Summary of The Logic of Life

The Rational Economics of an Irrational World

Random House, more...

Buy the book

The Logic of Life book summary
Do you know why you do what you do? Economists understand why – and they think you are superbly rational.


8 Overall

6 Importance

9 Innovation

9 Style


Economists no longer just propose fiscal policies, forecast business growth, investigate interest rates and assign value to financial assets. Now they also conduct lab experiments, research teenagers’ sexual activities, analyze prostitutes’ condom usage, hypothesize about what happened to the Neanderthals, explain crime waves and develop winning poker strategies. Look under the bed or out the window, and you will probably find an economist taking notes while researching you and your neighbors. Tim Harford is one of these ubiquitous “new economists.” He reports on odd studies and screwball findings, but for a serious purpose. He posits that seemingly dumb actions, such as going out of your way to become addicted, are almost always fully rational and logical, if unwise. getAbstract recommends Harford’s iconoclastic book as an “X-ray image of human life.” He and his irreverent new economist cohorts explain how everything works, and why. If you enjoy delving beneath the surface to learn what really makes things tick, Harford is the perfect guide and his book is an offbeat yet revealing travelogue.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why people almost always decide and act rationally, even when their choices seem irrational
  • How economists investigate and evaluate such decisions
  • What “rational choice theory” is
  • Why individual rational actions sometimes lead to outcomes that are inimical to society


Why Teenage Oral Sex Makes Sense
In America, many girls as young as 12 and 13 now routinely perform oral sex on numerous teenage boys. According to a Johns Hopkins medical study, people between 12 and 24 were twice as likely to report oral sex activity in 2004 as the same age group was...
Get the key points from this book in less than 10 minutes. Learn more about our products or log in

About the Author

Tim Harford writes the “Dear Economist” column for the Financial Times. He is also a member of the paper’s editorial board. He is the author of The Undercover Economist.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same author

Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    Popular Economics
    How to sound like an economics expert (and even become one) without breaking a sweat, a spreadsheet or a sliderule.

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category