Summary of The Logic of Life

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The Logic of Life book summary


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

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.



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