealing and incredibly interesting book on how economics affects our daily lives. I was able to take in a lot of new knowledge from this book, and it really provides excellent descriptions and examples to help you understand concepts and it even teaches you how to apply them to different areas of life. This book proves that economics isn’t just boring numbers and algorithms, but instead it involves a lot of philosophy and theory that doesn’t necessarily require calculus, (though in some cases, it could). Landsburg is also very witty in how he dissects where others have gone completely wrong on economics, for example he points out multiple economic blunders in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and readily describes his anger for these terrible misconceptions. He said that he even went so far as to create a collection of idiotic errors and he keeps it in an ever-growing file on his computer. This book provides the foundation on which one can build additional insight and theory. This book is great for anyone looking for, (a sometimes complicated), description of key economic ideas. I can guarantee that any new reader to economics will be sucked into the topic after reading this book unless they flat-out reject these new ideas based on their original beliefs-(which I find to be a very common flaw that humans tend to obtain as they solidify their views). This book was great and I hope to read some of his other books on economics and possibly some of his published columns in Slate magazine.

  21. 5 out of 5

    kirmany

    Professor Landsburg extraordinary described the economics involved in our daily life. I liked the expression - easy questions thinking using economics. Professor argues that a world run only on an economic basis would turn out bad or good things, but that the good or the bad outcome is minor. It is obviously true that “A price is attractive not when it is low compared with the past, but when it is low compared with the expected future”. I think this book will change your point of view on so many th Professor Landsburg extraordinary described the economics involved in our daily life. I liked the expression - easy questions thinking using economics. Professor argues that a world run only on an economic basis would turn out bad or good things, but that the good or the bad outcome is minor. It is obviously true that “A price is attractive not when it is low compared with the past, but when it is low compared with the expected future”. I think this book will change your point of view on so many things. I like the chapter Rational riddles, The indifference principle, The mythology of deficits, How statistics lie, Why popcorn costs more at the movies, Random walks and stock market prices.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Peterboh

    It is a good book about how most people fail to apply basic economic principles in their lives. It's tone reminds me of the Black Swan, as author sounds condescending at times. However, this seems appropriate given the general ignorance of basic economics demonstrated by media and by general public. No book is probably going to change this prevailing ignorance, but it is a worth pursuit. Regardless, Landsburg presents an interesting material and a book was an enjoyable read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Not thrilled about this book. It seems too intangible. The arguments may be interesting in some cases but I didn't find that they translate well enough to reality. I hate to give poor reviews, but given that this is a book focused on concepts about the next best alternative, there are plenty of better alternatives.

  24. 4 out of 5

    E

    Just a lovely book. People of all shapes and sizes will find things to hate and things to love. Explains and the national debt and budget deficits very well. Skewers the religion of environmentalism. Shows how the "magic" of prices explains so so many elements of economics. Can't recommend this book more highly.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Steven Landsburg's writings were my post collegiate introduction to the real value of studying economics. My colleague, Ron Baker, recommended Landsburg and others. I purchased and read the book in almost one sitting. Humorous and well written, he describes much of the why of what we do. Great book. Guaranteed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Allen Martin

    I really enjoyed this book, probably because I think like an economist. I found things I agreed with, things I disagreed with, and several that made me go "huh". In all cases, it made me think, which is why it's worth reading.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tristia Watson

    Reading this book is like listening to your favorite Economics professor share his favorite stories. (If you never had a favorite Economics professor, then Steven Landsburg is your guy.) Not as flashy as the Freakanomics books, but still a good insight into why things work the way they do.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Philip Miles

    I love these "think like an economist" books! I found this particular one to be more thought-provoking than most and highly recommend it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    A thought-provoking book on economics, which I didn't always find agreeable. It's enjoyable, but - in my opinion - should be read critically.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shreyas

    Very interesting and enjoyable read, especially for people who like to look behind the veil.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.